Let’s talk about fire today.
Here’s some context about Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, which had taken over Jerusalem. They had acquired all the Israelites, but the king had the bright idea to not let a good thing go to waste so he scoured the Israelites for the brightest Jews to bring back with him to his place in Babylon. That’s how Daniel was discovered.
Daniel was chosen because he could interpret the king’s dreams. He went from a slave in captivity in Jerusalem to sitting at the king’s table in Babylon overnight. But then he recruits three of his buddies and they get to come along for the ride as well.
Everything was going well. King Nebuchadnezzar liked these boys. Things were good.
But there’s always some haters. The powers to be went to the king one day and informed him the three boys weren’t bowing down to this giant statue made of gold in the center of Babylon as the king had ordered. He called the boys in and I imagine he tried to coax them into it a little bit. The bible doesn’t tell us all the side conversation here but I just like to believe Nebuchadnezzar was like, “Listen guys, I like you all. Just do what you’re supposed to do. Bend a knee to the statue and keep the peace or I’m going to have to make an example out of you.”
One of my favorite moments in all of scripture happens in Daniel 3:18
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
I love their confidence. They loved the king. He had given them so much, but they understood that he could take everything from them except Jesus.
Nebuchadnezzar was obviously an Enneagram 8 and saw this as a challenge. He told his people to fire up the furnace and actually told them to turn it up seven times hotter than usual, just to add insult to injury.
Come on guys, you know those boys were scared. It doesn’t matter how confident they were, they had to be questioning what on earth they were giving up.
But have you ever heard that voice in your head that just tells you to “keep the peace?” It’s tempting to protect all you’ve worked for – whether it be reputation, relationships, resources, etc., especially if all you have to do is blend in and follow the rules.
The boys were thrown into the fire. And God didn’t put the fire out.
If you stop there, it sounds like a pretty depressing story. It sounds like God forgot about them. He left them hanging.
There was a fourth person in the fire.
Jesus never says we won’t walk into fire. In John 16:33, He tells us,
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Instead, Jesus meets the boys in the fire. And while He warns us that we WILL have tribulations in this life, He also assures us that He will always meet us in the fire.
What if Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had decided to bend a knee and do what the king they actually respected told them to do? They had everything they could ever need or want. They were “set” for life.
They would have missed out on meeting Jesus.
Too many God-given dreams are thwarted because we get a little success and then we spend the rest of our lives making compromises and trying to protect it.
What if we all lived our lives like the three boys did? Where we were unafraid and unashamed to put God first every single time? Where no amount of success or privilege was tempting enough to compromise on the reverence and love we should hold for only God?
Most likely, you aren’t bowing down to golden statues, but maybe you’re so engrossed in Instagram in the mornings, you miss the sunrise. Or maybe you are obsessed with finding a spouse that you’ve stopped relentlessly chasing after God’s heart. Or maybe you want to build you business so bad that you have forsaken His kingdom.
More than at any other time in history, we are bombarded with people, things and ideas that are keeping us from being exactly where God wants us. When we follow God, we choose to be thrown into the fiery furnace.
The safest place in this world for you and I to be is in the fire with Jesus.
If God has given you a calling, playing it safe and not being willing to fight for that dream might as well be a slap in the face. His plan for your life involves fire. Dreams take work. Work means trials and tribulations.
Fiery furnaces create champions. You will always be stronger for what you’ve been through.
The story He is writing through you is yours. It’s time to own it. Take some risk and step into the fire to meet Jesus. He’s waiting for you.
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Day 12 of 730 – 718 blog posts to go!