Read: Daniel 3
If I were to look back through the years of Vacation Bible Schools and many other events that honor heroes of the Bible, I’m sure I’d find this story told over and over countless times. It’s a fascinating narrative that depicts a self-absorbed king that is awed by a miraculous intervention. You probably know the story. Here are some highlights to remind you of a few details:
Nebuchadnezzar had an enormous statue (perhaps 90-feet tall) created to glorify himself
Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Daniel 3:6
Some of the advisors, the astrologers in particular, wanted to put down those who intimated them:
But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:12
How did Nebuchadnezzar forget so quickly? I have no idea, but he was incited by the news, ordered the furnace fired up hotter than usual, bound Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and had them tossed in the fiery furnace.
He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” Daniel 3:25-26
Once again, Nebuchadnezzar is impressed by God:
Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” Daniel 3:29
The Key Response
Here’s the part that I think is most significant. When Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he asked them to explain their refusal to obey his command. Their response is more amazing than the miracle God performed:
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
But even if he does not…
God can save us from the storms of life, and He probably does more often than we think, but it seems that most of the time our faith grows when we watch God save us in trial, not from crazy events. This is easy to type as I sit in my comfortable chair this morning, much more difficult to embrace during trials and temptations.
Lord, I simply ask that you help us to have the faith of our ancestors who put their faith on the line hundreds of years before Christ. If they were so willing, we have no valid excuse!