He’s Still in the Fire!
The lesson for this week is focused on living in devotion to the Lord and remaining faithful to Him no matter what it may bring. When we obey God and leave the rest up to Him, we can rest assured that He is in control and everything will work out for our good and for His glory. Praise His Holy name forever!
Handout: He’s Still in the Fire
Before we begin, I want to share the history of the three men we will be studying in this lesson. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among the ones that were basically deported to a foreign land after Judah was conquered. They, being Jews, had been raised up under God’s law. Now they were surrounded by idolaters and people who did not serve the one true God. Their names had been changed, and they were far from their home and everything they loved. In earlier lessons, we learned that these men stood with Daniel against eating the king’s food and defiling their bodies. They all shared a friendship and brotherhood that stood the tests of hardship and trial. They had been appointed high positions over Babylon because of their character. They had been unwilling to compromise their convictions even in the face of uncertainty and God had come through for them. Now they faced an even greater test of their faith. Would they risk their own lives in the face of adversity and remain loyal to the God of their fathers?
1Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
During this time, the religious culture in Babylon was to worship statutes or images. King Nebuchadnezzar hoped to use this huge statue he had built as a strategy to unite the nation and solidify his power. This statue was 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. It was HUGE. It was gold from top to bottom: Nebuchadnezzar wished for his kingdom to remain forever.
8Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: 11And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had now bowed down. Of course Satan had people there to run to the King and report this news. Satan was behind all of this you see, because he wants praise to be taken away from God. So here they were, facing death, and not just death, but a horrible end. They knew that by not bowing down, they would be cast into this furnace of fire and burned to death. Now this furnace was not a small oven for heating a house or cooking. It was a very large industrial furnace that may have been used for baking bricks of smelting metals. The temperatures were hot enough that no human could normally survive the heat. Let us read on.
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
These men showed great character, integrity, and love for the Lord. They knew that it was a commandment of God that He was the only one they must serve, when God gave the law and commandments to Moses.
Exodus 20:2-3 “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
These men loved God more than their own lives and understood that He was the giver of life. They would not do anything against God even if it meant certain death. They boldly stood on the word of God and told the King, God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn’t, we still will not bow down to your idol. Now that is bold! Oh that we today could be as bold as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We can through Christ!
19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar was enraged, and commanded the heat of this furnace be heated seven times hotter. Talk about an ego. He had been disobeyed and he was out for blood! Not only did he want Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to die, he wanted them to suffer! He was going to use them to make a point to all the people there I believe that he would NOT be defied under no circumstances whatsoever. So these three were bound up, and cast into the fire, and it was so hot that it killed the men that tossed them in! So here they go down, tied up in the midst of that burning fire. They knew that God was able to deliver them, but they were not sure if He would. They were ready to pay the cost. I urge each one reading this today, are you ready to pay the cost for Christ? There are many who stand and say, yes! I would die for Christ, and that takes courage, but I ask you today, are you willing to live for Him? Are you willing to die to this flesh and its desires and take up your cross and follow Christ and bear the reproach from the world that may come? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego sure were ready to live or die for the Lord! Let us continue and see what happened.
24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Now reading these passages of scripture, I want to jump up and down! Lo, I see four men loose, not bound anymore, walking in the midst of this fire, and they are not hurt! The form of the fourth man is like the Son of God! Oh Praise the Lord! He’s in the fire. When Christ is in the fire, the fire cannot consume us. Hallelujah the devil may heat it a million times hotter but when Christ is in the fire it cannot touch us! Praise You Lord!
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Reading this I’m reminded of a song that I sing in church sometimes. The lyrics are these: Now my friend you may be destined to face life’s hottest flame, but I’m glad that I can tell you in the power of Jesus name, not one flame of fire will touch you. You will come through it and you’ll tell, yesterday, today, forever, God is still alive and well. He’s still in the fire, and walking in the flame, and He will be there to help you when you call on Jesus name. He can still deliver by His Almighty Power, while here below it’s good to know He’s still in the fire! Hallelujah if three men went in and three came out then where did that fourth one go? Yes He is still in the fire, He is still in the midst of everything that we must go through…Praise His name the fire doesn’t harm Him, He holds it in His hands and nothing can harm us without His permission! If he allows us to go through anything, it is for a good purpose. That is His promise! (Romans 8:28).
29Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
The king now believed in the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were promoted and a law was made that no one could speak against the LORD! Oh that we may live our lives with a passion for Christ so that others around us would believe and desire to know Him. It is my desire and my prayer to live for the Lord so that He is exalted and lifted up so that He can draw all men unto Himself. Praise be to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our Savior, our Father. He is the one true and only God. He is worthy to be praised! Dear one He was in the midst of the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and He will be in the midst of the fires that His children must face. Our God can and will deliver us when we trust and obey Him. Thank You Lord!
Dear Righteous, Lovely Father,
I come to You today thanking You for Your power and for being in the midst of our storms, our battles and the fires of life we face. Father I thank You that You are faithful and You are just and Your promises are always true. Your word is truth and it will always come to pass. Thank You for being a wonderful Father, and for letting us be Your sons and daughters, Your children. Father we thank You for deliverance that comes from You alone. Thank You for the ones You delivered in Your word, and thank You for delivering us. Lord I ask today that You reach down Your all powerful hand and deliver the ones today that are facing a fire from Satan. Father deliver them just as You delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Father thank You for being the same yesterday, today, and forever. We will ever give You the praise and the glory, In Jesus wonderful name we ask and pray. Amen. We praise You forever! You are worthy.
July 24, 2016