My wife, daughters and I had the opportunity to see Hillsong United in concert last week. It was amazing and we all enjoyed it immensely because we could feel the Holy Spirit moving in ourselves and those around us. They really understand how to lead their fans in the worship of our Lord.
One of the best songs of the night was called “Another in the Fire”. I had heard it before, but when I saw it live, it just blew me away. The title of the song and some of the lyrics obviously allude to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the book of Daniel. Yeah, I know, most of us have heard the names and maybe have read the story, but it is so much more than most people know.
Let me just say quickly, that if you have not read the book of Daniel, front to back, you are missing out. It has become one of my favorite books. Do yourself a favor and read it – it’s pretty short, but absolutely full of whisperings from the Holy Spirit.
So back to the story with a quick synopsis. Daniel and the boys had been selected from amongst all of the Israelites in captivity in Babylon to train to become servants to the king. They had been fed, housed and educated by the king’s officials, and by God himself! (Daniel 1:17) When time came to test them to see if they might enter into the king’s service – they proved to be 10 times better than anyone else in Babylon. So, from then on, Daniel and the boys served the king, but continued to praise, trust and love the Lord as they were told they should by the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:4-7).
Since I promised a short synopsis, let me skip ahead a bit. As usually happens, when people choose to love and serve the Lord, others become jealous and angry and try to tear them down in any way possible. It seems that this isn’t a new thing – It happened in ancient Babylon as well. The boys fell prey to a whisper campaign and the king became enraged and demanded that they be called before him. When they arrived, King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that they defend their conduct and then comply with his rules or be thrown into a fiery furnace. The boys’ answer to the king is one of my favorite parts of the Old Testament.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
– Daniel 3:16-18
Wow, what an awesome statement of faith and trust in the Lord! Unfortunately though, it was not a great statement if you want to avoid being thrown into a fire! Spoiler alert – they were. I am not going to spoil the rest of the sitcom hijinks that ensue – you have got to go and read them for yourselves in Daniel 3:19-30. Suffice to say – it ends in the best sitcom fashion with some comedic buffoonery, the hero, Jesus, showing up to save the day and the villain, Nebuchadnezzar, changing his ways and proclaiming that God is Most High!
Do we have this amount of faith – Faith to say that God is able to deliver us from the worst of situations? Faith to not even feel the need to defend ourselves? And if we can muster our faith, do we trust Him to own the situation completely?
How many times do we say we have faith that God will deliver us, but end up engineering that delivery in some way because we don’t trust Him? I know I am guilty of this. The boys, however, had enough faith AND trust to give control of everything over to God – to either deliver them or to NOT! And oh boy did He!
I know I never will be alone
There’ll be another in the fire
Standing next to me
Nothing stands between us
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
Another in the Fire – Hillsong United