Daniel 3:16-25 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury…He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
In one of the bravest moments in the Bible, three Hebrew slaves refuse to join three-hundred thousand people in bowing down to worship king Nebuchadnezzar instead of King Jesus. Angry, the counterfeit king had the men thrown a fiery furnace, likely the same smelting furnace that was used to melt down the gold for the idol they refused to worship.
Their statement that God can deliver them from fiery death, but He’s not obligated to and so if they die, they will die worshipping their God alone, is one of the most balanced views of God’s sovereignty over human suffering. From their example, we learn six things:
- We don’t worship God to get the results we want. We do worship God to find His will.
- We don’t choose suffering. We do choose God’s will.
- If your goal is comfort and ease, eventually you will deny your God.
- If your goal is to be faithful to Jesus and hear “well done good & faithful servant” then comfort or death are not your main concern.
- Someone always shows up and demands that you bow down, but don’t bend your knee until you see King Jesus.
- God will deliver you either from death or through death.
Amazingly, the only thing that burned up in the fire were the ropes of Babylon, and nothing that belonged to the people of God. Also, the unbelievers burned up, while the believers did not. This, of course, is a picture into the end of time. Jesus quotes Daniel 3:6 in Matthew 13: 41-43 saying, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Until Jesus returns, the people of God live in our own version of cultural Babylon. At some point, the heat gets turned up in our lives and we find ourselves in what 1 Peter calls a “fiery trial” where we are “tested by fire (4:12, 1:7). Just as in the days of Daniel, Jesus is still Immanuel, God with us, never to leave us, and standing with us in our fire.
What fiery trial is most recent in your life?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
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