“Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:25
We’ve heard all the sayings, “New Levels, New Devils,” “God Won’t take you to it unless He’ll bring you through it”…our culture is so inundated with quotes and mantras that we hardly get to the more probing questions.
What happens when the heat is really turned on, and we don’t have time to remember quotes? What happens when life has our hands tied, and we need God immediately?
Three Hebrew Boys help us answer that quip. We have heard the story of the fiery furnace rehearsed over and over again in Sunday School classrooms all over America. But there are several points that I believe will help us answer our original question in detail.
I’d like to start with the names of the Hebrews. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are absolutely FABULOUS names, I imagine, for ice breaker conversations and tongue twisters. But what most people don’t understand is that the authentic names of the Hebrews were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. This oversight is minimal if you don’t plan to study.
In deeper inspection, what we find is that trials of any kind challenge your identity first. Akin to African Americans who were given American names in slavery, these names were given to the Hebrews not in honor, but in an attempt to control how they perceived themselves. Trials will attempt to make you question who you are, what God said about you, and what your destiny is to be. If they can change your name, they can attempt to change your destiny!
While the Hebrews were in captivity, they didn’t care what they were called; they knew who they were. Don’t forget who you are! The Hebrews prayed like usual, worshipped like usual, and stood in who they knew themselves to be. I would definitely suggest a personal journey into the meaning of your given name, as it will reveal so much more about your parents, your past, and your future. Never let anyone change your name!
Another valid point to investigate is how these men ended up bound in the king’s furnace. Nothing just happens for naught. Edicts were made to challenge the integrity of the Hebrews’ heart. The king’s advisors used his ego to enact a law that would essentially attack prayers to anyone other than the king. That would mean an upheaval of all the Hebrews knew, all that kept them sober minded in a strange land, and all that fortified their lives.
Prayer is not a laundry list of needs to an invisible Santa; rather, it is a conversation, a declaration of your allegiance to The One who holds your life in His hands, and a reminder of what He says about you. Even if they try to change your name, they can not change what your Maker says about you. When you enter the secret place of His presence in prayer and agree with what He says about you, you fortify and refresh the essence of a man-the spirit, soul, and body.
Prayer is a weapon! Don’t lay down your weapon of prayer! The advisors indicted the Hebrews for praying, but until the very end, they were found in prayer. Trials always push you into what you were meant to do. Prayer is your safe space and weapon. Others may have intended to harm you with edicts intended to stop your mouth. But continue to pray in the spirit until it shifts what you see into what you say. Prayer cannot be taken when it is a part of your make-up!
Lastly, when attempts to besmirch your name, eradicate your heritage, and lock up your integrity fail, fire is used. Fire is a consumable that erases all traces of what was. When one intends to do away with a thing, they burn it. The plan was to burn-finalize, wipe out the powerful legacy and allegiance of the Hebrews with relation to God the Father. Their heritage was an unbroken line of communication and commitment with God. This final act of throwing them in the fire would forever seal their glorious heritage and block anyone else from learning about them.
Perhaps like the Hebrews, you have been thrown in the fire to be burned. The attempt to silence your history with God sent flames above your head and caused you to wonder how you’re going to come out of this. There is One who walks in fire. He walks through the fire to stop the fire from consuming you! No rumor, no weapon, no bondage, and no memory can inhibit His legs from walking towards you. He knows exactly where you are in the fire. He uses the fire to loose you so that you can stand in the midst of it and come out unharmed.
The FireWalker is still walking through fires. I assure you, you aren’t the first or the worst of your situation. Take courage to know that those who counted you out used the wrong math. You are not by yourself. Someone is in the fire with you, walking you out. Look up and live!