Friday, October 13, 2023

The Trial of Faith (Daniel 3)

“If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us …” (Dan. 3:16).

The third chapter of Daniel relates a chilling account of how three Israelites faced a trial few of us could ever imagine. When the king proclaimed a decree that everyone must worship a golden idol, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused, even under the threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace. As the three faced the fury of the king and the fiery flames of the furnace, their faith kept them strong: “… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Dan. 3:17–18).

The three Israelites did not have any false pretenses about their situation. They knew there was a very good chance they might die. But they still did not turn. They refused to abandon God under any circumstance—even under the threat of torture and death. Through it all, they put their hope and their faith in the only One who could deliver them—God Himself. And even if God allowed them to die, they accepted that possibility and still honored and worshiped Him.

Like Job, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego passed the test of their faith. They were exiles in a foreign land, surrounded by idolatry and immorality. It must have been very tempting to forsake God for their own comfort. It was also probably tempting to become angry with God because of their difficult circumstances. But we see no bitterness, no anger, no unbelief in these men, only humble submission to God’s will and steadfast faithfulness even when they felt the searing heat of the furnace.

Such faith is given to all of God’s children. It is not reserved for the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abed-Negos of this world. It is a gift from God, and it is strengthened as we focus on God and remember His faithfulness even when death is staring us in the face. Our constant hope, which is the anchor of our faith, is that Jesus Christ is victorious and He has promised that all those who believe in Him will have eternal life. No matter what we go through now, we know that Christ is with us and one day we will be with Him in glory.

Seek out someone in your church or a neighbor who is sick, near death, or struggling with a difficult circumstance. How can you help strengthen their faith and encourage them? Write them a note of encouragement, fix them a meal, visit them. If he or she is not a Christian, tell them about the hope they could have in Christ Jesus.