You know, I can’t count how many times I was told as a child about the three young men thrown into the fiery furnace.  Those three young teenagers were Hebrew kids, born and raised on Law of Moses.  In other words, they knew right from wrong.

When they were ordered by their captors (some really bad guys) to bow down to what was an idol to them, not the true living God, they had the guts to refuse, even though they knew the consequence of their action…to be thrown alive into a burning hot furnace.

The flames in that furnace were so hot the men who threw them into the fiery pit were burned.  If you’d like to review all this, you can read the account in the third chapter of the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.

As a child, I focused on the fact the three would not bow to someone or something who was not their known and revered God–the One and Only Living God—and the miraculous way they survived that horrible fire.  I knew from Scripture that I should trust God in the face of any test, no matter how severe.  Especially anything that might take the place of my God and Savior in my life.

As an adult, I was studying this passage and noted another way this story could be applied to my life.  The Word says the three men were bound with rope of some kind…leather or twine…when they were thrown into the flames.  When King Nebuchadnezzar later looked at the results of what had been done, he saw the three loosened from their bonds and walking in the midst of the fire!  (And you will find as you read the account, there was a fourth man with them, too…an angel of God protecting them.)

When the men were brought out of the furnace, it is noted the fire had not touched their bodies.  They had no singed hair, scorched garments, nor even the smell of smoke wafted after them.  The ONLY thing that had burned had been what had bound them.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the times I’ve cried out to God to take me out of whatever fiery trial I’m in.  Immediately, if not sooner, please!  I don’t like the heat.  All the while, though, He is using the flames to burn away those things in my life that are of this world and have ultimately bound me.  Spiritually speaking.  Things like pride, selfishness, fear, independence, doubt or worry.

Now, when I realize this world has wrapped itself around me and tentacles are clawing at me, dragging me away into a fire of despair, I cry out to God to put me back into His purging fire so that I may come out and walk freely in His ways.  It’s better to endure some heat in the fire of life and be free to walk with God than to be surrounded with the bonds of the cares of this world and miss sweet fellowship with the Lord!

The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that we are to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us” (Heb. 12:1).  If you’ve done any exercise where you add weights to your ankles or wrists, you know exactly what this verse means. We’re told to throw off the things of this world that keep us from running the race of righteousness.  Running that race in God’s power, with His help, will ultimately bring glory to Him.

Ask God to burn the things that bind you and slow your running.

by Cindy Best

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