God uses the fire of tribulation to purify us
In Zechariah we are told that a third of the people will be put through the fire of tribulation to be refined and tested like silver and gold.
Zechariah 13:9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”
Here are three people who trusted in their God as they went through the fire of tribulation and they survived and came out as silver and gold which brought glory to their God.
Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were three Jewish men who would not bow down or worship the image of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, so they were thrown into a fiery furnace. They weren’t spared from the trial of going through the fire/tribulation but were protected from harm while in it, and a fourth person appeared in the fire with them whom King Nebuchadnezzar declared; “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come out, you servants of the Most High God“.
After witnessing this miraculous incident King Nebuchadnezzar appointed the three men to rule as administrators over Babylon.
When this event happened Daniel was serving and praying in the Royal Court at the time. Daniel’s name means God is my Judge. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego had been renamed by King Nebuchadnezzar but their Hebrew names meant; Hananiah – ‘God is Gracious’ – (The Father) – Mishae’el – ‘Who is like God’ – (The Son) and – Azariah – ‘God has helped’ – (The Holy Spirit our helper).
Daniel can be likened to Christ ‘our judge’ praying before our Father in Heaven for us. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego (who’s true God given names were Hananiah, Mishae’el and Azariah) each reflect the Three In One God Head. Our Gracious “Father” through his “Son” who “Helps us”.
Making our faith and witness stronger
The fire of tribulation makes our faith and witness stronger. We are not destroyed like others who do not have Christ with them to protect and shelter them. God has a wonderful promise for all of those who suffer tribulation.
1 Peter 1: 5 – 6 5 who through faith are protected by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 66:10 For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.
Job 23:10 “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold”.
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Revelation 7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me: “These in white robes,” he asked, “who are they, and where have they come from? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of “great tribulation“, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Truly we are refined and tested like silver and gold through tribulation, being purified to make our garments white so that we can ultimately serve in God’s temple in heaven forever; what a wonderful promise awaits us!
image and article © D A Cleland