Sometimes, it’s difficult to hold on to our values when it differs so much from the world’s. But who could blame? After all, we are only but temporary residents in this world. I was reading the Book of Jeremiah last Thursday when I felt a sudden impression to flip to the Book of Daniel. I was once again inspired by the courage of Daniel to stand firm on his beliefs in Jehovah God and that God would not fail him. And just like what Pastor Phil said, how he turned things around for the Jews when he held on to his faith in God. I was also deeply moved by the story of the Fourth Men (Jesus Christ) when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego was cast into the burning fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship other gods. (Daniel 3:8-30)
The fire was so strong that the king’s best soldiers were killed by the fire while going near it. It must had been so excruciatingly hot. When everything seemed bleak, the Fourth Men appeared and was with them in the heat of it all. In fact, the Fourth Men was possibly already there as they were drawing near to the furnace, for none of their clothes nor their hair was harmed by the fiery flames. The Fourth Men was Jesus. I thought about this and am reminded how in our situations and crisis, when there seems to be no way, God will make a way. And He has already done so even before the trial has taken place. I am reminded of the goodness of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose mercy and goodness will never fail [me].
Perhaps you are like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, casted into a burning fiery furnace-of-a-trial and everything seems hopeless. You need a Fourth Men. Fret not, God is right there with you in the heat, and His hands are not short that He cannot save [you]. Jesus is your Fourth Men when everything seems hopeless.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:22
And as encouraged by Derrick, a fellow ministry member, I decided to come out with an entry on the idea and inspiration behind the painting.
First, I applied the principle layer on the canvas. Painting a color over the canvas more than I intended is fine as I can simply use the next color to overlap it. It will be more disastrous to not cover enough area and having to damage-control later on.
Next, using a paint brush I pulled the yellow up into the flesh tint in a swing-up motion to emulate the movement of the flames. I added a few drops of yellow with those small paint brushes to make it more realistic. The flames should not be uniformed as a real flame is never uniformed, right?
In the next motion, I threw a dash of mixed burnt sienna and white paint as the base layer for the bottom part of the canvas. Adding contrast, I added the burnt sienna onto the canvas to give the fire some ‘depth’.
Following that, I thought about what was going on in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego’s mind during the trial. From there, I moved on to think about what were they thinking? Were they full of faith? Were they scared? Were they dancing? Could they see the Fourth Men?
The painting was completed, I pictured the Fourth Men Jesus to be in a robe of white just like the angel in my previous Abram painting. I imagined their locks of hair to be shining white (from God’s glory). One was lifting his hands in worship. One was moving towards the Fourth Men. One opened his arms to embrace Him. Yet I wasn’t satisfied by the color of the three men’s robes. I then played around with the leftover paint, mixing the colors here and there, and putting them on their robes.
Now you can be a painter too. (Note that I have no prior experience and proper training in painting) If you have a revelation, why not paint it out? Immortalize it, help yourself to remember it. A picture speaks a thousand words.
P.S. I hope this painting and/or the inspiration behind it has encouraged you. 🙂