Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, “Did we not throw three men who were tied up into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” He answered, “Look! I see four men untied, walking around in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
This world tries to offer many things to us. For those who are hungry and who have no place to call their own, riches may be very appealing. For those who have never been known, who have walked this Earth barely distinguishable from the rest of us, fame and power may seem like a perfect dream. We all have some lack or deficiency that it appears the world can satisfy in one way or another. When faced with the opportunity to compromise, we may foolishly trade something much more valuable for one of the world’s perishable offerings. For some, they will be asked to comprise to save their lives. They are faced with the option of bowing or dying. Let us hope that those of us who must make that choice remember today’s scripture and what becomes of the ones who remain faithful even to death.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were asked to give their allegiance to false gods instead of to the one true God. When faced with this choice, they did not even bat an eyelash. They confidently stood firm in their faith. It was not even a matter of whether God would save them from the fire that awaited them if they did not compromise. They gladly went into that fire to glorify him. And when they did that, an amazing thing happened. They met the Lord. Their willingness to sacrifice their lives for the sake of God’s honor opened the door for them to meet him face-to-face. This was a reward for making the honorable choice. For those of us who are willing to give our lives for God, we too can expect a miraculous meeting with him. It might not happen right there in the midst of the fire, but we will meet him in gladness one day.
Scripture tells us that our God desires obedience more than sacrifice. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand. In order for these three men of God to be obedient in their faithfulness, they had to be willing to sacrifice themselves. The fruit of that was plenary. Not only did they survive the fiery furnace and honor God in the process, but they were joined by the Lord that they sought to honor with their obedience. I think sometimes we view meeting Jesus at his second coming as simply what must take place factually. I wonder whether we notice that this reunion is in fact a miracle. It will be another moment when God’s supernatural power invades the natural. Father, thank You for the miraculous reunion that we can await if we walk obediently in this life, and strengthen us in our obedience so that we may remain faithful.