Recommended reading: Daniel 3 and Exodus 13 & 14
I think two of the most frightening circumstances I can think of, is being trapped in either a raging fire with no way out, or being stranded in a large body of water – no life jacket, no boat and no land in sight. Either of those would result in the most absolute helpless feelings in the world.
Okay, so what would cause me to think those terrifying thoughts? Well, I was listening to the radio a few days ago when a song came on that I really do like – the title is: “Another In The Fire” by Hillsong United.
The first time the chorus is sung, these are the words:
“There was another in the fire, standing next to me. There was another in the waters, holding back the seas. And should I ever need reminding, of how I’ve been set free, there is a cross that bears the burden where another died for me.”
The second time the chorus is sung, these are the words:
“There is another in the fire, standing next to me. There is another in the waters, holding back the seas. And should I ever need reminding, what power set me free, there is a grave that holds no body, and now that power lives in me.”
Then the third time the chorus is sung, these are the words:
“There’ll be another in the fire, standing next to me. There’ll be another in the waters, holding back the seas. And should I ever need reminding, how good You’ve been to me, I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where You’ll be.”
Do you see it? God’s presence was with us in all we have already faced – His presence is with us now with all we face – His presence will be with us in the future with all we will face.
In Daniel 3 is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar has had a huge golden statue built and proclaimed that when the people hear the music they are to bow down and worship that idol. It had been decreed that anyone that did not obey would be thrown into a blazing furnace. Those three young Jewish men refused to follow that proclamation and when the king found out he was not happy. Verses 13-18 (CEV) say: “King Nebuchadnezzar was furious. So he sent for the three young men and said, ‘I hear that you refuse to worship my gods and the gold statue I have set up. Now I am going to give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be alright. But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me.’ The three men replied, ‘Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.’”
I am sure you have all read the story and know that the king ordered that the men be thrown into the raging fire – it was so hot that the soldiers that tossed them into the furnace were killed by the fire. Then the king suddenly jumped up and exclaimed that they were no longer tied up, were walking around unharmed and that there was a fourth man in there with them that “‘looks like a god.’” (vs 25) When they brought them out of the fire, they were not burned, not scorched and did not even smell like smoke. Those young men were fearless and had a faith that I honestly cannot fathom.
So in our daily lives, we are not very likely to be in a situation where we are faced with an actual raging fire. But we can face circumstances that appear to be out of our control and frightening. There can be times that we just do not see any way out and can be tempted to compromise our faith in order to survive – at least in our minds. But with the three young men that survived the raging furnace unscathed as our example, we need to keep our eyes on our all-powerful God and trust Him to save us.
Then in Exodus 13 & 14 is the story of how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt as God directed them through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. The number of people in that exodus could have numbered up to 2,500,000 people in total. So can you imagine that massive group of people arriving at the shores of the Red Sea, looking behind and seeing the dust resulting in hundreds of horse drawn chariots with thousands of armed Egyptian soldiers in pursuit? What were they to do? They were trapped, frightened and begged God to help them (and of course, complained to poor Moses.)
Here again, I am sure you have read that story (or seen the movies) of how Moses followed God’s directions and the result was the sea was divided, the ground dried up and the Israelites fled across that seabed safely to the other side. They all made it across, then as the Egyptians chased after them into the seabed, the waters were released and drowned them all. I cannot imagine stepping down onto that dry ground like the Israelites had to do, with walls of swirling waters on both sides of me, to cross to the other side – knowing that if something went wrong I would be covered over with water and a certain death.
In our daily lives we have circumstances that may feel like walls (of water) closing in on us. We do not see a way out and fear tries to control us. But if we will just stand strong, following God’s directions, His protection is there for us to claim and our enemies will be defeated.
Then, this morning this was the Bible passage that my daily devotional was based on: Luke 6: 46-49 (CEB) – Jesus speaking says: “‘Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn’t even shake. But anyone who hears what I say and doesn’t obey me is like someone whose house wasn’t built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces!’”
Then a part of what that devotional said was: “The Lord of all creation has put His finger on the inconsistency that invades all of our hearts. There is always a discrepancy between what we say and what we really believe. For some of us, it is a slight discrepancy; for others it is vast.” (Chris Tiegreen)
When I read those verses and the accompanying devotional, they just seemed to mesh with the other thoughts I had been having about those song verses – they seemed to express the key to it all. We need to develop a solid relationship with our God so that we can listen to what He tells us to do; but, more importantly, we need to obey. We need to clearly know what we believe and then be willing to speak and act accordingly. When we do that we cannot be shaken.
[All emphasis in the article is mine]
(I would encourage you to search online for that song and listen, because it tells a wonderful story.)
Written by Karran Martin – February 19, 2022