April 27, 2024


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Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:25

THE narrative of the glorious boldness and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and stedfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Let young men especially, since these were young men, learn from their example both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of integrity in business, never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal.

“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.”
Isaiah 43:2

God proved this promise to be true in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego When the three Jewish boys would not go along with Nebuchadnezzar’s command, the king had the furnace heated up seven times hotter, and the guys were thrown in. It was so hot that the soldiers throwing them in died. But God protected them to the degree that not even a head on their hair was singed. They came out not smelling like fire.
But while they were in the furnace, the king noticed something:

“I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:25

But before then the trio gave the king a faith filled and fearless answer that infuriated him the more.

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Daniel 3:16-18

What an answer! This is one of the great statements of no compromise in the Bible. Look at what they said:
We really don’t need to answer you on this; we serve a higher authority, and there’s really nothing to discuss here.
Our God is the real God, and that means he can and will deliver us from you. You’re really not as powerful as you thing you are, and you have no idea whom you’re dealing with.
Even if God doesn’t deliver us, we’re not going to bow down to your golden pretend god. It’s up to God whether he wants to deliver us – or not; He’s God, and he can do what He wants. But we’re not going to play your silly game.

Many Bible expositors believe this to be an Old Testament appearance of the Lord, God in the person of His Son, appearing as the angel of the Lord. What is beyond question is that the Lord is with us as we walk through fiery trials and He will always show up for us especially when we keep faith and the furnace is made seven times hotter than before.

Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, then walk by faith and not by sight. I do pray you, beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, do my God the honour to trust him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether he will be your debtor! See if he doth not even in this life prove his word, that “Godliness is great gain,” and that they who “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them.” Mark you, if in the providence of God it should be the case that you are, and continue to be a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, he will discharge his promise in the gold of spiritual joy, and I would have you remember that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth. To have a clear conscience, to wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offence, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield or the traffic of Tyre could win. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith. An ounce of heart’s-ease is worth a ton of gold; and a drop of innocence is better than a sea of flattery. Burn, Christian, if it comes to that, but never turn from the right way. Die, but never deny the truth. Lose all to buy the truth; but sell it not, even though the price were the treasure and honour of the whole world, for “what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

There is a furnace which Satan blows with three great bellows — some of you have been in it. It is hard to bear, for the prince of the power of the air hath great mastery over human spirits; he knows our weak places, and can strike so as to cut us to the very quick. He fans the fire with the blast of temptation. The evil one knows our besetting sins, our infirmities of temper, and how we can be most readily provoked. He understandeth how to suit his bait to his fish, and his trap to his bird. At times the most earnest Christian will be compelled to cry out, “My steps had well nigh gone; my feet had well nigh slipped.” The Saviour went through this furnace in the wilderness, and was thrice tempted of the devil; and in the wilderness of this life God’s people frequently experience temptations of the most horrible kind. Then he works the second bellows of accusation. He hisses into the ear, “Thy sins have destroyed thee! The Lord hath forsaken thee quite! Thy God will be gracious no more!” He tells us that we are hypocrites; that our experience has been fancy; that our faith is mere presumption; that our glorying has been a hectoring boast, and the very sins which, as a tempter, he himself incited us to commit, he brings against us when he assumes his favourite character of “the accuser of the brethren.” Unless graciously comforted under the attacks of the roaring lion, we shall be almost ready to give up all hope. Then he will beset us with suggestions blasphemy; for while tormenting us with insinuations, he has a way of uttering foul things against God, and then casting them into our hearts as if they were our own; he can sow the infernal seed of blasphemy in our souls, and then tell us that these are the native plants of our own hearts. He lays his black offspring at our door, as if they were our own home-born children; and this sometimes is very hard to bear, when curses against God and his Christ will come across our soul; and though we hate them with perfect hatred, yet we cannot be rid of them.
And thirdly, there is a furnace which God himself prepares for his people. There is the furnace of physical pain. How soon is the strong man brought low! We who rejoiced in health are in a few moments made to mourn and moan, not in weakness merely, but in pain and anguish. He only thinks little of pain who is a stranger to it. A furnace still worse perhaps is that of bereavement. The child sickens,. the wife is gradually declining, the husband is smitten down with a stroke, friend after friend departs as star by star grows dim. We bitterly cry with Job, “Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance unto darkness.” Then added to this there will crowd in upon us temporal losses and sufferings. The business which we thought would enrich, impoverishes. We build the house, but providence plucks it down with both its hands. We hoist the sail and seek to make headway; but we are driven by a back wind far from the desired haven. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” I cannot multiply the description of these crosses which our heavenly Father in his mysterious providence lays upon his beloved ones. Certain is it that, like the waves of the sea, the drops of rain, the sands of the wilderness, and the leaves of the forest the griefs of the Lord’s people are innumerable. Into the central heat of the fire doth the Lord cast his saints, and mark you this, he casts them there because they are his own beloved and dearly loved people. I do not see the goldsmith putting dross into the furnace — what would be the good of it? It would be a waste of fuel and labour. But he thrusts the crucible full of gold into the hottest part of the fire and heaps on coals till the heat is terrible. Some of you have no crosses; you are like Moab, “settled on your lees;” “you are not emptied from vessel to vessel,” because ye are reprobate, and God careth not for you; but the pure gold is put into the furnace to make it purer still. As silver is purified in a furnace of earth seven times, simply because it is silver, so are saints afflicted because of their preciousness in the sight of the Lord. Men will not be at such pains to purify iron as they will with silver; for when iron is brought to a tolerable degree of purity it works well, but silver must be doubly refined, till no dross is left. Men do not cut common pebbles on the lapidary’s wheel, but the diamond must be vexed again, and again, and again with sharp cuttings, and even so must the believer.

The context reminds us that sometimes the Christian is exposed to very peculiar trials. The furnace was heated seven times hotter; it was hot enough when heated once; but I suppose that Nebuchadnezzar had pitch and tar, and all kinds of combustibles thrown in to make it flame out with greater vehemence. Truly at times the Lord appears to deal thus with his people. It is a peculiarly fierce heat which surrounds them, and they cry out, “Surely I am the man that hath seen affliction — I may take precedence of all others in the realm of sorrow.” This is not so, remember, for princes have sat in the king’s gate with their heads covered with ashes, and the best of men who eat bread at Jehovah’s table this day, have had to say, “Thou hast filled me with wormwood, and broken my teeth with gravel-stones.” The path of sorrow is well frequented, beaten down, and trodden by hosts of the chosen ones of God, who have found that the path of sorrow, and that path alone, leads to the place where sorrow is unknown.

Difficult situations will come our way: they provide us with an opportunity to turn and trust in the Lord.
Compromise is never worth it: even when we’re being threatened, obeying God is worth whatever it costs.
The Lord is always with us: whether it is through literal or figurative fiery tests, the Lord will not leave us.
When we trust God through our difficulties, we can come out on the other side, free from the smokey smell of bitterness, resentment, frustration, and anger. We come out with the fragrance of God.

Matthew 28:20

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—were thrown into a fiery furnace because of their faithfulness to God, King Nebuchadnezzar, came to witness their execution—but he was stunned to see not three but four men in the fire…and he recognized that the fourth man in the fire was none other than the Son of God (Daniel 3.19-25). Is there meaning in the meltdown? You bet there is! The good news is that when all that we have accumulated, all that we have clung to, all that we have relied on burns and melts away, there in the heart of the furnace we come face to face with the Fourth Man in the fire—the One whose name is Immanuel —God with us.

My brothers and sisters, in days like these, there lies our hope. There’s a Fourth Man in the fire, and his name is Jesus—Immanuel, God with us. Here’s the meaning in the meltdown: God is with us. God is for us—even, and especially, in the meltdown of this world and all the things we have thought that we could count on.
How about you this morning? Does your world seem to be spinning out of control? Are you beginning to suspect that the center just will not hold? Do you know what it feels like to be living in a meltdown? Then hear the Good News: God himself will meet you there for a connection, an intimacy, a communion that will empower you not just to survive but to overcome. In the shaking of the foundations—in the meltdown that reveals with terrible clarity what’s real and what’s not—in the brokenness of his own body and in the shedding of his own blood, Christ comes to us with the grace that makes us whole. And whosoever will may come.
Thanks be to God. Hallelujah. Amen.





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