1 GOD of Israel's faithful three,
Who braved a tyrant's ire,
Nobly scorned to bow the knee,
And walked unhurt in fire;
Breathe their faith into my breast,
Arm me in this fiery hour;
Stand, O Son of man, confest
In all thy saving power!
2 Lo! on dangers, deaths, and snares
I every moment tread,
Hell without a veil appears,
And flames around my head;
Sin increases more and more,
Sin in all its strength returns,
Seven times hotter than before
The fiery furnace burns.
3 But while thou, my Lord, art nigh,
My soul disdains to fear;
Sin and Satan I defy,
Still impotently near;
Earth and hell their wars may wage;
Calm I mark their vain design,
Smile to see them idly rage
Against a child of thine.
"God of Israel's Faithful Three" is a hymn written by Charles Wesley, one of the most prolific hymn writers in Christian history. This powerful hymn is inspired by the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, found in the book of Daniel. It serves as a reminder of the unwavering faith and trust in God that these three men displayed when faced with the threat of death in the fiery furnace.
I. The Meaning of the Song:
"God of Israel's Faithful Three" captures the essence of unwavering faith and trust in God amidst trials and tribulations. The lyrics reflect the courage and determination of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow down to the idol erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. The hymn expresses the believer's desire to emulate their faith and seek God's strength and protection in the face of adversity.
The repetition of the phrase "fiery furnace" emphasizes the intensity of the challenges faced by the three men. It serves as a metaphor for the trials and temptations that Christians encounter in their lives. Despite the threats and dangers surrounding them, the hymn reminds believers to stand firm, confident in the saving power of Jesus Christ, just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did.
II. The Inspiration and Story Behind the Hymn:
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can be found in the book of Daniel, specifically in Daniel 3. During the time of Babylonian captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered everyone in his kingdom to worship a golden statue that he had created. Failure to comply would result in being thrown into a fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, faithful Jews who worshipped the one true God, refused to bow down to the idol. Their unwavering faith in God infuriated the king, who ordered them to be thrown into the blazing furnace. However, to the astonishment of all, including the king himself, the three men walked unharmed in the midst of the fire, accompanied by a fourth figure who was described as being "like a son of the gods."
This miraculous deliverance demonstrated the power and faithfulness of God. The hymn "God of Israel's Faithful Three" pays homage to their unwavering faith and serves as an encouragement for believers to stand firm in their faith, regardless of the trials they may face.
III. Bible Verses Related to the Song:
The lyrics of "God of Israel's Faithful Three" draw inspiration from various Bible verses that speak of God's faithfulness and the strength He provides in times of trouble. Here are a few key verses that align with the message of the song:
1. Daniel 3:16-18 (ESV):
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'"
These verses highlight the unwavering faith of the three men, who refused to compromise their devotion to God, even in the face of death. Their trust in God's deliverance, regardless of the outcome, is an example for believers to emulate.
2. Isaiah 43:2 (NIV):
"When you pass through the waters, 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."
This verse assures believers of God's presence and protection in the midst of trials. It echoes the experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who walked unharmed in the fiery furnace because of God's faithfulness.
3. Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV):
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
These verses emphasize the steadfastness of God as a refuge and source of strength in times of trouble. They affirm the believer's trust in God's protection and deliverance, even in the face of overwhelming challenges.
IV. Analysis of the Lyrics:
1. "GOD of Israel's faithful three, Who braved a tyrant's ire,
Nobly scorned to bow the knee, And walked unhurt in fire;
Breathe their faith into my breast, Arm me in this fiery hour;
Stand, O Son of man, confessed In all thy saving power!"
These opening lines acknowledge the faith and bravery of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who defied King Nebuchadnezzar's command to worship the golden statue. The plea for God to breathe their faith into the believer's heart reflects a desire to have unwavering faith in the midst of trials. The acknowledgment of Jesus as the Son of Man reinforces the belief in His saving power.
2. "Lo! on dangers, deaths, and snares I every moment tread,
Hell without a veil appears, And flames around my head;
Sin increases more and more, Sin in all its strength returns,
Seven times hotter than before The fiery furnace burns."
These verses express the reality of living in a fallen world, where dangers, deaths, and snares are ever-present. The reference to "Hell without a veil" symbolizes the spiritual battles believers face. The lyrics highlight the escalating strength of sin and the intensity of trials, emphasizing the need for divine intervention and protection.
3. "But while thou, my Lord, art nigh, My soul disdains to fear;
Sin and Satan I defy, Still impotently near;
Earth and hell their wars may wage; Calm I mark their vain design,
Smile to see them idly rage Against a child of thine."
These lines affirm the believer's confidence in God's presence and power, enabling them to face trials without fear. The lyrics boldly declare defiance against sin and Satan, recognizing their ultimate defeat in the face of God's sovereignty. The reference to "a child of thine" underscores the believer's identity as a child of God, secure in His love and protection.
"God of Israel's Faithful Three" by Charles Wesley is a hymn that resonates with believers who seek to emulate the unwavering faith and trust in God demonstrated by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The song reminds us that, like them, we can stand firm in our faith, even in the midst of trials and temptations. Through its powerful lyrics and biblical references, this hym