The story to this point: Israel has been defeated by the Babylonians and many taken into captivity. Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has found favor and are put into positions of authority by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king has made a golden idol. When the appointed â€˜alarmâ€™ sounds, all are to bow to the gold image. Shadrach, Mshach and Abednego refuse. The king has summoned them and determined they will be thrown into a blazing furnace and ends his tirade with these words:
â€œThen what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?â€
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, â€œO 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 rescue 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.â€ Daniel 3:15-18 (NIV)
It take courage to face the blazing furnaces of this world. We can talk about how we are being refined in these adversities but it takes courage to run the races that we are given. This courage comes from God. It is the power of His Spirit inside our very selves that makes us stand when we are so weak in our humanness.
I met some people last night who are in the fiery furnaces. That furnace has a name: cancer. They and those that love them are each running marathon races through the fire. Sometimes the flames are so very high that they cannot see the next turn or even how long they must run. The courage of God, the en-courage-ment of His words are like cool water on their bodies and spirits. The I AM is greater than the race they run. The I AM is sufficient to supply all their needs in abundance. The I AM is.
â€œI am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.â€ Genesis 28:15 (NIV)
â€œNo one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageousâ€¦â€
Joshua 1:5-6 (NIV)
In the furnace, we must keep our eyes on the One who is strength and is courage. We must hear His en-couraging words and receive His en-couragement into our spirits. Soak up His Word and Spirit like a dry sponge soaks up water!