Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:24-25
Daniel’s friends have been thrown into a blazing furnace in order to punish them and kill them for not obeying the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar but remaining faithful to the One True and Living God. We meet fire many times throughout the Bible; some being – Moses and the burning bush, the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel and the tongues of fire that came down at Pentecost.
Fire is a significant thing for all humans – scientifically it is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light and various reaction products. Fire can destroy, fire can cleanse, fire can bring about renewal, fire can warm when it is cold, fire has some many uses.
In December19/January20 we witnessed the destructive side of fire as it tore through the National Parks in Australia and on into surrounding townships, this was an example of what happens when fire is not controlled or used for good. The passage above shows how God can take something that is meant to be destructive and turn it to bring about HIs purposes – Nebuchadnezzar was using the furnace for destructive purposes however God used it to begin the process of revealing Himself to him.
Having been physically tested in the flames of the bushfires we now find our spiritually tested with a virus that seems to want to snuff out whatever flame of the Holy Spirit there is left in Australia. However as we draw to the end of Lent (we are now in Holy Week) let us learn from two of the desert fathers.
Abba Lot (a simple Coptic monk) went to see Abba Joseph ( a monk in Panephysis in the Egyptian desert), and said to him, “Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate. I live in peace and as far as I can I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands to heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him “If you will, you can become all flame”.
At this time we don’t need to hide our lamp under a bushel (a basket) we need to pray, meditate, read and and be prepared to light a fire across this country with the flame of the Holy Spirit.
Rev Steve Neuhaus
Eagles Rest Ministries