Scripture Reading: Daniel 3:13-4:18 / 2 Peter 2:1-22 / Proverbs 29:1-9
With 6 seconds left and down 26-21, the losing Colorado Buffalos had one desperate play left. The Colorado quarterback went to the sidelines and talked to head coach Bill McCartney. It seemed like the roaring stadium went quiet until a fan shouted out from the stands, “Hey, coach, where’s your God now?” The fan must have been aware of McCartney’s Christian witness as the founder of Promise Keepers.
In desperation, the Colorado QB threw the football 74 yards where it was tipped and then grabbed by a Colorado player who fell into the end zone for the winning touchdown. Later McCartney admitted he heard the fan’s taunt but knew immediately his team would win because God doesn’t back down from any challenge and would have McCartney’s back.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced the same kind of circumstances but instead of a football field, they faced a furnace. It wasn’t a game but a matter of life and death. When they refused to bow down to the image erected by Nebuchadnezzar, the king threatened to throw them into a furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. Their response to Nebuchadnezzar’s threat, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. (Daniel 3:17)
They accepted this challenge, knowing that it was not necessarily about them but about God. They believed God would validate their faith but more importantly, He would manifest His power and glory. God would defend His name and His children. Their next comment was not an expression of doubt but confirmed their commitment to God despite the outcome. “But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (vs.18)
The gauntlet had been thrown down and the three were thrown into the fiery furnace. The furnace was so hot that the guards who threw them in died because of the fire’s intensity. With great amazement, Nebuchadnezzar saw not three but four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed. He said, “the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (vs.25)
God not only delivered them, He walked with them in the midst of the fire. They were unharmed, clothes not singed, robes not scorched and not a scent of smoke was detected. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the greatness of their God and their faith. God hasn’t changed…He still uses the fires of life to purify and refine us while the world looks on in amazement. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we know that there is someone else with us. Six seconds or six hundred degrees…it’s never too late or too hot!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!