I think of these three guys in the Old Testament that I heard a lot about in Sunday school as little kid. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I’m sure you know the story. Big Bad King Nebuchadnezzar set up an idol and said everyone had to worship it or they would be thrown into a fire and die. When he heard Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would not worship his god, he gave them two options: bow down to my god right now or be thrown into my fiery furnace. All of the sinful flesh inside of them must have been saying “Fire! Scream and run away! Do whatever you can, just worship his god and be saved!”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “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 god or worship the golden image that you have set up.” –Daniel 3:16-18
That verse tells me something inside Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was much louder than their flesh telling them to run away. They weren’t listening to their human nature, reason, or fear. Something much stronger was ruling in their hearts. In that moment of decision, with fire before them and logic behind, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were moved by complete faith in a God who saves.
Everyone watching must have thought these guys were crazy. “Really? Just bow down…it’s not that hard. Do you really want to lose your life over this?” The Spirit of God was so strong in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that their flesh was swallowed up by it. They had so much trust in their God that they had no other option but to run towards the fire.
I think of my girls in Texas who are missionaries in their schools. The other kids must think “Really? Just be a normal teenager…you don’t have to talk about Jesus so much. Do you really want to lose your popularity over this?” But the Spirit of God in them is so much stronger than their flesh. They keep inviting their friends to church, they keep having Bible study and worship after school, they keep pressing forward, because they’re listening to Him, not their own fear.
My flesh tells me the slums are an awful place to be. The slums smell repulsive, they’re dirty and it’s uncomfortable to see so much poverty and suffering. People must think “Really? Don’t go to that part of Kampala…it’s filthy. Do you really want to lose your normal life over this?” But the Spirit of God in me tells me to RUN to the slums. He tells me to hug and kiss those babies, no matter how dirty they are. He tells me these are His people, He loves them, and I need to love them, too.
Guess what the end of that story is! Nebuchadnezzar looks into the furnace and sees not three, but four men, unbound walking around in the fire. God must have seen His sons’ faithfulness and had to come down and celebrate with them! I like to think they were dancing and singing right there inside their death sentence.
I pray the Spirit of God in me would grow so strong, that my flesh doesn’t stand a chance. When a moment of decision comes, I pray that I’ll always run towards the fire, knowing He will be right there with me. When logic tells me “Natalie, this is crazy. Run away. Do you really want to lose your life over this?” may the voice of human reason be drowned out by the voice of Truth. May my sinful flesh be swallowed up by the Spirit of God.