A few years ago on my regular route to and from home, I captured this photo. This was way before a blog was on my mind and before I knew what a blog was. Trees bent over due to the heaviness of the ice spoke to me. I knew that I would share it one day in some mode of ministry.
Just days before, these trees were standing upright. But the atmospheric pressure changed, rain began, and the temperature dropped to below thirty two degrees resulting in freezing rain that coated the trees. The weight from the ice caused the trees to bend. Some of the surrounding trees snapped from the load of the ice. After the weather warmed and the ice melted, these trees bounced back up some faster than others. I am amazed that even trees know how to worship.
They Did Not Bow, They Did Not Bend, and They Did Not Burn
This reminds me of the three Hebrews in the third chapter of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And this is how the story is told.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, made a golden image for all the people to worship. They were commanded that at the sound of the music, to bow down and worship the image. The consequence of disobedience was to be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. So, the music played and the people fell down and worshipped. All but the three Hebrews. Certain Chaldeans, the haters, rose up. Haters have always been around. They reported to the king that the three did not serve his gods or worship the gold image. The king had a melt down and called for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He questioned their loyalty and threatened that if they did not bow, into the furnace they would go. Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? said the king. They immediately responded that they did not have to think about it, God was able to deliver them from the fire and the king, and they would not serve his gods or worship the image. About to bust a gasket, the king was so angry that his countenance changed and he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter. The fire was so hot that it consumed the men that threw them in. But not the Hebrews, they fell bound into the furnace. The king looked and was surprised that not only were they walking in the fire, they were joined by a fourth man, looking like the Son of God. My, my, my. Time for a praise break… Hallelujah, praise God. He called them out of the fire, and all saw that they were unhurt, not a hair singed, nor did they smell like smoke. The king, proclaimed blessings to God, promised death to anyone that spoke against God and promoted the people of God, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
What is the life application and implication of this story? All of us, especially believers, are faced with challenges daily. We have an enemy, satan, who is always seeking to kill, steal, and destroy. He does not want you to bow down and worship God but he wants you to bow and worship him. Therefore, he uses tricks, deceptions, fiery situations and cowardly people to turn up the heat. Do not be discouraged when the atmospheric conditions change, when people around you snap under the same pressures. Be encouraged, get into position, and bow down under submission to God and worship. Be confident that your victory is eminent and your recovery swift. You are not in the fire alone. The God you serve, the Holy One, the Lord God strong and mighty, the Lord God, mighty in battle, will do one of two things. He will get you out of the furnace or get in the furnace with you. He will work it out for your good and His Glory. And when it is all said and done and the smoke settles, God will be magnified, you will be edified, and satan will be terrified. You walk out unhurt, not a hair singed, and no smell of smoke. You will not look like what you have been through.
Harriet Noel Jones