Sometimes we just need the comfort of His nearness, no matter how hard things get. Thanks to The Glorious Table for the ongoing opportunity to write for you 🥰 See the preview below or link here for the full post.
This summer, I am enjoying something new. For years, my husband and I discussed having an outdoor gathering space. In previous locations, it never came to fruition. But now that we live on a bit of land and staying out at night to look at the stars is a common occurrence, we followed through.
The particular fire pit we picked out is round with a crosshatch design which makes a pattern play on the ground. There’s just something about the way fire makes objects and imaginings come to life. That’s probably why, on one of the first nights, my mind went to a fire-related story from the Bible—the story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, the men who survived being tossed into an inferno.
What got these young Jewish men thrown into “the blazing furnace” was ancient civil disobedience. King Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, set up a golden idol. He proclaimed that everyone was required to “fall down and worship the image of gold that [he had] set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (Dan. 3:5-6 NIV).
Despite the threat of death, the response of the three young men was incredible. They said:
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Dan. 3:16-18 NIV, emphasis added)
King Nebuchadnezzar was so upset that he ordered the fire to be heated seven times hotter, bound the men, and threw them in. And then, an amazing (and I think incredibly comforting) miracle occurred:
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Dan. 3:24-26 NIV)
Three men were thrown in but four were “walking around in the fire.” So, who was the fourth man? Many believe it was a pre-incarnate Christ or, at least, a divine figure provided as a help, witness, and support. No matter who it was, the way these men responded and how God responded have some wonderful takeaways for us:
- No matter the severity of our circumstances or potential consequences, facing them in faith and allegiance to God is always our best choice.
- Facing a difficult circumstance in faith does not mean feeling sure that you will be “saved” from a daunting outcome. As an example, people who face cancer in faith and die are not less righteous or holy than those who survive. As the men said, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it . . . but even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods.”
- We can be sure that whether we are spared from our fiery trial or not, God is in the fire with us. He does not leave his people to suffer alone. Even in our most awful experiences, when our very lives are on the line, he is near and attends to us.
To finish the full post link to The Glorious Table here.