Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was wrong?
The Old Testament tells the story of a Jewish boy named Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were taken 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 him. Anyone that refused would be thrown into a giant fiery furnace and be burned up. Oh my!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down. So of course King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace. But our heroes had great faith in God. They knew 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. No, he didn’t keep them out of the fire. But he also didn’t let them die in the fire and go to heaven. God entered into the fiery furnace WITH them! Listen to 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. Five hundred years later Jesus would come and enter 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.
Because of Jesus God is always with me.
With Jesus I never have to be afraid of what will happen to me.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Play a quick round of hid-and-seek. Ask your kids if Jesus was with them while they were hidden? Talk about how Jesus is always with us even in the scary places.
Jesus, I know I can trust you to never leave me. Help my faith to show you to others. Amen.