Isaiah 43:2- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
This had been one of my favorite verses since I saw Sight and Sound’s production Daniel which pretty much was amazing, as all of their shows are. Daniel. What a cool guy in the Bible. We have so many mental images of how God used Daniel in the Bible. What a brave man of God. He went through a lot of tough stuff and still praised God for it. I don’t know about you, but I go through life sometimes wondering why bad things happen to me, a young woman who is just trying to follow after God.
For example, last week I got some bad news that made me extremely anxious. Instead of praying about it and giving the stress to God, I held on to it and asked God why He would let this happen when I was trying to serve Him. I asked Him why He wasn’t protecting me from it. I was angry, I was hurt, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I was pretty much blaming God instead of saying “okay God. I don’t get it but You must have a plan for it.” I wish I had reacted that way. From what I’ve read, Daniel didn’t play the victim card. I love that about his example in Christ and hope that somehow, someday I can react to the hectic journey of life that way.
The other main guys in the book of Daniel in the Bible were like this too. Take a look at Daniel 3. We meet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Rack, Shack, and Benny as I have called them since early Veggie Tales days). These three men would not bow down to a massive gold statue the king had built to worship. All the people of this kingdom were told whenever they heard the sound of any music to fall down and worship or be thrown into a furnace of a blazing fire. The three knowing the consequences which the earthly king they served refused to disobey a much greater king they served- God. King Nebuchadnezzar gave them a chance to bow down before throwing them in the fire, and they held strong and said no, and when they said no the king asked what god could save them. The three said that the God they serve can save them, but that He may let them die.
Woah. They were 100% okay with losing their lives to be obedient to the God who could save them from dying in a fire, but might not save them if it wasn’t His will that they continue living.
When the king heard this, he was furious- so mad that he had his workers turn the heat up on the furnace to seven times the amount it usually was and had people throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fire. It was so hot that the soldiers who carried them to the fire died- Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were still breathing when people right next to them were dying. God was already protecting them.
So the boys are in the furnace- and not once in the Bible does it say that they are asking God why He would let something this awful happen to them just for being obedient. It does say that Nebuchadnezzar noticed that there were four untied men walking around in the fire, and that one of them looked to be the son of a god. He was no longer angry, more astonished and let them out. The fire had not touched the three men. The probably didn’t even get that good bonfire smell that I love getting on my hoodies. It was like nothing happened. But I’m pretty sure all the living spectators of this day were changed forever.
Being obedient to God comes with risks. God wants us to trust Him in the midst of fire and warfare so that He can shield us. People around us may die, the point is to not give into the world that way. When we trust God’s plan and allow Him to shape our path- He will protect us from drowning and shield us from fire. When we are most under attack is when we need to get out of our “why me” mentality and say “okay God. I know you got this and I trust Your plan.” Let him lead you through the waters and put out the fires around you.
When you are on fire for God and trust in His plan, you will not be burned by the fires of the world.