Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
King Neb gets as close as he can and spoke – not shouted ! ‘Hey guys, why don’t you come on out?’ All the people who had gathered on the plain of Dura are now watching something completely different than they were expecting to watch – yet this was what God had gathered them all there to see. Nebuchadnezzar thought they were gathered to worship him, but God had a different idea!
We have to wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego just delayed coming out for a little while. After all, how many times do you find yourself standing around talking to the Son of God in the midst of a furnace. There is a reality here also, that other people may look in at us in the midst of our time of tribulation and see that we are ‘not harmed’ by the flames. They may observe the peace and comfort we have in our suffering and wonder how we are able to cope. But as surely as He did with these three Godly men, God will bring us out of the furnace to glorify His name or take us home. Paul…”for me to live is Christ but to die is [my] gain.”
In verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted: ‘and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ yet now, somewhat swayed by recent events, says: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God. Slowly king Nebuchadnezzar is getting the picture, but as we will see in chapter 4, he still has some way to go! God is molding Neb into “his servant.”
But what a testimony to these young men, that because of their faith and trust in God, the most powerful ruler on the face of the earth declares that their God is the Most High God!
Only three come out of the furnace. Where’s the forth one? He stays in there waiting for you, so that you know that when you find yourself in the furnace, He will be with you.
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb 13:5)… but, might we opt to leave Him?
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. God’s deliverance is complete – not even the smell of smoke!
We think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald Chambers, commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus says: The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly. Why could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves as well as on the top of them? Neither could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus. We step right out in God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If we are recognizing our Lord, we have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are, but immediately we look at them and are overwhelmed. We cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Peter & Paul both taught that we should obey the government, yet they were both put to death in Rome for civil disobedience. In Acts 5 Peter and the Apostles openly defy the Jewish leaders and kept publicly preaching in the name of Jesus despite being warned not to. In 1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter says: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” So how are we to understand this? Quite simply, we should obey and submit ourselves to every law of man unless it contradicts the higher law of God. Peter himself confirmed this in Acts 5::29“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did just that here, and what do we find? The unbreakable and eternal law of God (Exodus 20:3-5) has caused the fallible word of the king to be changed!
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. We should note that “everyone who” included the King, but he means everyone but him. He still hasn’t quite got it! He recognized that God can interpret dreams, now he recognizes that God can deliver; but he still has not understood that God is in complete control – it is He alone that rules in the kingdoms of men. At this stage he is really impressed with the signs and wonders (like so many in the church today) but has not truly sought after the source of those things.
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
One should ask; why did Neb promote these men? Was it there deeds or was it to excuse himself from his dastardly deed of the furnace and his self-exaltations? We find soon that he himself has not relented to God’s will.