It must have been a pretty impressive sight. The burning fiery furnace, big enough to hold multiple full size adults, glowing red hot as it was heated to seven times its normal temperature. And in it, four men walking in the midst of the fire. Astonishing, not just that they were unscathed by the raging fire around them and were moving about, but that there were four of them–for only three had been delivered to the flames and to what should have been certain death. But four there were. And four remained untouched by the furnace. And then the three emerged. The hair of their heads unsinged, their cloaks not harmed, not even a hint of the smell of the fire upon them. The evidence was irrefutable–the fire had not had any power over the bodies of the three men.
Like I said, a pretty impressive sight. An “all glory to God” sight as the king who had sentenced them to the furnace now looked beyond the men delivered from the flames and realized something about the God who had delivered them.
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants, who trusted in Him, and set aside the kings command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. . . . for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” (Daniel 3:28, 29b ESV)
And I’m hovering over that last phrase this morning . . . “there is no god who is able to rescue in this way.”
And I’m thinking, Nebuchadnezzar, you ain’t nothing!
For sure, no god could rescue from the flames as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s God. But their’s was but a warm up act (pun intended).
These three were already devoted to God. They had already determined to remain faithful to the Almighty and were ready to lay down their lives for the King of Heaven. Makes sense to fight the flames on their behalf.
But what about those who are indifferent to God? Or those who shake their fist at the Almighty? Or those who stand in opposition to, and are counted enemies of the King of Heaven. Can they be delivered from the eternal flames of hell? Can they be freed from their bondage to sin? Can they be rescued from themselves? Is there a god who can rescue in this way?
My God is able to rescue!
And He rescues through the Fourth Man. The One who saves, not from afar, but by entering the arena of the flames. Experiencing the heat as any other man would, yet without blemish or spot. Giving Himself to the flames of judgment on behalf of those He comes to save. Delivering unscathed those who put their faith and trust in Him.
What’s more, not only are those who are rescued delivered from the flames, but they emerge as new creations. Not who they were . . . not what they were. The Fourth Man replacing spiritual deadness with eternal life. Exchanging sin-stained cloaks for His own robe of righteousness. Replacing hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. Making blind eyes see and deaf hears hear. Converting enemies of God into children who cry, “Abba, Father!”
Is there a god who is able to rescue in this way? Only my God!
Able to rescue? Yes He is. So testifies one who has been delivered from the flames . . . one who has been extricated from the furnace . . . one who has been made new . . . one who, by God’s grace, desires to give God glory.
All praise and honor to the God who is able to rescue.