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 Son of God.’”—Daniel 3:24–25 (NKJV)

This is easily one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I can’t think of many verses that give me as much confidence and assurance in trials, in difficulty, in tragedy, and in scary situations.

Yesterday, we spent some time examining the implications of King Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement. We saw how he “rose with amazement” because he was “astonished.” Today, we get to see why.

Just a few moments before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were to be thrown into the giant blazing furnace, the king ordered his men to make the furnace seven times hotter. It was so hot that it immediately incinerated the soldiers who were tasked with throwing them in! But to Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement, not only were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego completely unharmed, loose, and walking around in the fire, but now there was another figure in the fire with them!

Now, just think about that for a minute—a deadly furnace, soldiers turned to ash, but the faithful children of God completely unharmed. Amazing right? I think that would cause anyone to leap with amazement. But I don’t think that’s the part that completely amazed the king and caused him to leap to his feet. I believe what really amazed him was that he got to lay his eyes on the glorified, radiant, brilliant, pre-incarnate Christ! I mean, it’s not every day that you get to see God in the flesh! And for this heathen, pagan, unbelieving king, this was a moment unlike any other.

Theologian Matthew Poole wrote of His appearance: “Like the Son of God; a Divine, most beautiful, and glorious countenance . . . Jesus Christ, the Angel of the covenant, who did sometimes appear in the Old Testament before his incarnation.” There is nothing more amazing than when someone sees Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for who He really is. But if you’re a believer, you already know that because you know Him intimately. More and more, as we get to know Him, we should never ever cease to leap in amazement for who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do!

That same presence that walked in the fire and saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lives in you and will never leave or forsake you. Whatever fire, whatever trial, whatever painful, difficult, scary, or hopeless circumstance you face, you can walk with confidence knowing that Jesus Christ will always be right there in the fire with you, moving, working, redeeming, saving, and bringing glory to His Father!

DIG: What verses give you strength and confidence in fiery trials?

DISCOVER: How have you seen the Lord reveal Himself to you in a difficult moment?

DO: Pray for people around the world who are facing similar persecution and trials as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. Pray for the persecuted church around the globe, that the Lord would continue to give them strength and breathe new life and faith into them each day as they walk through this difficult season.