“Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25
Something struck me anew reading Daniel 3. This familiar – and awe-inspiring – passage accounts the heroism of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Jewish men who lived in captivity in Babylon during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.
When they staunchly refused to bow down and worship the image of gold Nebuchadnezzar set up (vs 5), he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace (vs 19a, 20).
In obedience to King Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, these men…were bound… (v21)
And these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. (vs 23)
“Weren’t there three men that were tied up…? (vs 24)
Did you note how many times scripture mentions that these guys were restrained? Four times.
Why such emphasis?
In addition to the miraculous presence of the angel of the Lord within the furnace, holy guarded against the flames, Nebuchadnezzar remarked to his advisors,
“Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed…” (vs 25)
No longer bound.
In the flames.
When God chooses to turn up the heat of circumstances in my life, this account assures me of two essential truths:
I will not endure it alone, and I have His strength to keep walking through it.
Depending on the situation, it may not be enough to acknowledge His presence with me and then sit idly by.
Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17)
God may call me to get up and walk. To do the hard thing. To accomplish the impossible.
But He walks alongside me.
And being omnipresent, God does far more than hang out with me in the flames of difficulty. He also goes ahead and hems me in behind.
For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12b
You hem me in — behind and before. Psalm 139:5a
Who do I know, faithful as they may be, who can go ahead of me while also watching my back?
No one but God.
I wonder if these four men broke into joy-filled laughter as they walked. I bet I would have.
In the midst of life’s fiery flames, God’s presence is comfort for the journey and His strength is sufficient to keep on walking.