Singed A Bit, Were You?
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rewcue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'" --Daniel 3:16-18, NIV
I’m feeling a little singed lately. Kind of knocked around. The hits just keep on coming. Is it just a difficult year, or a sign of the times? It’s hard not to be depressed when every time you turn around there is more bad news. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the idol that King Nebuchadnezzar built, they were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace that was seven times hotter than normal and the heat of which killed the two men that carried them to the furnace. The king saw a fourth person walking with them in the fire and when he called them to come out, they were unbound and not even a hair on their heads was singed.
So why am I feeling singed? Why isn’t my Jesus, my Savior, protecting me?
Let’s back up in the story a bit. Previously, Daniel had interpreted a dream for the king. The dream was about a statue made of different things and a stone “cut out by no human hand” that struck the statue and broke it into pieces and then that stone became a mountain. We know that Jesus was the cap stone, so we know that he was the stone that wasn’t cut by human hands that will destroy all the earthly kingdoms and establish a kingdom that lasts forever.
Daniel and his friends knew about the Promised One. That knowledge kept them from giving in to the world around them. Even when they first arrived in Babylon and were selected for training. They refused to eat the king’s food like everyone else in training. Not only were they fine just eating vegetables and drinking water but they appeared to be even healthier than the other boys.
They remained faithful. God made a way.
Their ability to obey and keep their identity as Jews amazes me. They were given new names—Babylonian names. They were taught Babylonian history and language and culture in the hopes that they were young enough to not understand that it was indoctrination. It was all carefully planned to change their loyalties. They were supposed to forget Jerusalem and their own language and even their God. Somehow these four stayed faithful. They remembered who their God was and what he had promised. They remembered Babylon was not their home.
The indoctrination going on in our culture is hard to ignore. It’s harder still not to let it seep into our lives and slowly change our hearts and minds. Maybe I’m feeling singed because I’m walking through that fire double-minded. Maybe I’ve let the world keep me bound, instead of letting Jesus set me free. Only by fixing my eyes on Jesus can I be joyful in the valley of the shadow of death. Only by remembering that this is not my home and the Promised One is going to come again and establish his kingdom forever can I let go of the pain this kingdom brings me.
And an even bigger point to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
Jesus didn’t save them from the fire. He walked with them in it.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” (Psalm 23:4).
Even if the fire had killed them they would have been welcomed into heaven and into the arms of Jesus. They weren’t afraid of death.
They remained faithful. God made a way.
How many times have I not stayed faithful and turned away from God because he didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted? Too many. That’s the seepage I’m talking about. The world seeps into my heart and makes me forget who I am in Christ. The world makes me forget that this is not my home.
There’s a song I love by Lauren Daigle called Trust In You.
The chorus says:
When You don't move the mountains, I'm needing You to move When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through When You don't give the answers as I cry out to You I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
It makes me cry. Because I know I don’t trust. I get mad because I get singed. I try to turn that last line into a mantra: I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You! More often it’s: Help me trust, Help me trust, Help me trust in You!
We have to remember who we are in Christ and that this is not our home. If we do that, we will not get singed in the fires of this world.
Don’t let the world seep in. Trust in Him to make a way.
With Love In Christ,
Father, I am double-minded. I say that I’m trusting in you alone when really I’ve got a back-up plan in the world. I’m afraid of the fire. I don’t want to walk in it even if you’re with me. And my fear paralyzes me. It leaves me with one foot in this world and one foot in heaven. Help me wholly trust in your protection and your plan. Amen.
Nod to The Princess Bride reference in the title. Just like she believed, "My Westley will always come for me." We must believe that Jesus will always be there for us.
This blog is based on Nancy Guthrie’s Bible study series, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament.