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When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the flames in Daniel 3:24-27, he expected to see the young men roasting to death. Instead, he saw them walking around, unharmed and unbound, and a fourth man walking with them. He calls him "a son of the gods," which is an amazing insight for a pagan king.
Who was the fourth man? I believe it was the Lord Jesus Christ himself. This is an Old Testament appearance of the Son of God coming down from heaven in bodily form. He stepped across the battlements of heaven, walked down the starry staircase, walked into the blazing furnace and said to the flames, "Cool it!" And they did. That made it very comfortable for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
I am struck by the fact that the Lord Jesus appears at only one place in this chapter. Where is Jesus in Daniel 3? He is in the furnace waiting for the young men. You can do the math yourself. Outside there were three, inside there were four, and outside there were three again. Jesus never manifests himself except inside the furnace, at the very moment when he was needed the most.
What a lesson this is for all of us. So often we go through life for days and weeks without any consciousness of the Lord's presence with us. But when trouble comes, when the flames lick at our feet, when life tumbles in around us, then we discover that Jesus has been by our side the entire time. It is in the fires of life that we experience the presence of Christ most powerfully. He is always there, but he makes himself known in the fiery furnace.
Excerpted from "A Time to Disobey" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).