I don’t normally think of fire as protection but as something to be feared. I’m sure Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego felt the same way as they faced their fate of being ordered thrown into King Nebuchadnezzar’s fire-filled furnace because of their refusal to bow down and worship the image of gold set up by the king. They refused because they knew that only the one true living Creator God Most High was worthy of their worship. They refused even though they knew their refusal meant their certain death.
They were obeying God’s instructions to, “have no other gods before Me. do not make for yourself an idol . . . do not bow down to them or worship them . . . ” (Exodus 20:3-5)
But the God who is Himself a consuming fire was with them in the fire of the king’s furnace. His very Presence with them was their protection. They did not narrowly escape, though burned and disfigured. Rather they triumphed, emerging unscathed, not even the smell of smoke clinging to them, nor was any hair of their heads singed.
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24) This is definitely a case of fighting fire with fire! That’s what God does on our behalf and He wins every time.
“When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” (Isaiah 43:2-3)
“So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, . . . They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:26-27)
Moses met God in the fire of a burning bush. The Israelites also experienced God’s Presence with them as fire. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” (Exodus 13:21-22)
Fire can cook our food, heat our homes and provide us light in the darkness. God’s holy fire provides us His protection and His purification. He is a holy God. He wants to make us holy as well.
“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep My decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” (Leviticus 20:7-8)
Yes, you read that right. It is my Heavenly Father who makes me holy, I am not able to make myself holy. He does that work for me and in me. He is the potter and I am the clay.
“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
Indeed, in Genesis 2:7 I am told that God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, much like the potter forms the clay to his purposes. And as any potter knows, what comes next is the fire. The clay is put into the fire or kiln to bake after being fashioned to the design and by the desire of the potter for what his creation is to become. The fire is a necessary step in the process – it cannot be left out.
The fire is essential to the potter’s process in bringing to completion what he began in his creation when he first formed it and in God’s case, when He first breathed the breath of life into it.
Peter understood the necessity of fire. “These (trials) have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)
God is a holy, refining fire. He says in Isaiah 48:10, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
Job said of God’s fire, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
Psalm 66:10-12 confirms also the necessity and power of God’s refining fire. “For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. . . . we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”
God’s refining fire burns away the perishable and leaves behind the imperishable. God uses the heat of His fire to make me more malleable, so He can continue to mold me and fashion me after what He knows I will one day become.
I have nothing to fear from the fire. He is with Me in the fires of my life, fighting them with fire – His fire – because He, Himself is an all consuming, powerful, purifying, protecting, providing ring of fire around me. How do I know this? I have His word on it!
” ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I Myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’ ” (Zechariah 2:4-5)
God doesn’t say He will put a wall of fire around His chosen children, He says He will be that fire, which makes sense because God is a consuming fire. He also says He will be the glory within or in her midst. God is also the purifying, protecting fire that dwells within.
His Presence encircles or encamps around me and He abides within me. His Presence protects me from without and empowers and purifies me from within. I love picturing my Heavenly Father as a protective ring of fire around me. His fire keeps me safe while He accomplishes His purposes in my life.
God is the only one, “who is able to keep me from falling and to present me before His glorious Presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24)
sincerely, Grace Day