Daniel 3:1-30 – NIV
This weekend, the sermon my pastor is teaching comes from the book of Daniel. It included the story of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. I realized I had written something several months ago about that. So I decided in honor of Pastor Robert’s sermon, that today I would use that story. Here it is:
How willing are we to profess our faith and love in our heavenly Father? How willing are we to stand out in a crowd and be different? How much faith do we really have in God to protect and keep us in a serious time of need, if we only honor Him?
In this familiar story from Daniel, when Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego resisted obeying King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship the idol he had made and erected, they put all of their faith and trust in God – believing He would protect them from harm. In verse 17 when the angry king called them in and confronted and threatened them, they simply stated “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.”
How powerful that is!? Then in verse 18 they go on to say “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” In other words, even if their God did not physically save them, they would not change, because His will would be accomplished.
The king gave them an opportunity to follow his decree to worship the idol he had erected and when they refused he was furious. He then ordered the furnace heated to seven times its normal temperature and had them tightly bound by some of his strongest soldiers. The furnace was so hot that the soldiers that were ordered to throw them into the fire were themselves killed as they threw them in.
I guess dishing out this kind of punishment was a sport of sorts, because the king was apparently watching the event. Suddenly he jumped up in amazement and asked his advisers “’Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’” They told him yes and then 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.’”
The king then called them up out of the fire and verses 26b – 27 say: “So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” That is pretty phenomenal when you consider how easily you can burn yourself or have your hair singed or your clothing scorched when near a flame; and, just being downwind from even a small fire leaves a smell in your hair and on your clothing.
When we walk through trials that test our faithfulness, whether the furnace is heated up to normal or “seven times hotter than usual” (vs.19), we must learn to keep our eyes trained on Him and know that indeed, the God we serve is totally able! We can be confident that He and His angels are walking with us. Resist giving in and you can escape that fiery trial “unbound and unharmed” (vs. 25) with no smell of fire on you!
Written by Karran Martin