This present economic state has so many of us going through valleys, some of us have almost given up looking for the mountaintop experiences that are inevitably supposed to flank each valley experience. The road ahead looks so bleak, we think the light up ahead is only that of another truck barreling toward us to do us harm. Let's face it, life can look really grim when your finances are in question. Let's be real about this.Some of us know that God is our source and the job is our resource, but some days it's really difficult to tell our flesh to be quiet and stop griping! We want the creature comforts. We've gotten used to certain luxuries and will fight hard to hold onto them We may even compromise our standards just to hold onto some of those creature comforts to which we have become so accustomed. Sad part about that is, after the compromise has been made, the consequences are often much more dire than that for which we bargained.So then we go right back into the dark cycle we just exited. Let's take a lesson from the four Hebrew boys and stand firm, even in the midst of the hottest fire of our lives; we have to believe with every fiber of our being, and when that belief fails, we have to beg God to help our unbelief and help us hang on with that mustard seed of faith He gave to us.
V. 4: "Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command!" Even when the laws go out for the country, or the rules go out for the company, or the leaders create a new policy, if it goes against what God has decreed, be prepared to take a stand that may cost you everything. Everyone else may line up with what “they” say, but if you have to stand alone, follow the instructions to the Corinthians and “come out from among them.” If you are acting in obedience to God, then stand, even if it is alone.
V. 8: "But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews." There will always be informers, reporters, gossips, and backbiters who are watching your every move, waiting to pounce on your first mistake. Be encouraged that if you’re walking upright before the Lord, let them talk all they want; only God’s Word will stand at the end.
V. 16: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you." You do not need to argue, debate or defend your position or stance; God will do it for you, as long as you remain obedient to His Word.
Because of your refusal to bow to satan’s will, he will throw a fit! He will try to kill you, literally or figuratively, but however he comes at you, his aim is to take you out! Be prepared for the fight of your life! Be assured, however, the fight is not one where you battle the enemy on his terms; the battle will be against your own flesh wanting to rise up in retaliation to the attack. Again follow the example of the Hebrew boys and continue in your obedience to God. Let God do the fighting for you. Only He can defeat the enemy on every hand in an all-out war.
V. 24-25: "But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Rest assured though that even in the midst of this firestorm, you won’t be alone. Even your enemies will see God walking with you, and be astounded as he helps you make it through this firestorm. While you serve God under the current assault against your obedience, you will find your freedom restored—you’ll be able to walk around unfettered, unencumbered, unbound and unconcerned, even in the midst of the worst storm you’ve ever encountered.
V. 27: "They didn’t even smell of smoke!" When you finally emerge, no one will even find evidence that you were in the fight of your life. Those around you, friends and enemies, who know you were going through a trial, will crowd around wondering how you made it over. You will be so engrossed in your obedience to God, the very ones who attacked you will be the ones who will have to call you out of the furnace; you won’t even be aware that the trouble and immediate threat that was supposed to have put you under has passed!
And then! Even the heathen, the witches, the sorcerers, the purveyors of the very evil that tried to take you out, will have to admit that not only is there a GOD, but that the very GOD you serve, to Whom you have been so obedient, to Whom all honor, glory, dominion, power, strength, prayer and praise belong, is GOD and GOD alone! Then and only then will promotion come. And not the type of promotion that comes from a job (although that may come as well, if you serve the GOD Who gives most liberally), but the kind of spiritual promotion that even man will recognize as favor. That’s when people will start to ask “well, where did you come from? Seems like you just “appeared” out of the woodwork.” This from the same ones who just saw you emerge from the fire. Check the record. Ask Moses, Abram, Elijah, Joshua, Paul, Peter...they all went through a “fiery furnace” before their promotion.
So know that you do not go through a trial for no reason. God does not allow needless suffering. He doesn’t like to have His children suffer, but sometimes our disobedience brings about consequences that He as a Father, although His heart breaks at our suffering, knows that this suffering will drive us closer to Him. All He can do is wait until we have reached the point where we turn to Him and listen to Him alone. He doesn’t like the suffering any more than we do, but He knows that it will bring about the best result in the final analysis.
There are also the circumstances where we have been obedient (look at Job!), but we need our focus to be “kicked up a notch” and a firestorm is the only way to “kick” us out of a place of comfort. Again, God doesn’t like the suffering, but as in the other circumstance, He is there every step of the way, guiding us and waiting for us to look to Him for the way out, or at least the comfort while the storm is raging around us. Our obedience in the midst of each and every circumstance will either grow or wane, depending on our faith and focus.
God has given to each of us a measure of faith, and He is the Author and Finisher (or Perfecter) of that faith, so it would make sense to go to Him to help make that faith grow and carry us through each circumstance in life. Sadly, not all will do that, and the end result for those who fail to go to God will be confusion and resentment because they do not see the reason for the suffering. But it is those who go through each trial with their eyes focused on Jesus who will see the victory. They may not get an immediate answer, but the peace that accompanies their journey will be the proof that God has been there at every turn. God is a Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him, and our obedience is part of the evidence of us seeking Him. It is up to us to cultivate and nurture our obedience, so that we do not even consider disobedience as a viable option. Not saying it’s easy, but it’s not impossible, and with the help of the Comforter and Guide—the Holy Spirit—it can be done.