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LESSONS FROM THE FIERY FURNACE
Intro: This is one
of those chapters in the Bible that we have been hearing since we were small
children in Sunday School and
want to look into these precious verses this evening because I find help
here. I find that there is help for
those who may be enduring some trials in these days. I find there is help for all of us, because
we live in a world that is becoming increasingly unfriendly toward God, Jesus
Christ, the Bible, Christianity and the born again believer. I want to travel back in time to ancient
Why is there all this anger leveled at these men? The reasons for the king’s actions are given in verses 9-18.)
v. 8-12 They Are Persecuted Because Of Their Standards –
B. v. 13-15 They Are Persecuted Because Of Their Savior – Nebuchadnezzar gives them a second chance. He knows why these boys are refusing to bow, and he mocks the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, v. 15. He implies that he, Nebuchadnezzar, is more powerful than the God they serve. He demands that they bow to his will instead of the will of God. (Note: The believer should walk in total submission to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be totally sold out to Him and His will. He is to have first place in our lives. Listen to the Lord’s Own standard for us – Matt. 10:37-38; Luke 14:26-27.)
C. v. 16-18 They Are Persecuted Because Of Their Stand – Even when threatened with a horrible death, these men refuse to bend or to bow. They take their stand in spite of the personal cost. (Note: The true believer should square his shoulders and take his stand for Jesus. We are to be totally committed to Him, 1 Cor. 15:58; Luke 9:62.)
(Note: Here is what we need to get a hold of today: If we are going to live for Jesus in this world; if we are going to be His alone; if we are going to refuse to let this world squeeze us into its mold; then we are going to suffer persecution. That is what the Bible teaches us, 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12. Here is the bottom line my friends, if you and I are going to live “godly”; if we are going to live for Jesus, then we are going to be persecuted. There will be furnaces of criticism, furnaces of intimidation, furnaces of hatred, furnaces of temptation, furnaces of trials like you cannot imagine. That is just the way it is!)
(Note: The furnaces of life, especially the furnaces of persecution are no fun. However, they are all good for us! Why? The furnaces of life exist to help us become more like Jesus. Just as gold and silver are placed in the furnace and are purified through the process; persecution has the potential to remove the dross from our lives.
But know this: when the Lord has sent you through a small furnace and seen the big results, He will place you in a greater furnace somewhere down the road. What am I saying? It’s going get worse! Look at what the Lord told Jeremiah when Jeremiah came to God sort of whining because people didn’t receive him and his message, Jer. 12:5. God is basically saying, “Jeremiah, if you think it is bad now, you just stick with me and realize that things are about to get a whole lot worse.”
That’s not much of an encouragement, is it? What we have to understand is that this world cannot understand the Christian. We are a totally mystery to lost people. They cannot understand the way we live, the things we do, or the love we have for our God. Our lives bother them and they are convicted by holiness in the life of a believer. Their natural reaction is to persecute the believer in an attempt to get us to behave like them. If you are going to live for Jesus, you will be persecuted! Some of you are there tonight. If so, there is hope and help in these verses.)
II. v. 24-27 GOD’S PEOPLE ARE A PRESERVED PEOPLE
v. 25 They Were Preserved
By An Ever Present God – When Shadrach. Meshach and Abednego were thrown
in to the flames; they found that they were not alone. The God they had professed faith in earlier
met them in the fire. Nebuchadnezzar and
the others with him could not believe their eyes! They threw three men into the flames and now
there are four men loose and walking around!
1. They Were Free In The Fire – All the fire did is burn away the things that had them bound. The Lord used the fire to loosen these men from the ropes that held them. (Note: When the fires of persecution and affliction come into your life, you need to remember this truth: The Lord is merely freeing you from some of the things that have had you bound in your life. As the flames burn away the ropes of besetting sins, bad attitudes, bad habits, etc, you will find that you are freer in the fire than you were outside the fire!)
The fire has the power to set you and me free from the things that bind us and hinder or walk with the Lord.)
2. They Were Fine In The Fire – We are told that they “have no hurt.” The fire did not kill them, it didn’t even burn them! God allowed them to go through the fire, but He did not allow the fire to go through them. Again, there is a powerful truth here for those who might be walking through a fiery furnace. The furnace may be frightening, but you were not brought to it for destruction, but for growth. God did not allow it for your hurt, but for your good, Rom. 8:28; Jer. 29:11; 2 Cor. 4:17.
Even thought the flames may come, they will only free you from what binds you. You will be fine in the fire, because there will be One with you every inch of the way. He will not leave you, but He will preserve you through the fire and He will keep you for His glory!
(Note: By the way, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire, only three men went into the furnace. When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he saw four men in there walking around. When Nebuchadnezzar called for the men to come out of the fire in verse 26, only three came out. What happened to that fourth man? Well, He is still in the furnace! So, when you go there, you will find Him waiting for you. He will look at your flames and say “Cool it!” The three Hebrew boys were preserved by the presence of God and you will be too!)
v. 27 Preserved By An All Powerful God – When those boys came out
of the furnace, they were inspected by Nebuchadnezzar and his men. We are told that not a hair was singed, there
was no soot on them and they didn’t even smell like smoke! (
That’s just God! When He does something, He does it all the way. When He heals, He heals completely! When He saves, He saves completely! When He forgives, He forgives, He forgives completely. Whatever He does, He does it all the way! How? He is all powerful, and He is able to use that power in your life and mine, Eph. 3:20! So, when you find yourself looking at a fiery furnace, remember that you serve an all powerful God, Who is able to keep you in the times of affliction and Who is able to bring you through for His glory!
III. v. 28-30 GOD’S PEOPLE ARE A PROMOTED PEOPLE
(Ill. Everyone there that day came away with a greater understanding if Who God was and what God could do. Going in, the three Hebrew boys did not know what God would do for them, v. 17. But, they trusted Him anyway. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he was more powerful than they God they served, v. 15. In the end, they all learned that God was greater than the king and greater then the furnace of fire. Notice what happened when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were delivered from the furnace.)
A. v. 29 God’s Person Is Praised – An old, pagan king exalts the name of the true God. Because of what he saw God do for His people in the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar sees thing differently. God used this horrible moment in the lives of those three Hebrew believers to touch the hard heart of a lost, heathen king. (Note: You never know what God will do with the afflictions in your life. As we pass through the furnaces of life, leaning on the grace of God to sustain is, it may be that God is using those moments in your life and mine, those moments that hurt so much, to show a lost world that He is God and He can help them. That is why we need to submit to the furnaces of life, trusting God’s grace to be sufficient, 2 Cor. 12:9.)
v. 30 God’s People Are Promoted – Because they were faithful to
the Lord, they passed through the furnace.
On the other side, they are promoted in the kingdom. (Note:
There is a lesson in this for us. It is
a true lesson, but it is a lesson that we might not like to think about. God never really uses anyone in a great way
until He first takes that person through the furnace of affliction. You cannot stand on
Conc: If you are passing through a furnace time today. Let me encourage you to cling to the Lord. He is with you in what you face and He has a plan to bring you through what you face and to use you for His glory. Still, you might need to come talk to Him about your furnace. If there are needs, this altar is open!
 Jerry Vines – Sermon on Daniel 3:19-30