If you’ve been reading for a while then you may have noticed that I am a bit of a fan of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. To me, these men show the works what it means to be a man when under fire. They did not falter or waver in their faith, in fact they declared it even more clearly. The statement that stands out to me is this one, from Daniel 3:17-18: “Ifour God whom we are serving exists, he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.” In reading through Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, has built a golden statue that all are required to bow down and worship when the music plays. Nebuchadnezzar includes a punishment if anyone refuses, to be immediately cast into the fiery furnace.

When Daniel talks about a “fiery furnace,” it is referring to a kiln for firing of ceramics like bricks. These kilns were upwards of 1000° C. Because of the urgency of Nebuchadnezzar’s order to burn these three, the guards turned the fire up so high that when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were escorted to the kiln, the guards burst into flame themselves. I imagine these kilns, or furnaces, were emitting heat at near 2000° C. Yet even with the heat killing the Babylonian guards, our three Israelites stood in the flames and came to no harm, even having a fourth being join them in the fires.

There are many guesses who this fourth being was. Some scholars say that it was Michael, the Archangel, others say Gabriel, and some say that Nebuchadnezzar’s own words may tell us. He described “the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!” I wonder if it’s too much to believe the fourth figure that Nebuchadnezzar saw was the Son of God, or even the Father himself? Scripture tells us the Jesus was there in the beginning, why could he not have appeared to protect Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

Lets look back at that statement that was made by our three heroes before being cast into the fire. To sum it up into a short statement: God can save us, but if he chooses not to, we still follow him. God did save them, but the fact that the belief of these three men was fully independent of what God did or did not do is what makes this story most powerful. When faced with a choice of death or leaving God, they chose death. Would you?

Would you step into the fire…

or will you turn from God?

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

Comments
  1. Kevin says:

    Very intense thought process. I have been asked these things a number of times and then told none of us really know what we will do until it actually happens. I have turned away from God for lesser things like my own desires at one time. Looking over my life I ask would I or would I not? I will say this my confidence is I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus, because of His finished work on the cross for my sins, not what I did but what He did for me.

    • Paul S says:

      Kevin,
      I want to challenge the notion that we do not know how we will react to something. If we train ourselves to the point that our reaction to any situation is instinctual, then no matter our emotional response, our physical reaction will be the same. I saw this time and again in Iraq (and I know you did too). Men who fired without ever thinking; brought the rifle to the shoulder, sighted, and fired. This was training to react.

      When we train ourselves to stand in the face of any enemy, we give ourselves to God’s will. It is his decision how we react. With His training, our instinct is not our own, but His. Remember, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33). When we give our lives to him, he gives us our life.

      Paul

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