Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was wrong?
The book of Daniel in the Old Testament (can you find it in your Bible?) tells the story of a Jewish boy named Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were taken out of the promised land and into slavery in Babylon. There they would be forced to serve the wicked king, Nebuchadnezzar.
The book of Daniel tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar made a giant statue of himself and ordered everyone to bow down and worship his statue. Anyone that refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar would be thrown into a giant fiery furnace and be burned up. Oh my!
But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down. They had decided that they would only worship God. So of course King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace. But listen to what they said to the king before being thrown into the flames:
Daniel 3:16-18. 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had great faith in God. They knew that God would save them one way or another. If God kept them from going into the furnace they would be saved. But even if they had to die in the furnace they knew God would take them to heaven to live with him forever.
But then God did something amazing. He didn’t keep them out of the fire, and he didn’t let them die in the fire and go to heaven. God entered into the fiery furnace WITH them! Here’s what the King said when he looked into the furnace:
Daniel 3:25. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
King Nebuchadnezzar saw a fourth man walking around in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Do you know who that was? It was Jesus. Jesus went into the fire with them. Because Jesus was with them, our three friends didn’t get burned up in the fire. And God used their faith to change the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar. “There is no other god who is able to save in this way,” he said.
Five Hundred years later Jesus would come and entered into our “fiery furnace” again when he died for us on the cross. Jesus protected us from being burned up by sin and death. Now, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we can live by faith. We can live unafraid. We can live knowing that God might keep us from bad things or he might not, but either way we will be with Jesus no matter what happens. And when we live in faith others will see it just like Nebuchadnezzar did. And who knows, they might just decide to worship Jesus too.
Because of Jesus I never have to be afraid of what will happen to me because I will always be with him.
With Jesus I can live in faith and show him to others.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Play a quick round of hide-and-seek together. Ask your kids if Jesus was with them while they were hidden? Talk about how Jesus is always with us even in the bad or scary places.
I know I can trust you to never leave me. Help my faith to show you to others.
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