June 24, 2024

More Lessons From the Furnace

The furnace experience is going to come. How we respond to it will determine the depth of our faith and trust in Christ.

Last week I wrote about the three Hebrew teenagers who were thrown into the fiery furnace by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3). The decision not to bow to the king’s idol would have cost them their lives had it not been for the depth of their faith and a merciful God who loves to show Himself faithful to His people.

But there’s more to the story than the miraculous deliverance. Indeed, there are several other lessons that can have an enormous impact on our spiritual walk.

In our lives, the furnace experience is going to come. How we respond to it will determine the depth of our faith and trust in Christ. The enemy of our soul wants to destroy that trust in God.

It says three times in three verses that these men were tied up or bound. Then the king’s soldiers threw them into the fire, still tied up and bound. So that’s four times the Book of Daniel indicated they were bound. I believe the Lord is trying to make a point! But what happened when they were thrown into the fire? The “things” that had them bound were burned off, but they walked about in the fire completely free.

Sometimes the cares of this life can cause us to be bound by circumstances and feelings. Fear of the future, like losing a job or business, a divorce, or the possibility of a life-changing illness — these things can paralyze us with fear and uncertainty. So when we find ourselves in the furnace of life’s trials and testing, and we surrender our fears and anxiety to the Lord, He will only allow the fire to set us free from our chains.

The second thing the furnace does is it purifies, much as it purifies gold and silver (Psalm 12:6). Let’s face it: We all have crud in our lives such as jealousy, hate, envy, pride, selfishness, lust, and so on. But just as the fire removes the impurities of gold and silver, it can also remove the dross (refiner’s term) from our lives. We all have things in our lives we try to hide from those around us. There’s only been ONE perfect person, and it’s NOT me (it’s not you, either!).

Don’t misunderstand me. We are all born with a sin nature. Some judge others by the color of their skin, their possessions (or lack of), and their social status. We’re filled with envy over what others have that we do not. Our culture has created part of this monster, but it’s been in the heart of man since the Garden of Eden.

But God loves us so much that He will allow us to go through the fire to purify our hearts. He’s more concerned about our godly character and integrity than what we possess. My spiritual father/mentor put it like this: “Reputation is who you are around others; character is who you are when no one sees but God!”

We are living in a time when so many people are lost and rudderless in a culture that wants to destroy them. Our Father in Heaven wants us to be so purified from the dross in our lives that His face will be reflected in us.

Something to pray about!
Semper Fidelis

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