Thursday, September 25, 2014

Step INTO the Fire!

In this world we are constantly bombarded with idols.  They are erected in many forms to lure a people into worshiping the god of this world unknowingly.  There are idols of money, sex and power - what many consider the American dream.  They are mainstreamed through media and projected into the spirit of man.

There is a constant pressure to bow down to these images.  The worship of these idols leads to bondage and destruction.  Unfortunately those who do not know God perish for lack of knowledge.  (Hosea 4:6)

However for those of us who DO know and SERVE the LORD through relationship NOT religion, we are equally faced with the same temptations to bow down to these idols.  Yet we are reminded that although we are in the world, we are NOT of this world (John 15:19)  We are NOT to copy the behavior and customs of this world. (Romans 12:2)  We are a set apart people, a peculiar people called to be Light and Salt in the earth.  A people who raises God's standards - revealing Him and His glory for others to see.

Where many are avoiding the fire by compromising themselves to please man and their flesh, WE who are called to spread a fire must step into it first.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are examples of those who were not afraid of the fire. Their passion, commitment and obedience to God enabled them to defy the temptation set before them.

"and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  (Daniel 3:14)  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.” (v.16-18)

King Nebuchadnezzar was furious and ordered them to be thrown into the burning furnace because they refused to abide by his standards and instead upheld God's!  For this they turned up the heat seven times hotter than usual.  Take notice of what happens next:

"The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, FIRMLY TIED, FELL into the blazing furnace." (v.22-23) (emphasis added)

The soldiers did not have the opportunity to throw them in the furnace because they died. However, the boys fell.  I believe they stepped into the fire with confidence knowing that God will make a way of escape whether it was from the fire or from the king's hands.

“Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, UNBOUND and UNHARMED, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”(v.25) (emphasis added)

They were not alone in the fire, God stepped in with them - demonstrating to those who were looking down below that when you step into the fire with God there is FREEDOM!  The three Jewish boy's obedience testified of the One TRUE God WHO is the ONLY one that can save.  The fire spread to the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar as he began to testify:

"Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (v. 29)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not only delivered from the king's hands, they stirred a fire within the king as he saw God's glory and they were promoted! (v.30).  Favor always follows obedience!!

The "king's hands" is representative of the god of this world, who desires for us to bow down to his idols.  His purpose is to entangle us with an appetite for the things of this world.  In doing this, he binds us up as to throw us into his burning furnace which there is no relief or hope.  We must awaken to the strategies of the enemy! We MUST submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and in doing so he must flee. (James 4:7)

As followers of Christ, there is "No temptation [that] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) (emphasis added)

They way of escape may come in the fire.  It is not meant to burn us, but to refine and loosen impurities - untying idolatry that may have unknowingly and knowingly erected in our hearts - hindering us from freely walking in God's favor that enables us to be effective in our mandates.

Stepping into the fire of God always has purpose and brings promotion! Let us become the fire-starters - let it spread upon the people so that they too may proclaim the One True God!

Truly God is seeking those who are not afraid to be in the fire or to spread it!!!