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Faith in the Furnace

James Montgomery Boice

Excerpt from: Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions

Daniel 3:1-30

There were three things that gave Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego the strength to stand firm in this great test of their commitment.

1. They knew that God was sovereign. …It is firm conviction of the sovereignty of God in the midst of all things contrary. These men knew that God is sovereign, and therefore it was not foolish but wise for them to entrust their lives to him in this matter.

2. They knew the Scriptures. If we are to do the right things in similar circumstances, we must know the Word of God, because only the Word of God will cut through such ambiguity. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego triumphed because their minds were filled with Scripture and because they kept coming back to Scripture as the only fully trustworthy and inerrant authority in all matters.

3. They were willing to die for their convictions. It is possible to believe in a sovereign God and know from Scripture what that sovereign God requires yet fail to do the right thing because you are unwilling to pay the price of obedience. Many fail because they will not pay the price of a loss of popularity or loneliness or ridicule or persecution or economic hardship. Only those who are willing to pay such prices make a difference.

God does go with his people in their trials. Countless believers have testified to that. So let us be confident in the promise of that presence and be strong. Let us stand for the right and do it. Let us refuse to compromise. Let us stand with unbowed heads and rigid backbones before the golden statues of our godless, materialistic culture. Let us declare that there is a God to be served and a race to be won. Let us shout that we are determined to receive God’s prize, which is far greater than this world’s tinsel toys, and that we are servants of him before whom every knee will bow.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us.”

Daniel 3:17

In his homiletical commentary on Ephesians, Harry Ironside tells about meeting an older, very godly man early in his ministry. The man Andrew Fraser, was dying of tuberculosis, and Ironside went to visit him. Fraser could barely speak above a whisper because his lungs were almost consumed by the disease. But he said, “Young man, you are trying to preach Christ are you not?”

“Yes I am,” replied Ironside.

“Well,” he said, “sit down a little, and let us talk about the Word of God.” He opened his Bible, and until his strength was gone he unfolded one passage after another, teaching truths that Ironside before that time had not appreciated or even perceived. Before long, tears were running down Ironside’s cheeks and he asked, “Where did you get these things? Can you tell me where I can find a book that will open them up to me? Did you get them in a seminary or college?”

Fraser replied, “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could of learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.”

Excerpt from “Living by the Book: The Joy of Loving and Trusting God’s Word”

A study of Psalm 119

James Montegomery Boice

As Barnhouse spoke of the cross he said, “Imagine that the cross is a door or that it has a door in it. All you are asked to do is to go through. On one side, the side facing you, there is an invitation; ‘Whoever will may come.’ You stand there with your sin upon you and wonder if you should enter or not. Finally you do, and as you do the burden of your sin drops away. You are safe and free. Joyfully you then turn around and see written on the backside of the cross, through which you have just now entered, the words: ‘Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.'”

Barnhouse invited those who were listening to enter.

The woman later said that it was the first time in her life she had really understood what  it meant to be a Christian and that, in understanding it, she had believed. She believed right there–in that church at that moment. She entered the door. Moreover, her life then bore witness to the fact that a  great change had occurred  and that she was God’s child. I am certain of the facts of my story because that woman is my mother.

Jesus said, “Whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). That includes you, and it refers to something that can take place now. If you have not yet trusted Jesus, you can trust Him now. Today is the day of salvation.


James Montgomery Boice

The Parables of Jesus

“Reading the Bible throws light on life, on all its problems and trials, on the confusing behavior of other people, on what is important and what is not, on right behavior, right goals, and right priorities. If you have not found this to be true, it is because of one of two things. Either you are not really studying the Bible or you are approaching it in a superior or vain frame of  mind,  judging it by your own limited views rather than allowing it to judge you. You need to allow the Bible to instruct you.”

“Martin Luther pointed out that the Word gives understanding “to the simple,” which is what the verse says. He argued that the wisdom of the Bible is hidden from those who are wise in their own eyes but that it is disclosed to those who are “ready, prepared, eager always to be taught, judged, and to hear, rather than to teach, judge and be heard.”‘

Psalm 119:129-130

“Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

This next excerpt speaks of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who were returning home after the crucifixion, when Jesus joined them and began to teach them.

“This is how we grow in knowledge of God’s truth. First there is the opening of God’s Word, then the opening of the eyes to see Jesus, and finally the opening of the mind or understanding. Notice that here, as in each of the other points to be considered, the end result is not understanding alone, but obedience to what is understood.”

Quotes are from James Montgomery Boice on Psalm 119.

June 2023



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