Daniel 3:19 - Level 7
"Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated." - Daniel 3:19 NASB Today's devotion is specifically for those who are struggling through a serious test of faith. It's for those who desire to walk with God even though the journey ahead seems impossible. As you read please remember that as a Christian you follow the one who overcame the world and all that is within it. In the Book of Daniel, there's a story of three men with very strange names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. They live under the rule of a Babylonian king with an even stranger name, Nebuchadnezzar. In the story, the king's decree has come down which says that everyone in the land must bow in worship before a golden image that had been set up. And if they do not adhere to this decree, they are to be thrown into a blazing furnace where they will surely die a terrible and painful death. However, Gods law makes it impossible for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to obey. So, they refused. Upon refusal, these men are immediately brought before the king for questioning. When asked to give a reason for their disobedience the Israelites refused, simply responding that they would not obey the king and that God would deliver them from any punishment they faced. And even if He did not deliver them physically, they would still never bow to anyone or anything besides God. Naturally infuriated at this the king gives orders to heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual. It was so hot the scripture says that those who stoked the fire were themselves burned up from the outside. As the story goes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown into the fire. But God, appearing as a son of man, Jesus Christ as we now know, shows up inside the fire and delivers his servants unharmed. The scripture goes to great effort to say that not even a hair on their head was singed. All this, much to the astonishment of those who looked on as king Nebuchadnezzar now stood profoundly and immediately humbled. No doubt this is one of the greatest stories of Faith contained in scripture. And although we will, God willing, never be put in these literal circumstances we can learn a lot from this story. Many of us have experienced a testing of our faith. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, it's always a choice between trusting God or trusting the flesh. Trusting God or following men. Trusting God or trusting human ideas. Some of us may have even had those great moments where, at least in the spiritual realm, we stand our ground declaring that we will not back down. But we all know that standing is ground is rarely ever where the story ends. What happens after we declare our great resolve and life decides to heat the furnace seven times hotter? Do we bend or break then? Depending on your actual circumstances this question becomes increasingly difficult to ponder. Whatever your answer in the past, here's what I hope you'll consider. According to the flesh, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego would have died whether the furnace was heated to level 1 or level 7. What I mean is this, without God death was inevitable. However, with God, neither level 1 nor level 7 nor even a level as hot as hell itself could've overcome God and His faithfulness. This is true in your circumstance too! I don't know your particular situation. You could be at the diagnosis stage of a life-threatening disease. Level 1. Will you trust God? You could be participating in experimental treatment for an inoperable and even incurable cancer. Level 7. Will you trust God? You could even be at a place where doctors have told you that you should start saying goodbye to those you love. Level, Hell. Will you trust God? Friend, I know that this is not an easy time for you, but I hope and pray that you like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego pay no attention to the level of the fire. I pray that you will stay your mind on the only one who has the ability to deliver you. I hope and pray that you have the courage and the resolve to trust God and to know that your story isn't over until He says so. No pain, no diagnosis, no idea of men is greater than the God you serve. Keep on trusting God and He promises that he will bring you through.