Yesterday we read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace in Daniel 3, maybe take a second to read back over it. We saw a tremendous display of courageous faith from these three.
If you’re honest with yourself do you find yourself thinking “My faith – or lack of it – wouldn’t make me brave enough to do that?”
How many of us, in reality, think twice before admitting we’re a Christian if there’s the slightest possibility of rejection or penalty?
I think this story provides us with a good opportunity to ask ourselves what true biblical faith is, and is not, and to check that we’ve got our focus right.
The longer I go on as a Christian, the more aware I become that it’s God who keeps me going and growing in faith and not my will or self-discipline. Wouldn’t it be amazing if in our prayers, we prayed that God would increase our faith in times of trials and then help us to stand firm in him? It’s good to cry out, as the disciples do in Luke 17:4: “Increase our faith.” We all need God’s help.
There was a fourth figure in the furnace in this story, one providing God’s presence and protection. This is the main message of this chapter. The main point isn’t about any promise of miraculous rescue, but rather it is about the promise of the strengthening presence of God in times of trial.
In your school, or university, or workplace you will likely experience a degree of rejection if you consistently follow Jesus. Maybe not a fiery furnace, but these are difficult experiences nonetheless. But God will be with you.
Those who follow Christ in this world – who allow their love for Jesus to shape their decisions and priorities will have struggles of faith in this life. But the perfect king and perfect saviour will keep his promise to comfort and enable us to stand, will cover us with grace when we fail and ultimately will guide us to eternal life.
Have a think about where your fiery furnace is.
Do you pray that God will help you stand firm in this situation?