Facing a Fiery Furnace

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 80


There is an interesting country song by Johnny Cash called The Fourth Man in the Fire. In only the way that Johnny Cash can do he describes the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found in Daniel 3. No, I will not be singing Johnny’s song. In today’s podcast I want to look at that story and pull out some lessons that can help us as we may have to face some fiery furnaces in our own lives today.

 I’m Cindi Whitman from Restoring the Foundations and the verses for today are Daniel 3:24-25, Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said 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.” He answered and said, “But I see four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed. And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!”

Most of us will never have to face a situation like these boys did. And these were boys. They were still teenagers when this happened, and they were able to withstand the threat of certain death without bowing down to the idol made by the king. I have often wondered what would I have done in the same situation? Would I have caved into the king in order to save myself from the fire?

I read the story of Mahfri on the Voice of the Martyrs website. At 21, Mahfri enrolled in a local bible school for the purpose of hiding out from the police, who were after him for selling drugs. While in Bible school he got radically saved and wanted to share Jesus with his people. In Indonesia where he lived, it was not necessarily illegal to share the gospel with people, but it was very dangerous. He tells many stories of walking along the road and being jumped by Muslim militants and being severely beaten. He was beaten so badly on one occasion that he could not walk for six months. Yet that has not stopped this mighty man of God from continuing to share the gospel in the fiery furnace of Indonesia.

I read another story on the Voice of the Martyrs website (persecution.com) about Cha Deoksun. Cha left her home in North Korea during the great famine of the 1990’s and fled to China in search of food. While in China she was introduced to Jesus in one of the many underground churches. Cha became a fanatical believer in Jesus who returned to her home in North Korea

and began planting underground house churches even though it was outlawed by the government. She was so successful at evangelizing her people and starting house churches that when the North Korean government found out about what she was doing, they arrested her and made a public video about her execution to keep others from following in her footsteps. What satan has never learned, when you persecute the body of Christ it does not shrink, it actually grows. Due to her martyrdom, the underground church movement in North Korea grew like never before.

There are so many incredible untold stories of God’s children willingly going into the fiery furnace rather than denouncing their Lord and Savior Jesus. I am not into looking at the future with fear, but the reality is that the potential for the heat to be turned up on the body of Christ is very real. Some of the prophetic words given for 2024 suggest that things might be getting more difficult. Some of the difficulties we may face might be due to the natural consequences from leadership that is not leading well. Issues like the economy, the border, the rise of violence, and the increase in anti-American sentiment here in our own country could lead to more difficulty for each of us in the USA. In other countries the issues may differ, but persecution is rising around the world.

When I was pregnant with each of our three children, I had to prepare for my trip to the hospital ahead of time even though I did not know the exact day or time the baby would come. I had to pack an overnight bag with certain essentials for my stay and they recommended that I pack a sack lunch for after the delivery. If I would have waited until I went into labor it would have been too late. I had to prepare ahead of time not knowing exactly when I would need to go. You cannot prepare for something like that when they happen, you have to prepare for them ahead of time. Oh, and by the way, with one of my deliveries I ate the sack lunch that I’d prepared for him. I was happy that I had prepared ahead of time.   I was really hungry! 

So how can we be prepared for the future and the potential furnaces we might face? Let me share a few thoughts from the story of the fiery furnace found in Daniel 3. 

The first thing we see in the boys who were thrown in the furnace and in their buddy, Daniel was they knew their God. These Hebrew boys were schooled from a very early age to know God and to know about God’s ways. The story goes that the king brought in the best of the best. It says in Daniel 1:3, they brought in “youths in whom was no blemish, who were handsome and skillful in every branch of wisdom and gifted with understanding and discerning knowledge, and such as had ability in them to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the language of the Chaldeans.” And they put these boys into school to teach them all the ways of the Chaldeans. What were the Chaldeans doing through this schooling? They were trying to replace what these boys knew about God and brainwash them into thinking like the Chaldeans.

This is what could be happening with us if we are not careful. We live in a world that is run by the father of lies. And his untruth saturates much of our thinking. That is why Jesus taught that we are not of this world. In John 17:14 He says, “Because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from the evil one.” The evil one that Jesus talks about in this verse has distorted our view of God in many ways. He has planted doubt in the minds of many believers. As I mentioned in a previous podcast, I was raised in a church that lived by the “Yes He can but will He” theology. We knew that God could provide for us, but will he do it for me? Since we did not have the conviction that HE would, we were taught to take care of ourselves in the name of trusting God. That is a form of unbelief.

These boys did not have any of that unbelief. In Daniel 3:17-18 these teenage boys say something very bold to the King who had the power to throw them into the furnace and kill them that showed that they knew who God is. They said “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods nor worship the golden statue that you have set up.” They knew that God was going to be with them even if they were thrown into the furnace. As Isaiah 42:2 says “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

We will need to know that no matter what we go through in this life, we need to remember who God is and that He promises to go through those difficult situations with us. I love this verse because it is very honest with us. It doesn’t say that we will always be kept from the deep waters or the fire, but it does say that God is going to go through those things with us. We sometimes set up new believers to struggle by telling them that once you get saved all of your problems are going to go away. That is simply not true. But what is true is that now as a child of God you have a loving Father who is going to go through them with you, giving you what you need to make it to the other side.

The next thing we see in this story that is important to us as we face our own fiery furnaces is to know who we are as children of God. We know the boys in this story by their Babylonian names which were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Their Hebrew names were Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah. Why was it important for the king to change these boys’ names and give them Chaldean names? Because Hebrews names reinforced their relationship to God. For example, the name Hannaniah means grace, mercy, gift of the Lord. The name Mishael means who is like God or who is like our God, and Azariah means helped by God, our God is my helper. So, part of the king’s brainwashing was to try and get these boys to forget who they are as Hebrews and thus to forget their God. Oh, by the way their Chaldean names had meaning also. Shadrach meant the command of Aku (the moon god), Meshach meant who is as Aku is, and Abednego means slave of the god nebu.

Knowing who you are as a child of God is essential. God did not send Jesus into this world to only save us from our sins, as wonderful as that is. He sent Jesus to die on the cross to give us new life. I wrongly believed for years that when I accepted Jesus as my savior all of my past sin was forgiven but I was still the same old sinner saved by grace. I did not realize that at the moment I accepted Christ my entire being changed.  2 Corinthians 5:21 in The Passion Translation says, “For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him.” Notice that it says that the only person who ever lived a sinless life became sin on our behalf. Some teach that Jesus bore our sin on the cross like wearing a set of clothes. That does not do justice to the incredible injustice of the sinless savior becoming sin for us. I can’t even imagine what that was like for Jesus to not simply carry our sin, which would have been horrible enough, but to become sin for us. Then in exchange for our identity as a sinner, He made each of us righteous. Again from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Now if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.”

The enemy wants to keep you stuck in your old identity for at least two reasons. First, when you don’t know on an experiential level your new identity as a child of God you are much easier to manipulate using your past sinfulness. As a child of God who knows that their identity has changed from a sinner to now being the righteousness of God in Christ the enemy cannot use your past against you. When the enemy tries to throw my past sinfulness in my face, I am now able to say, “Yes, that WAS true of me before Christ, but that is no longer who I am. I am a new creation in Christ and none of my past is still true of me!” If you find you are still believing lies about yourself by defining yourself by your mistakes or by things that happened to you, get with an RTF minister and destroy those lies and allow your Heavenly Father tell you how He sees you. It is life changing.

Some of you are saying, didn’t Lee talk about our identity in last week’s podcast? Yes, he did. Understanding our identity as a child of God is so critical that we are covering it again. That’s because there are many in the body of Christ who do not know who they are as a child of God and thus they are open to being manipulated by the enemy into inactivity.

You and I may be facing some fiery furnaces in the future. It is important that we get ready before we face the furnace. Be like these boys and get to know who your Father God is on an experiential level and discover who you are as His dearly loved child.


Father God, thank you that you are with me in the fire.  When the waters rise you are with me.  No matter what the difficulty, I know that you are with me.  Lord, prepare me for the days ahead.  Give me the courage and boldness that I need to remain steadfast in you.  Let me stand strong no matter what this world brings.  Let me be an encouraging voice to those around me. I choose to trust you.  You are always with me.  You will never leave me alone.  You always come through.  I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5, KJV Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Declaration:  I declare that no matter what may come my way I will trust and rest in Him.  He is always with me!

Check out this song: 4th Man

4th Man – Jonathan David Helser, Melissa Helser (Live)

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.