4Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”7Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
9Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24Then 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, Your Majesty.”
25He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26….So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. 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.
In 1741 George Frederic Handel composed one of the greatest oratorios ever written. It was first performed in Dublin in 1742, and had a London premiere about a year later. It has been performed since then around the world by every symphony orchestra in the world.
Handel wrote the music, but the lyrics (called the libretto) came from 42 scriptures from 14 books in the Bible, both Old and New Testament, written by his friend Charles Jennens.
In a time of rising secularism and humanism in England, Jennens was a member of the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel” and a passionate evangelical believer. He believed that putting the gospel to music would communicate its truth, not just intellectually, but at a deep heart level.
When Handel wrote the Hallelujah Chorus (the most famous piece) his assistant found him in tears.: “I think I did see heaven open, and the very face of God.” After three intense weeks where he barely ate or slept, Messiah was finished.
One song is “But who may abide the day of His coming?”
1….the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,
2But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire…
3And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3
The goldsmith will tell you when gold is smelted, the impurities rise to the top where they can be skimmed away. When the goldsmith can see his own reflection in the gold, he knows it’s pure.
That’s what the Furnace of Life does when we ask God into our life. It doesn’t necessarily cool off, stop burning, stop smoking, or go out, but He uses it to purify us, to make us more like His Son Jesus. As the refiner looks for his own reflection in precious metal, so does God look to see if He can see His Son in us.