Daniel 3:1-30 HOW TO FIGHT FIRE: GOD'S WAY
Intro: Often, we see the Bible use times of trouble in the lives of its
characters to teach the rest of us some extremely valuable lessons about
faith, God and life itself. This familiar passage is no exception. In these
verses, we see the testing, the faith, and victory of three of the great heroes
of the faith in the Bible. As we look at what they endured, there are lessons
that we too can learn this evening. Lessons about how to fight the fires we
find ourselves burning in as we journey through life. Let's reexamine these
verses this evening as we consider the thought, How To Fight Fire: God's
I. V. 1-12 STEP 1: CONSIDER THE FIRE
A. V. 12a It Touches The Saint - Nowhere does the Bible guarantee the
saint of God freedom from the fires and storms of life. On the
contrary, the Bible is filled with references to the fact that storms will
come and that they will be part and parcel of the life of every believer.
(Ill. John 16:33; Job 14:1; Eccl. 2:23.)
B. V. 12b It Touches The Servant - Some people feel that being a
servant of God should guarantee them freedom from troubles. Just
this week, I heard a man say these words during a time of stress and
difficulty, "Why is this happening to me? I have tried to do everything
the Lord wants me to do!" What he failed to understand is that the
Lord does not promise His servants freedom from trouble. It can, and
will touch all of us!
(Ill. John Wesley was used to trouble in his life. One day, as he road
to a preaching obligation, it dawned on him that no one had even
thrown a rock at him all day long. It bothered him that his day had
been so trouble free. He got off his horse and started to pray to the
Lord, seeking to confess every sin he could find in his heart. About
that time, a piece of a brick sailed past his head barely missing him.
The brick was followed by the curses of some men who heard him
praying. Wesley jumped up and shouted glory to God and continued
his journey. He knew that trouble stalked the servants of God.)
(If you don't believe me, just ask the Apostle Paul. He labored for the
Lord while fighting the fire of an afflicting thorn in the flesh. A thorn,
by the way, that God refused to remove! Ill. 2 Cor .12:7-10!)
C. V. 12c It Touches The Separated - There are some who feel that a
clean life is a hedge against trouble. It is almost as if some saints use
holiness and separation like some kind of a voodoo charm to please
the Lord. If I can be good enough, then nothing bad will happen! If
something bad does happen, then it must be that there is a sin in my
life. This isn't necessarily true! Consider Job. He suffered like few
other men ever has, yet God's own testimony about his life was that
he was a man of God, Job 1:1, 8. A clean life does not mean a
protected life. Sometimes, God will take the holiest, the cleanest and
the best He has and put them in the fire. Not so that He can watch
them squirm, but so that He can use them for His glory to prove that
He is still God!
(Ill. The more we know about the fire when we are called on to face it, the
better off we are! When we realize that it isn't for the bad, but that God will
sometimes take the cream of the crop into the fire, it changes our whole
I. Step 1: Consider The Fire
II. V. 13-18 STEP 2: COMMIT THE FIRE
(Ill. These 3 men committed the fire to the Lord. When they faced the fire,
they knew they were unable to face it alone. Therefore, they committed it
to the power of the Lord and trusted Him to take them through. When we
face our fires, we too, should commit them to the Lord. There are 3 basic
truths that we need to keep in mind and they are given to us by Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego.)
A. V. 17a Remember Your Connection To God - Take special notice
of the words "our God." These men knew that they were in a special
relationship with the Father. These men were the sons of God by
faith and that is a good relationship to be in when the fire comes near
(Ill. The same is true for you and me this evening. We need to
remember that we are not bums wandering through this world tonight.
We are the children of the King! Our God is the Creator! He is all-powerful. He owns it all and is perfectly capable of aiding us in our
time of crisis! If you are His child, you need never fear Him bailing out
on you! He has promised to be there through it all - Heb. 13:5.)
B. V. 17b Remember The Control Of God - Two words used by the
Hebrew 3 make all the difference. Those words are "is able." These
are the words of faith! These men knew that the fire was hot. They
knew that the fire was able to destroy them. They knew that there
was no escape, at least from a human standpoint. As they faced the
fire, they knew what it could do to them. However, as they faced the
fire, they were also able to "faith" the fire! They knew that even if they
were thrown into the fire, their Heavenly Father had the necessary
power to bring them through the fire.
(Ill. God hasn't changed! He is still "able" to do anything that needs
to be done in your life or mine! He is still God and He is still able,
Eph. 3:20! Even if you go into the fire, God is still in control. He has
His hand on the thermostat and He is in control of the situation. In
fact, if the fire comes about in your life, it had to pass through the filter
of God's perfect plan for you before it ever came your way.
Remember Rom. 8:28 when the fire is belching in your life. Hey folks,
God is in control!)
C. V. 18 Remember Your Commitment To God - Way back in Daniel
1:8-21, when these men were younger and new to Babylon, they took
their stand for God and committed themselves to living for Him and
for Him alone. This is a commitment that they took seriously. Here
they are faced with their own deaths and still they are determined to
serve the Lord. They stood in the day of testing!
(Ill. When the fire comes to your life and mine, often it will be
accompanied by the temptation to quit on God. However, God has
promised us help for our times of testing and trials. When you are
tempted to quit, remember 3 things if you will.
1. God has promised not to allow you to be tempted above your
ability to bear it - 1 Cor. 10:13.
2. During the worst trial Jesus ever faced, He didn't quit, Luke 22:42.
He endured and kept His commitment because He loved you.
3. The hour of temptation and trial is when the truth of your
profession is proven. It is easy to vow things to God when you get
saved and it looks like the world is going to be perfect. However,
when the tough times come, and they will, it is then that you get to
honor the commitments you have made to the Lord.
Commitments, may I add, that are binding and that you will be
accountable to keep.
I. Step 1: Consider The Fire
II. Step 2: Commit The Fire
III. V. 19-30 STEP 3: CONQUER THE FIRE
A. V. 24 Overcome By The Presence Of God - Remember that when
you face the fires of life, you will never face them alone, Heb. 13:5;
B. V. 26 Overcome By The Preservation Of God - Remember that
God did not save you to lose you to a fiery trial. He will meet you in
the blaze and He will strengthen you in the day of trial. Remember,
it did not come to stay, it just came to pass! (Ill. 2 Cor. 4:17)
C. V. 27 Overcome By The Power Of God - Again, we are reminded
that the God we serve is all-powerful and is able to take care of His
children. It doesn't matter what you may be facing this evening, God
is bigger then it is!
(Ill. Just ask David about Goliath. Ask Noah about that Ark and that
flood. Ask Samson about those blinded eyes and a temple filled with
Philistines. Ask Moses about those 40 years in the wilderness. Ask
Joshua about Canaan land. Ask Abraham about having to offer up
his son. Ask Joseph about the pit, the prison and the palace. Ask
Mary about virgins having children. Ask Paul about a Pharisee
preaching the Gospel. Ask a dying thief about a saving Lord. Get the
picture? God is able!)
D. V. 29 Overcome By The Program Of God - Notice that God had a
higher agenda in allowing these men to go through the fire! He did it
to being glory to Himself and to speak to the hearts of a few heathen!
God brought His child through to prove that He is God and that He is
able to take care of His own. By the way, He is still doing it! He will
let one of His children go through the fire, and He will bring them out
in such a fashion that He gets all the glory and that men learn about
Him. He may be using the fire in your life to spread His message.
E. V. 30 Overcome By The Promotion Of God - One of God's primary
reasons in sending us through the fire is to purify us to promote us.
Folks, the truth of the matter is that you probably won't be much use
to the Lord until you go through some fires in your life. You see, fire
has the remarkable ability to burn off impurities and to cleanse the
object committed to its power. When God melts you, He is about to
mold you into a vessel He can use for His glory!
(Ill. Remember Simon Peter? He wasn't much use until the Lord
melted him and burned off some pride and some of his strong-willed
nature. God melted him and molded him and fashioned him into a
vessel of great honor and power. Another that comes to mind is
Jacob. His name means "heel-catcher, trickster", and he lived up to
it every day! However, one night, he met God by a river and the Lord
melted Jacob that night. God renamed him "Israel", which means "a
prince with God." After he faced that fire, he was useful to the Lord!
Even someone as pure as Joseph was melted in the fire before he
was promoted to the glory of God. With all this in mind, rejoice when
the fire is kindled in your life. It may be tough for a season, but the
Lord is about to use you to do some great things for His glory!)
Conc: I remember as a teenager, one day the woods behind our house
caught on fire. We went into the woods to help extinguish those blazes.
Being inexperienced, we boys tried to beat the fire out. We only succeeded
in spreading it! Then, the firemen and rangers who were there told us to
take our shovels and sling blades and move ahead of the fire to help build
a fire break. When we listened to the professionals, we were able to help
put the fire out. Left to ourselves, we would have just made things worse!
There is a spiritual lesson here as well. When we try to fight our fires our
way, we only succeed in making them worse. Let's do it God's way!