The Fourth Man.

Psalm 103:1-5

1 “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

What does the opening scripture have to do with the fiery furnace?  Everything!  Read through the story of David’s life sometime. Whether in good times or in bad, he is always praising and worshipping the Lord.  He, The Faithful and True, always delivered him!  Others who came afterward, followed his example, like the three teenagers who were thrown into the fiery furnace.
Let’s follow their story:
Golden Image.
Daniel 3 1-3
“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”
Jewish teenagers refuse to bow
In the previous chapter you recall, old Nebu had the troubling dream about the great image.  Daniel, in a dream, was given the details and interpretation of it, which he told to the king.  It had a head of fine gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs and feet of iron, and toes of iron and clay together.  He was told his dream was a picture of what would happen “In the latter days.” 
I’m sure you noticed the words in bold letters in the verse.  The number six is a reference to the antiChrist in the last days.  But only the golden head, Nebu was told, represented his kingdom. 
So what did he do in chapter 3?  He set up an image of gold from head to toe which he commanded everyone to bow down and worship whenever they heard “the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music…”  Whoever did not comply would be “cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” 
Sounds like he wanted his kingdom to last forever, doesn’t it?  
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Well, guess who in his kingdom only worships the one true God?  Yep: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, the young men in our story.  That’s why they promptly were arrested and thrown into the furnace.
The Fiery Furnace.
Daniel 3:20-25
“And he {Nebuchadnezzar} commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
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.” 
What an amazing event!  Not only were the three kids not killed, but there was a fourth individual in the furnace with with them. The young men were completely unharmed and their clothing was intact.  The only thing the fire did burn up were the ropes that bound the young men, all because the 4th “Man” showed up…..JESUS!  He sets us free from that which binds and preserves us in the midst of the fire.
The guys who tossed them in the furnace didn’t fare so well, however. The fire was so hot and the flames so high, it killed all of them! 😮
God Honors Faith.
Before they were tossed into the furnace, King Nebu asked them if it was true that they refused to bow down to his image.  He added that no god could save them from his hand.  This was their response in Daniel 3:16-18:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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.”
They confessed faith in the God of the universe, that He WILL deliver them:  Not maybe; not perhaps, but surely.  But even if He did not, they still were not going to comply.
God honors that kind of faith.  He shows up!  He NEVER fails those who believe He’s a good God and who expect Him to save, to deliver, and do good to them.
23558-image
Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
The word in this passage for furnace is, ‘at-tun,” and means “Furnace” as you would expect.  This word appears in scripture only 10 times, all in this third chapter of Daniel.
The name Daniel means “God is Judge.”  The number ten is a picture of the Ten Commandments.  This brings to mind the verse in 2 Corinthians 3:6 which tells us “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
These teenagers were not bound by the Law.  They were recipients of pure grace.
Notice that they were in the furnace free of their bonds, walking around as if there was not fire.  For them as for all believers, there is no more condemnation.  All the fiery wrath and judgments of God were completely quenched by Jesus, the Man of grace, on the cross.  There is no more judgment!
raised hands
Praise Him For He Is Good!
It is good to praise the Lord in everything, especially when going through a fiery trial.  Like them, because Jesus is ALWAYS with us, you and I will always come out unscathed, not even smelling like smoke.
Oh, yes:  PRAISE WORKS!
We are of all people most blessed. Whereas in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had to come and go because their sins could only be covered, such is not the case with you and I.  
We have THE ONE Who NEVER leaves us or forsakes us because our sins are cleansed.  Because of Jesus, the Holy Spirit can reside IN us forever.  We ALWAYS have with us The fourth Man: JESUS!

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