“Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? … Lo I see four men loose, walking … the fourth is like the Son of God” Dan. 3:24, 25
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is familiar to every Sunday school child. Who cannot marvel at the courage and conviction of the three Hebrew boys who refused to bend and blend in with everyone, falling down to worship the image? Their resolute faith in God has been an encouragement and example to generations of tried believers ever since. They not only did not fear before the king, but they were willing to stand out even from their fellow countrymen.
The words they spoke to the king are a testimony to both their scriptural intelligence and spirituality: “Our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us … but if not … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image” (Dan 3:17, 18).
As a result of their stand for God, they were cast alive into the burning fiery furnace. To the astonishment of the king and his entourage of onlookers, what they saw were four men walking freely amidst the fire.
The fourth Man is always there in the trial! There are times when He delivers from the trial and the believers do not know the furnace experience. But even if He does not, then He is always with us in the furnace of trial. As a result of being in the furnace, they knew His presence: He was with them, walking together. They knew His protection: the fire did not consume them. And they knew His power as there was not even the smell of smoke on them. The fire that slew the men who cast them into the furnace had no effect on them at all.
We are in a time of trial, perhaps the worst societal trial which many have experienced in a lifetime. We have no promise in the Word of God as to when this will end or what we can expect. We do have the promise of His presence. For the believer, while we look for deliverance from it, we have His presence with us in the trial. I doubt if the three Hebrew young men would have traded the trial for anything Babylon could possibly offer.
Just as there was a fourth day in the experience of Mary and Martha, so there was a fourth person in the experience of three young men. Never forget the fourth man in any trial which comes into our lives.