Since I moved to Austin for ministry school there have been numerous trials, most of which involving money and the non-existence of a job. I have learned a lot about what it means to go through a trial or a test of your faith.
I don’t believe hard times are always from God, but even when they aren’t (such as if they are your own fault, or if it’s an attack from Satan) God can use them to mature you and bring you closer to Him. They are opportunities for you to grow and to hold on to God’s hand like never before.
Today on the radio I was listening to Woodrow Krull from “Back to the Bible” and he explained the scene of the firey furnace in a way that I had never thought of before.
Here are some of my new thoughts on the matter and what we can learn from it.
Dan 3:15 – “…But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Dan 3:16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
Dan 3:17 – “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 – “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Dan 3:19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
When you live right before God you will encounter hardships that might have been avoided if you lived contrary to God’s Word.
God With Us
Dan 3:21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Dan 3:25 – “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Because the three young men did not compromise, fight back, or fear their situation but rather trusted God, He honored their faith by saving them from death. When we trust in God through our “fire” He will always be faithful. If God does not seem faithful in the end, it’s our failure to be faithful through the trial because God never changes and never fails.
Nebuchadnezzar described the fourth man in the furnace as THE Son of God, else where in the Old Testament angels are called sons of God, but we don’t find this singular use anywhere else. I believe it was Jesus, the manifestation of God Himself long before being born in Bethlehem (about 550 years before Christ was born) showed up to these faithful Jewish men at the moment of sure death. If it was Jesus it provides a beautiful picture of how Christ is with us even in the hardest of times, and He Himself endured tests and trials.
Notice also that they were bound when they went in to the fire but they later walked around freely, it’s a safe assumption that the rope was burned off by the fire itself. When you go through fiery trials those limitations that bound you on the way in can be easily burned off. Hopefully you come out of the fire different (more free, mature, faithful) than when you went in. I know from my trials I learn how faithful God is, and each time I get a better perspective of what’s really important in life.
A Light to the World
Dan 3:27 – And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
Dan 3:28 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
When you come out of a hard time in life better than when you went in you provide a testimony of God’s goodness to those around you. People notice, and if they know you’re a Christian they will have an extra eye on you at all times. Christians go through problems just like people in the world do but we should always come out on top because our God is with us. Nebuchadnezzar did a 180 when he saw the three men and the Son of God in that furnace, perhaps he realized the stupidity of his false-religion and dropped it without a fight. When people see firsthand that our God is good and real, they will be more likely to turn to Him and believe in Him than when we simply say “He’s real believe in Him!”.
Other helpful passages on trials
Jam 1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jam 1:3 – knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Jam 1:4 – But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Jam 1:12 – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Jam 1:13 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Psa 91:2 – I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Psa 91:7 – A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
Psa 27:1 – THE LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Rom 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Luk 1:37 – “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Eph 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,