Without coincidence, my recent walk through the book of Daniel took me this morning to chapter 3. This documents the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they were saved from the fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar had made a huge golden image that all people had to bow down and worship at the sound of the music...at the threat of death by burning for disobedience.
It became known that these three Israelite men--friends of Daniel--were not bowing when the music played (Certainly, we can assume that Daniel was not bowing either but he did not serve in the same location as his three friends). The three friends were brought before the King for another chance to bow, and their response encourages, "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. 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." (3:17, 18) Can't you just feel their trust--unwavering faith?!
King Nebuchadnezzar was so full of anger that he heated the furnace seven times hotter than it was usually heated--are you in a fiery trial that feels seven times hotter than usual? God is greater. So the king threw them into the furnace and God sent His Son to protect them in the midst of the fire. Sometimes we must be in the midst of the fire.
Here is the part that always gets me. Once the king released them from the furnace, he and all the leaders saw that the fire had no power over these men; "the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them." (3:27) They did not even smell like smoke! My husband is a firefighter. Believe me, I know how strong the smell of smoke can be!
This is the power of God Almighty: He can take us into the midst of a fiery trial, and as we place our trust in His sovereign rule, we can escape free from harm. In fact, on the other side of the fire is even greater faith.
So would you stand firm for Christ even in the face of death? Something to ponder, huh?! He is worth our being expendable. Press on.