19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
What if instead of being confident in their convictions they had:
- COMPROMISED –
What if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednegohad COMPROMISED their faith and cowered to the culture? It would have been easy to not only do but to try and justify. After all everybody else is doing it. It probably won’t hurt if I do it just this 1 time. I’ll do it in secret … no one will know. I’ll do it now … and ask forgiveness later. I’ll go through the motions, but not really worship the idol in my heart … God knows my heart. Every day we face the pressure to COMPROMISE our faith, to make up EXCUSES for not obeying God and JUSTIFY our disobedience. Everybody was watching these 3 men Hebrews and like it or not Everybody is watching YOU! What kind of a witness are you being to a watching world? They didn’t compromise because they had:
- CONFORMED – 3:19-23
They didn’t “fall down” because instead of conforming to the culture and following the crowd they conformed to Christ. Romans 8:29 says“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers and sisters”Romans 12:1-2 tells us that what you conform to will transform you. We live in an information age, but informationwithout application will not equal transformation. James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word … Do what it says.” Are you conforming to Christ or the culture? Are you being transformed by truth, or by trash? The world is trying to shape you into its image, but we are not called to be shaped by an outside force but by the inward working of the Holy Spirit. Which force will win? The force that has the most pressure. The more of Christ you allow to control your life, the greater the force to CONFORM to Him. While those who stood for Christ were conformed those who bowed to the culture were consumed by the fire. The men who threw them into the fire had worshipped the worlds idol and despite being the strongest soldiers they were burned alive. When we bowed to idols in our life we will get burned. It’s here in the midst of their crisis that we see:
- COMPANIONSHIP – 3:24-25
Jesus was with them in the fiery furnace. God didn’t protect them FROM the fire He protected them IN the fire. God is not always going to protect you from trials, troubles and tribulations. It’s not about a problem free life it’s about the presence of the Lord of life. Today we think peace is the absence of problems but its really the presence of Jesus. Are you trying to pursue a problem free life or the presence of the Lord of life? Look how Christ cares for His kids, “Not a hair on their heads was singed”The only way to fight Fire is with Faith! So, let me ask you are you living by faith or living in fear? It’s here that we see what it really looks like to be:
12. COMFORTABLE – 3:26-28
They didn’t even smell like smoke! They probably didn’t want to leave! Look comfort isn’t based on your circumstances it’s based on being with Christ. Are you more COMFORTABLE walking around in the fires of life WITHOUT Christ or WITH Christ? If you’re more COMFORTABLE without Him, then you better check and see if you are saved. If you’re more COMFORTABLE living in the world and conforming to the culture, then you may not be a Christ One. If you are truly a child of God, then you won’t be very COMFORTABLE living for the world. He’ll convict you, and you will be miserable, until you repent and return to Him. Why were these 3 Hebrews COMFORTABLE in the fire? Because they were walking with Christ. He’s always there to give you comfort, strength, hope, and peace in life’s fiery trials. Lastly, we see who gets the:
13. CREDIT – 3:28-30
NOTICE who Nebuchadnezzar gives CREDIT to, Christ the God of the 3 Hebrew men. When Nebuchadnezzar challenged Christ, who fought the battle, Jesus. Don’t get caught up trying to fight God’s battles just be found faithful. Because when you are faithful God gets the glory. What if we would give God some CREDIT! He’s able! Ephesians 3:20-21 says: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”The King promoted them because God honored their faithfulness to Him. But it wasn’t about their promotion it was about God getting the praise. Are there any idols in your life? Things that you are trusting in more than Jesus? It’s time to take a stand for Christ but in order to do that we have to step away from the crowd.