Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Surviving the Furnace

   This is week is one of my favorite Chapel times with our Preschoolers as we "live" the story of The Fiery Furnace.   (If you aren't familiar with the full story you can find it in Daniel 3)

   In the story three young Hebrews named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, are dealt with rather harshly by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.  The king had a 90 foot statue of gold erected, and then commanded all of his government officials to bow down and worship.  Any who refused would be immediately cast into a fully fired-up furnace.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bend their knee to the statue saying . . . 
"our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace"
   In the face of the king's ensuing anger, these three stood strong and faithful. They never claimed that their God would deliver them unharmed from the fire - they merely said that He "is able" to deliver them. Their faith in the Lord was such that they trusted He would deliver them either from the fire or through the fire.  God would either walk them out of the fire unharmed OR would allow the fire to take their life and thereby release them from the evil of this world and bring them home to Himself.  In this case their refusal made the king so hot under the collar that he commanded the furnace to be stoked to 7 times its normal temperature! 

   As he peered into the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar noticed TWO curious things: 
  1. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were walking around unharmed in the heart of the fire, and
  2. There was now a FOURTH man walking with them who was like a "son of the gods"
   Nebuchadnezzar was moved to exclaim:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!”
   Have you found the furnace to be running particularly hot in your life lately?  Has it seemed that the world is geared against you and that your days seem to be more heavily numbered among the bad than the good? Are you tempted to follow the ways of the world and abandon seeing the world from the Lord's point of view?  Hold on tight!  Never forget that Jesus, the Son of God, has already walked among us.  He has saved us by His life, death and resurrection and He will deliver us from evil . . . perhaps from the fire and perhaps through the fire.

Father, mighty and gracious Lord, hear the prayers of all Your people in distress.  Grant that the Holy Spirit to confirm them in their faith, strengthen their weary hearts, and sustain them through the hope of eternal life through Your Son Jesus Christ, in His name we pray. Amen.
To God be the glory!

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