THE FOURTH MAN
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ ‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the[e] Son of God.’”
You probably know the Bible story in Daniel chapter 3 of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were three faithful Hebrews taken captive in Babylon who rose to the highest levels of government. This angered certain Babylonians who were jealous of the influence these three foreigners, accusing them of disloyalty for not bowing down to a golden idol King Nebuchadnezzar had made.
You probably can never forget in verses 17 and 18 of this chapter their words to the king, even when threatened with death unless they bowed down to that idol, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Well, you know the story, the king was furious and threw them into a furnace so hot that the flames even killed the guards as they threw them down into the furnace. And down they went into the heat and fire.
And then the unforgettable statement of the king in verses 24 and 25, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said unto his counsellors, ‘Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered, ‘True, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘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.’”
1_ Why does God sometimes allow His children to be persecuted, threatened, and even killed for their steadfast faith in God? How can we remain brave in the face of threats (Hint: Daniel 3:25)
2_ Many Bible scholars believe that the “fourth man” here in Daniel 3 is a Christophany which is an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. What does this show us about the nature of Christ?
1_ TRUST! Even when the world is against you and there seems to be no hope, Jesus Himself will walk with you through the fire!
2_ WITNESS! People are watching you. Do they know you are a Christian. Do they see your faith as you go through trials? Have you told them where the source of your faith lies?
“I Praise You, God, for overcoming the world! Please allow this fact to penetrate my heart and encourage my faith. Remind me that trials are to be expected and help me keep my response to them under your control. Lord, open my eyes to see persecution as an opportunity to glorify you and as a reminder of my union with Jesus. Amen.”