Fearless in the Fire
It’s just after 2:00am and cold outside. There’s a foot of fresh powdery snow blanketing the ground. Fifteen minutes earlier, Tony was asleep in his warm, cozy bed. Now, he was kneeling in the snow next to the front door of someone’s house, donning his facemask hooked up to his SCBA. The house in front of him looked angry as it spewed thick, black smoke from the awnings and a couple of broken windows. His captain knelt next to him. They needed to go inside to see if anybody was trapped.
Shortly after entering the front door, they made it about halfway around the first room. The thick, black smoke was filling almost the entire bottom story already. That’s when Tony felt a very uncomfortable heat and saw flames dancing across the ceiling in between the thick clouds of black smoke. The top of his head, underneath his helmet and hood, started to feel like it was about to burn. His captain was feeling and seeing the same things. Without another word, they both dropped the hose, did an about-face, and crawled as fast as possible back the way they had come, following the hose outside.
Their protective equipment was quickly becoming very hot on the inside, meaning that the extreme radiant heat from the fire had nearly finished preheating their gear. They were seconds away from the entire room flashing over. A flashover occurs when nearly every surface in the room is heated to its autoignition temperature, usually around 1,000° to 1,200° Fahrenheit. Once everything in the room reaches autoignition temperature, the entire room, from floor to ceiling, suddenly ignites. Even firefighters’ protective gear could ignite in a flashover. Nobody can survive the extreme heat that a flashover produces. Tony and the captain barely escaped.
Whenever I hear of an extreme fire, I think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Daniel 3). When King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden idol ninety feet tall and nine feet wide, he wanted his nation to admire and worship it. He gathered the whole company of his officials in front of the gaudy statue. The king’s herald then commanded that when the people heard the music play, they were to immediately bow down to worship the idol. Failure to bow down would result in being tossed into the fiery furnace the king had already burning. The threat was real and right in front of everyone.
When the music started playing, all the people before the golden idol immediately bowed down and worshiped it – everyone except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were then brought before an infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar. He gave them one last chance to bow down before the golden idol when the music was played, or he would throw them into the fire. The king added this mockery: “Who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:15). The three men fearlessly replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16–18).
The king was so furious with their response that he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it already was. This furnace probably had stone walls surrounding a chamber with vented holes, a main entryway, and a vent hole out of the top. To get the fire that hot, they would’ve had to add a lot of wood and open every single vent (and maybe even add bellows) to allow the fire to have lots of oxygen. A wood-burning furnace will usually burn between 375° and 650° Fahrenheit. If that was the case here, heating it seven times hotter would put its temperature range between 2,625° and 4,550° Fahrenheit. That means that on the low end, the furnace would’ve been hot enough to melt silver and on the high end, hot enough to begin vaporizing silver. That’s two to almost four times hotter than a typical flashover!
King Nebuchadnezzar had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bound. Then he had some of his mightiest men take them up to the furnace to toss them inside. The fire was so hot that their escorts died and the three men fell into the fiery furnace. Then the king saw the impossible: there were four men instead of three, walking around inside the fire, unbound. I’m sure it was a strange sensation for the three men; standing inside an incredibly hot furnace, talking with the Angel of the Lord. At that heat, the men should’ve been turned to ash in no time at all. The king called to the men to come to him, out of the furnace. Everyone there bore witness to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking out of the fire, unscathed. They “saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” (Daniel 3:27).
King Nebuchadnezzar was so amazed at the miracle he had just witnessed that he made a new decree: “Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” (Daniel 3:29). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fearlessly showed extreme trust and faith in the One True God, despite staring down an extreme execution. They weren’t sure if God would rescue them or not, but that didn’t stop them from trusting in Him. God chose to save all three of them in a spectacular way, without a singed hair or even the smell of smoke on their clothes!
When you feel heat from pressure at work or school, when you feel heat from a close relationship tragically ending, when you feel heat from simply failing to perform simple commands from God; FEAR NOT! God will rescue you from your life’s fires. All you need to do is trust Him and have faith in Him. God has promised us that He will take all believers to live with Him in heaven forever. His one and only Son was sent to rescue us from the eternal fires of hell. Trust in and have faith in His promise.