Monday, February 16, 2009

In his book Fireproof Your Life, Michael Catt uses the sequoia tree as a metaphor for a fireproof life. The sequoia stands as a giant in the forest. Over hundreds of years these hearty trees develop many layers of bark that fortify them against the elements of nature. The bark is two feet thick around the tree. The tree’s branches reach eight to ten feet, and its deep roots keep it strong enough to weather fires and snowstorms. But after a fire, the sequoia might smolder for six to twelve months from the “pain” that pierced the bark.

Catt remembers something Dr. Jerry Vines said in a sermon about the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3 who stood firm in their faith against Nebuchadnezzar. Vines said “They wouldn’t bow. They wouldn’t bend. They wouldn’t burn.”

In this story King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden statue and commanded all the people to bow down and worship it. Anyone who didn’t obey would be thrown into the fiery furnace. Three children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, loved God and were dedicated to worshipping only him. When they wouldn’t bow down to the golden statue, the king had them thrown into the furnace. An unusual thing happened though. The Lord appeared with them and protected them. The only thing burned was the cords that had been tied around them Astonished, the king blessed their God and said no one could speak against the God of the Hebrew children.

These children were fireproof. They didn’t bow to the culture around them. They didn’t bend their beliefs to be politically correct. They didn’t burn when challenged by the fires around them. They kept their faith and God remained faithful to them.

God has promised to be with us when we face the fires.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the water,I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… Isaiah 43:1-3

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we too can withstand the “fires” that come into our lives. We must be strong like the sequoias and surround ourselves with the “bark” of prayer, Bible study, Christian friends, and worship. We must stand firm like the Hebrew children and vow not to bow or bend or burn when we face trials. Then we can be fireproof too!


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