Are you walking through a difficult time? Maybe you’re walking through a fire today and somebody has turned up the heat of anger and conflict. I want to remind you, Jesus is with you. Just as He walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who we’re learning about today, so He walks with you. Let’s turn up the heat on today’s story, shall we?!
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God really wants to speak to you today. He wants you to know that he is real and he is close to you. Listen to these words from Isaiah chapter 43 beginning in verse one.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Welcome to the second episode of God is Real on the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica, and if there were a little camera following you all day long, if you played it back in the spiritual realm, you would see that there is somebody next to you all the time. His name is Jesus, and he is walking with you through the fires of your life. He is as close as your next breath. He is with you. Today, I want to invite you to dive into a Bible story with me. It’s from the Old Testament. We’re going to be going back to Daniel chapter three, and it’s about three men who literally walked through a fire. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were Hebrew captives living in Babylon, and they loved the Lord their God with all of their hearts we’re going to see just how much in moments. They understood that God was real and they continue to worship him at great cost, because King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, put up a gigantic gold statue of himself and he wanted all of his subjects to worship it. Whenever people would hear the sound of musical instruments, they had to bow down to the ground and worship the gold statue. This, of course, was a major problem for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who knew they were to worship the Lord their God and serve him only, and so they didn’t. They refused to bow, and some astrologers went to the king and basically tattle tailed on these three faithful men. And this is what happened. We pick up the story in Daniel chapter three, verse 13.
Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately…
There’s that word again.
into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
What God indeed, right? Can you imagine at this moment, they have an opportunity to wimp out? I might have wimped out. This is terrifying, right? You’re getting ready to be thrown into a furnace. Maybe you would plead God’s mercy in your terror, but verse 16, you’re going to see a different response from these three brave men who were teenagers, really.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t,
Oh my goodness, underline those words. “Even if he doesn’t” put ’em in bold, italics, all it.
we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Can you imagine the guts and the faith that it took to say those words? Verse 19.
Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded
Check this out…
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,
There’s always a but suddenly with God.
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!”
Maybe you’re walking through a fire today and somebody’s turned it up seven times hotter than usual. Jesus is with you. Just as He walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He walks with you, and I want to encourage you today because not only do people notice that he’s walking with you, like King Nebuchadnezzar, notice he saw the Lord with those men in the fire? People are seeing God walk with you. Somebody is looking at your life today and going, maybe God is real and there’s something else too… God sees and knows the fire you’re walking through. He is not going to leave your side. You are not alone and you are very loved.
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