There is likely enough material in the third chapter of Daniel to write an entire book. The valued substance contained in these thirty verses could possibly produce a long running inspirational series. But I have always found one particular segment to be rather intriguing.
We all know the story of how Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, constructed an image of gold and organized its dedication ceremony. At the playing of music for this event, it was commanded that everyone bow and worship this idol.
We also know there were three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused the king's orders. As a result they would be forced to their deaths in the belly of a fiery furnace.
An immediate inquiry was made by Nebuchadnezzar to hear of this bold rebellion, firsthand. When he brought the men before him, they offered this reply:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace (Daniel 3:17a KJV)
This trio knew God could save them from the furnace, but that declaration of faith is bookended with something we could easily overlook. First they said:
If it be so.
Though Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego realized God could save them, they also considered that it might be their time to go. Essentially they were saying: If He chooses to, if it's His will
After informing the king that God was able to deliver them, they concluded by saying:
But if not (18a)
Either way, they knew God was with them. He was on their side, regardless. Come what may, they were in His hands, and they would remain true to Him to the end.
Nebuchadnezzar had a fiery furnace, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had fiery faith. So much so that they knew God was in charge, not the king. If they perished, they would do it with dignity, trusting that they would go on to truly meet their loving Father.
Whether they survived or not, perhaps they were borrowing a line from Job, and I hope we can do the same:
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him. (Job 13:15a KJV)
(This article was published in Pathway Christian Newspaper February 2012)
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