“Have you ever walked with Jesus in the midst of the fire?”
In Daniel 3, the three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, defied King Nebuchadnezzar and so were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. But there in that furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar saw four men walking in the furnace and one looked like the son of the gods. We know that this fourth man in the furnace was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. In a few minutes, the three Hebrew men emerged from the fire completely unharmed.
What is the believer to make of this?
We need to realize that the only place where we can walk with Jesus in the fire is here on earth. In heaven we will experience no fire and no trial, and in heaven we will never experience Jesus delivering us out of the fire. That experience is only available in this life on this earth. So many believers long for a life of safety; of no fire and no suffering and no trials, and they intentionally avoid those fiery experiences when they can meet Jesus in the fire. Many believers live as if they want to be in heaven now, forgetting that they are still in the war as the church militant. Many believers live intentionally safe lives, forgetting that the only way to meet Jesus in the battle is to risk the flames and the lions and the sword.
Jesus met Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace because they had obeyed Him unquestioningly and had trusted Him unconditionally.
(Acts 18:9-10, when Paul received personal encouragement in Corinth; Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus showed His power to His obedient disciples; 2 Timothy 4:17, when “The Lord stood with me” in Paul’s time of testing)
How do you want to live? Do you want to get to heaven via the safest way possible, carefully avoiding risks and steering clear of confrontations with unbelievers? The one who would follow the safe path does not need a God who can deliver them from furnaces or dungeons or swords or lions’ mouths. The one on the safest path will never look up in the midst of the fire and see Jesus walking with them in the flames. The one who would walk the safe path does not really need much faith and does not really need a God who is mighty to save. So do you want to live on the safe path?
Or do you want to live boldly and radically for Jesus and trust Him to deliver you from the flames and from the lion’s mouth? In my opinion, it is the believer’s privilege to walk with the Son of God in the midst of the flames throughout life. Since I have a Savior who will be with me in the fire, should I not live without fear of the furnace? Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego abandoned all safety and accepted the furnace of fire, believing that Yahweh would deliver them. Because they trusted in Yahweh, they walked with Jesus in the midst of the furnace. Only in this life can we be thrown into furnaces of blazing fire. Only in this life can we trust Jesus and tell unbelievers of His power to deliver. SDG rmb 11/21/2015