Pastor column: Faith in the face of a fiery furnace

In Daniel 3 is the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their story gives me hope when I’m enduring a trial. These three men with backbones of steel − who would not bend, bow or burn − have taught me simple lessons from the fiery furnace.

King Nebuchadnezzar reacts to the stand taken by these Hebrews and determines to destroy them in the fiery furnace. He orders them bound and thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. The fire was so hot it killed the men who tossed them into the fire.

The reasons for the king’s actions are he made an image of gold and proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do … you must fall down and worship the image of gold. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (vs. 1-5).

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow to that image. Their faith in God would not allow them to stoop to the same level as the pagans around them. 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.

Here’s what we need to get a hold of − to be committed to Jesus. We must be totally His alone and refuse to let this world squeeze us into its mold. That’s the way it is.

The three Hebrews were thrown into the fire but an amazing thing happened. Instead of dying, they were unbound and walking around in the flames. Nebuchadnezzar cannot believe it. “I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods” (vs. 25).

They were preserved by an ever Present God. When Shadrach. Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire, they were not alone. The God they had professed faith in was the fourth man with them loose and walking around. God set them free in the fire, and they were fine in the fire.

There’s a powerful truth here. Even though flames may come, you will be free from what binds you and you will be fine because there’s One with you every inch of the way. He will not leave you. He will preserve you through the fire and He will keep you for His glory.

They were preserved by an all Powerful God (vs. 27). The power of God operated in this situation and overcame the furnace totally. When He does something, He does it all the way. When He saves, He saves completely! When 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 (Ephesians 3:20).

If you’re going through a furnace time, cling to the Lord. He’s with you in what you’re facing and He has a plan to bring you through.

Rev. J. Patrick Street is the lead pastor of Redeemer Church in Marion. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: The importance of faith in God when facing a fiery furnace