The Fourth Man In The Fire
Boy, this being empty is sure difficult to keep up with on a daily basis. Even on an hourly basis. Made perfect in weakness. My weakness. God's perfect strength. Oh, but how easily self creeps in and ruins it. My feelings. My hurt. My way. And then God has to remind me yet again. Nothing of me. Nothing in my hands. Get empty, Barbara. Nothing else matters. Someone who I love dearly reminds me often. Sometimes daily. It's always the same: "Don't be discouraged. There's a fourth Man in the fire!" And it makes me cry. Every. Single. Time! Because it always takes me back to where I belong. With that fourth Man. My precious Saviour. Waiting for me again. Only in His strength can I stand in this fire. Only in and with Him.
King Nebuchadnezzar was the wicked king of Babylon. He commanded that a golden image be displayed and that all be required to bow in it's presence. The punishment for not complying was to be swift and severe- to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Death by burning.
Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego were Jewish boys in the service of the king. But they served the living God of Israel, and to Him alone would they bow. Someone snitched and King Nebuchadnezzar was beyond furious. As the three boys stood before the wicked king and they learned their fate, they bravely proclaimed to the king that their God would be with them, even in that fiery furnace.
The mean, angry king commanded for the furnace to be heated to seven times it's normal intense heat and that the three children of the true and living God should be bound and thrown in. The heat was so intense that the men throwing Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego into the furnace lost their lives in doing so. But after a while, King Nebuchadnezzar felt the need to go have a peek.
And what he saw when he looked into that furnace were four men walking around in the fire unharmed by the flames and heat! Not three- four! The king must have thought he was losing his mind, for he called unto his mighty men and they shared this exchange:
"Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!" (Daniel 3:24,25)
The king called for the boys to come out of that furnace, and he and his men "saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them." (verse 27) And the king made a new decree: "That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort." (verse 29)
And then Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego got a promotion! :)
That's where I want to be. Not so much in the fire. But if I have to be there, I want to stand loosed with that fourth Man, the Son of God. Lord, please give me again Your strength in my weakness. I need You today!