Daniel 3:24-25 | Joshua 1:9 | Deuteronomy 31:6

You need a fourth man.

The Fourth Man here is Jesus. (You knew that, right?)

But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” 

“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 

“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”

(Daniel 3:24-25 NLT)

When Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah–more commonly known by their assigned Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo–were thrown into the ultra-hot furnace King Nebuchadnezzar prepared for them, they had already mouthed off a bit about how they would not be caught dead serving other gods or worshiping any golden statues. The king liked them, apparently, because he had just offered them the chance to change their minds and not get flame broiled.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 

(Daniel 3:17-18 NLT)

It was this lip service that got the king so hot, he ordered the furnace to be heated to seven times its normal temperature. (Talk about getting under someone’s skin!) The furnace got so hot that the flames killed the soldiers who threw the three young Hebrews in.

Do you ever notice your life getting superheated, and it feels like you are being dragged toward the flames to be tossed into the blaze? Sometimes it happens because you wrote an inappropriate joke on the smartboard. Sometimes, you are just the innocent friend Lyla getting blamed for it all. Either way, that furnace is hot!

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

(Joshua 1:9 NLT)

Dear Christ Follower, God is with you. You don’t have to take your promised land by yourself. 

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” 

(Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT) 

When your situation heats up, and you’re dreading the outcome. Stop and ask God to go ahead of you. Ask for forgiveness for whatever got you into the situation, if necessary. Then face your Nebuchadnezzar. And make up your mind, like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, that even if God doesn’t save you from the flames you will never serve their gods or bow to their gold statue.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Have you had a fiery furnace experience? When has your faith in God been put to the test?
  • What do you think a Fourth Man would look like for you? Have you seen one in your life?
  • Why do you think God chooses to save his people sometimes and other times lets them fall? Do you think Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah knew they would be safe from the heat of the furnace?

Challenge: Do Not Fear

This may be the simplest challenge we have put forth thus far.

Do this:

  • Find seven instances in scripture in which God tells someone to be brave.
  • For each instance, write down the reason or alternative that comes with the exhortation.


Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 

(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Reason not fear: God is with you, he is God, and he will strengthen and support you.