‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” ‘ Daniel 3:16-18, 24-25


There are several things that stand out to me in this passage. First of all the statement “We do not need to defend ourselves”. How many times can I honestly say that I have not felt the need to defend myself, when I was under attack? These Hebrew men understood a deep truth, that their decision not to defend themselves did not mean that they were defenseless. They had a deep understanding that their God was already moving on their behalf. The second thing that I notice is their actions after they were thrown in the fire. I’ve always glossed over this part when reading the story–as though they were thrown in, and suddenly pulled right back out at Nebuchadnezzar’s command. The truth is that they spent an unknown amount of time strolling around in the fire. The thing that stands out to me though, is that instead of sitting and sulking among the flames, or trying to fight their way back out of the exit, they instead spent their time walking with Jesus amid the flames. I don’t know exactly why Jesus appeared to them, and I don’t know exactly why Jesus chose to walk around. What I do know is that Jesus was with them, and they chose to follow him even as the flames rose and the furnace raged.


I want to defend myself. I want to have the self confidence that I can handle what life throws at me, that I can engage the battle, and emerge victorious–but the battles are too large, and my own strength too weak. I must choose to trust my Heavenly Father from start to finish. He alone is my defense, He alone is my shelter from the storm. When attacks come and a defensive attitude rises in me, I must actively choose to put my trust in Him, instead of in my own abilities. I must crucify my own pride, and lift up my Savior.I often want to jump ahead into the next season. It may be noble to trust God as the attack approaches, and it may be easy to praise Him after the battle is over–but what about the days when I am simply wandering amid the flames? Despite putting my trust in God, there seasons that I will spend in the furnace. When I look around and see the furnace walls closing in and the flames on every side, I need to focus on what Jesus is doing. The furnace is irrelevant, as long as I am in step with Him. I can’t sit down and wait for the flames to diminish, nor can I try to push my way out and create my own exit. All I can do is follow Jesus as He walks amid the flames, trusting that He will be glorified in my life as I follow Him.


God, thank You for the assurance that my trust in You is not misplaced. Thank you for being my defense and my strength, no matter the situation I face. Help me to keep my eyes on You and remain faithfully in step with You, whether I am on my way into the furnace, walking around in the furnace, or walking back out of the furnace.