Do you ever feel like you have been abandoned by God? That He isn’t listening when you pray? That He doesn’t care about what you are going through? Wouldn’t you love to have God show up in your life when you experience problems?
We live in an increasingly godless society, bombarded with sinful beliefs and practices. The biblical account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace took place in a pagan land. The main characters were Jews of the royal family and nobles, who had been taken captive as teenagers in the city of Jerusalem.
They had been trained in the literature and language of the Chaldeans for three years. Then, at Daniel’s suggestion, they had been appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon. This created a great deal of jealousy among the Chaldeans, who then reported to Nebuchadnezzar their refusal to bow down to the king’s newly created golden image.
Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up (Daniel 3:7).
Everyone bowed down and worshipped the idol—except the three young Jewish men. Nebuchadnezzar then asked them, “’Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?’’ (v. 14).
Yes, it was true. These three young men, along with Daniel, stayed faithful to the God of Israel, even in a pagan land. Even under threat of death. They disobeyed the king’s decree to worship the golden idol. Now their lives were a stake. But did not fear death. They obeyed God’s command.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God . . . (Exo. 20:4–5).
They put their trust in the Lord God of Israel.
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).
“When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isa 43:2).
Nebuchadnezzar asked, “’What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” (v. 15). The answer was—our God, the God of Israel.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18).
What incredible faith! They were willing to risk their lives to avoid worshipping the king’s golden idol. This is so much greater than the problems we face in our lives. Are we willing to trust the Lord in any and every circumstance—believing that He will deliver us?
The valiant warriors who threw them into the furnace were instantly slain by the fire. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell into the furnace unharmed. The king then was shocked to see four men walking around in the furnace. He described one as “a son of the gods.”
In the Old Testament, a theophany, or appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ, is often described as a visit from the “angel of the Lord.” It is likely that Jesus Christ personally showed up that day—rescuing these young Jewish men from death.
Then Nebuchadnezzar called for them, “‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!’” Not only were they alive, but their hair and clothes were untouched by the fire. They didn’t even smell like smoke.
The contrast between a dead, impotent idol and the power of the living God of Israel must have amazed everyone.
Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see (Psalm 115:4–5).
We can’t help but wonder how many Chaldeans became believers in the true God that day. God’s purpose is always greater than our problems. The way we respond to testing in our lives will impact us as well as those around us.
It is important to remember that God’s love and faithfulness are the motivation for His working in our lives. Remember to thank Him!
It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night, (Psalm 92:1–2).