September 14, 2015

Victim or Victor?

… They didn’t even smell of smoke! Daniel 3:27d (AMP)

Faith brings calm resolve. When confronted by a pagan King and commanded to bow down in worship to his gold statute, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could have panicked. They could have compromised their convictions just this once or complained of being mistreated. They did neither! With calm resolve, they said to the King,

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But, even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up. Dan. 3:16-18 (NLT)

Pride leads to uncontrolled rage. While Daniel’s three Hebrew friends responded in calm resolve, it was the King who was outraged. The Bible says,

Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage.  

What a contrast! While it was the three Hebrew men that were the victims, they never played the victim card! They were the victors! I believe that is why the Bible tells us that they were delivered from the fiery furnace of affliction without even the smell of smoke! God is with us even in our fiery furnace. An old Evangelist once said that the trouble with many believers today is that, when they go through a fiery furnace, they always smell of smoke! You never hear the end of how much they’ve had to suffer. This is just the opposite of what Jesus told us. He said,

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (TLB)

So, when God brings you through a fiery furnace, ask Him to take away the smell of the smoke. The only thing that burned up was the ropes that bound the three men! The Bible says,

Suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted, “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god” (Vs. 24-25)

We are never freer than when we walk by faith! These men walked in victory even in their fiery furnace! Does that sound like a victim to you? No way! They were enjoying sweet fellowship with God who walked with them in the furnace! Nebuchadnezzar thought he was in control of their destiny, but their destiny wasn’t in the hands of men but in the Sovereign hand of God! In fact, when they came out of that furnace, the Bible says

not a hair on their heads was signed and their clothing was not scorched. (Vs. 27)

Even a pagan King responded with praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!  He said,

There is no other god who can rescue like this! 

Here’s an interesting sidebar on the story. The final verse says that the King promoted the three Hebrew men to an even higher government position! Sometimes, you may have to go through the fire before you get promoted!