One of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three young men were taken captive by the Babylonians, carried back to Babylon, and put to work for the government. The king of Babylon made an image of gold and required every person to bow down to the image at appointed times, indicated by a symphony of music. Any individual not doing so would be thrown into a fiery furnace. The three young men, followers of Jehovah God, refused to bow and worship the image, saying to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were tied with ropes and cast into the fiery furnace to face an instant execution, but that’s not what happened. Shortly after being thrown into the furnace the king looked in and to his amazement saw the men alive and walking around with a fourth man! “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. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (Daniel 3:25, 27).
We could say that these men lost nothing as a result of their commitment to God. They came out unscathed by the burning flame. But they did lose one thing, that being the ropes that bound them! Most likely none of us will ever face a burning fire, but God will allow fiery trials of adversity throughout our lives. They are never meant to hurt us, but rather to loose that which binds us.
Satan loves to bind us with ropes of fear, financial disaster, broken relationships, sin, addictions, and more. These “ropes of adversity” can bind us so tightly that we can do very little for God or others. The next time you face a difficulty, a fiery trial, please remember these two things: God is with you through the trial, and it is meant to rid you of that which binds you.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).