Written by: Katlyn Hudgins
“and who does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:6 ESV
There are two types of people in the world: those who are consumed by the fire and those that are forged by it. There are those who will bow to false flames and those who burn with holy fire.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the latter category. They knew what it meant to have the holy fire burning inside of them, a fire so powerful that even the threat of death by the king did not cause them to waver. In the modern western world, very few of us have faced death because of our faith but we have all dealt with trouble because we know the enemy out there wants us to burn.
We battle not against the flesh but against things unseen. So while we may not have been face to face with a king ordering our death, we know we have a spiritual enemy that wants us to bow to his false gold or be consumed by the flames.
“O, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
I wonder if they were afraid or if they were burning with such internal fire that it washed all the fear away. Or maybe it can be both. Maybe their flesh was afraid but the Spirit of the Lord made them brave. I have read the stories of martyrs and missionaries, men and women, adults and young ones, all who have laid down their lives for the Lord and for His Word. I have heard the stories of old told by word of mouth and by pen on parchment and I wonder if I would have that same fortitude and immovable faith.
Living in middle class America I cannot even imagine what that would be like to know that death is just a decree away. Here we have rights, freedoms, choice, and a voice; so for us to stand up doesn’t always look the same way as it does for others. But we can still stand up for the gospel, stand up for truth, stand up for grace, and stand up for love. We can choose to not bow down to the love of money, anger, hate, selfish ambition, or sin.
But what we can experience is the feeling of the flames. Right now, all across the planet it feels as if the world is burning. There is a virus spreading like a raging wildfire and we are starting to feel its heat as we watch the numbers climb as higher and higher, as fast and high as our neighbors' fear. But, just like Sharach, Meshach, and Abednego we must hold strong...
The fire inside them burned hotter than the flames of the furnace surrounding them.
“He answered and said, ‘’But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25
Sometimes God allows us to be thrown into the fire because He is binding He wants to burn away. Just like the fire burned away the ropes from our brothers in the fire, so too He will use the fire to burn away the ropes and restraints in your life binding you.
“And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the kings counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair on their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” Daniel 3:27
When God allows us to go through trials like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He will give us a supernatural protection. For these three it manifested in the flesh that not even their clothes were burned, they didn’t carry the smell of smoke. The only thing burned was the rope binding on their wrists. When we trust God with everything, this is what He does with our spirits. Even when the flames rise around us our spirit will survive the flames. He will sustain us and forge us anew.
It takes going through those trials to become who God wants us to be. We must go through the fire in order to be forged.
When swords are made they are thrust into the flames, heated until they are nearly melted, bashed with a hammer against an anvil. Over and over and over again. Once the blade is in the right shape it is then quenched and tempered. Quenching hardens the metal but tempering gives it back some of its flexibility. Then it is time for finishing; polishing, decorating, adding shine and beauty to the blade and hilt.
We are the same way. We will be thrust into the flames and heated until we are malleable and God can shape us into what He needs us to be. His skillful hammer narrows our edges until we have the honed sharpness that we needed. His wisdom and talented hands knows just when to quench and when to temper. He is not finished with us yet. One day it will be time for adorning with a crown and jewels but right now we are in the fire. Be patient because your time of adornment is near.
Do not fear the flames but trust what God is doing with you while you are in them. Don't look at the flames of the world and let it consume you.
Worship is warfare.
Even if your lips tremble, sing.
Even if your knees quake, stand.
Even if your hands shake, raise them up.
For you are not alone, there is another in the fire with you.
"Don't put out the Spirit's fire." 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Let His Peace be with you, my sisters and brothers.
Don't fear the flames, be made from them.