We all know the story of Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace, so I am not going to retell the story. The part that fascinates me whenever I think of this story is the part that follows after King Nebuchadnezzar, full of fury commands the furnace to be made seven times hotter! (v19)
After the King commands his “most mighty men” (v20) to cast our 3 friends into the burning furnace, the King’s “most mighty men” are all killed by the heat of the furnace (v22).
Time to stop and ponder: our 3 friends were bound hand and foot (v21), so they had to be helped/carried/assisted to the edge of the furnace. Our 3 friends were the only ones left standing close to the furnace after watching these “most mighty men” fall down dead around them from the heat.
Now if it was me, this would be going through my mind:
“Oh yeah King! You see! I told you my God would deliver me!”
(v17 If 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)
At that point, I would have summarised the situation very quickly and realised, not one of the Kings other men would have come close to me to throw me into the furnace, their friends were lying dead at my feet! If I decided to at this particular point, to actually plead my case with the King, he would probably have listened because he would not want to die throwing me in the furnace. He knew at that particular point, he was in a very negotiable position as to making him look really powerful or really powerless before his entire nation.
Me, I would have thought that God had started opening the door for my deliverance with the guards dying, because at that point, the 3 friends were in a position of power.
And our 3 friends? They decided to throw themselves into the fire without the help of the “most mighty men” of the king or without any further assistance! (v23) The end result we know, they walk around in the fire with Jesus.
When we go through “fiery situations”, we are inclined to expect God’s deliverance before the flames reach us, but sometimes God has a bigger picture in mind than our immediate comfort zone.
Read John 18:1-6
Judas is coming out to betray Jesus into the hands of the Pharisees with a band of men, soldiers and weapons.
(v 6) As soon then as Jesus had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
At that particular point, Jesus was free to escape as all who had come out to take Him captive, where lying on the ground, out under the power that came on Jesus when He took up His full authority by saying “I am He!”
In both stories, God had a bigger plan of redemption in place than the individuals involved’s deliverance out of that particular situation.
In the 1st story a nation got to know a new God, and in the 2nd story, all the nations were freed from the curse of the law of sin and death through the death of Jesus on the cross.
Going through our trials and our own “fiery furnaces”, when we get to that point where there seems to be a deliverance from our immediate circumstances and we can walk away almost “justified” or “redeemed” or “vindicated”, we need to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listen what God’s perfect purpose is for the situation. Sometimes the battles we fight are not just designed to bring us into freedom, but also the people around us. If we walk away at the 2nd best deliverance, we might miss God’s best for our lives and the lives of others.
God always gives us the choice. We can stay and go through the trail, or at a point, we can walk away. Walking away frees us and no one else. But going through, potential frees the entire body of Christ with the new truth you have learnt.
At what point in your fiery trail, do you consider yourself “delivered”?