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.
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!
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.”
verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted:
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
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!
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.
will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb
but, might we opt to leave Him?
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!
think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald
commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet
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,
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.
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.
& 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.
1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter
“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
Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God
rather than men.”
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!
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.
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
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
previous article, the three friends of Daniel had just defied the
order to bow to the golden idol of Nebuchadnezzar. It was a set up
from the beginning but King Neb did not know that.
Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.
the king had already said that whoever would not bow to the image
would be thrown into the furnace, yet he calls these men before him
to ask them personally. This would suggest that the king was keen to
give these men a second chance. We already know from the end of
chapter two that these men were in prominent governmental positions
in the province of Babylon (Dan 2:49), and no doubt the king wanted
to avoid having high ranking officials perform a public act of
defiance against him, particularly on this day when all the people
were gathered together on the plain of Dura.
spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image
which I have set up?
still didn’t “get it.” The fact that the king addresses them by
name and the manner in which he does so again suggests that up until
this time they had had a good relationship with the king. The idea in
the Aramaic is ‘did you intend to do this, was it on purpose?’
The king is hoping that it was just a misunderstanding and was not
going to be something that would spoil his special day. But as we
will see, these men had purposed in their hearts (also see Dan 1:8).
is something that comes through meditation; you have to think about
what you’re going to do if you face this circumstance or that
circumstance. And when you are prepared and the circumstance happens,
you react to that which you have meditated on. So if you meditate on
that which will not be helpful, then when you are in that potentially
compromising situation you will do that which you have meditated on”.
is precisely why we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our
minds (Rom 12:12), and to ‘think on these things’ (see
Philippians 4:8), setting our affection on the things above (Col
3:2). When we think on these things there is no room for other
distractions or actions.
if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet,
flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music,
ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye
worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a
burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out
of my hands?
king reiterates the decree and offers them a way out of this
situation… a second chance. How many of us would have had second
thoughts at this time? After all, to be given a second chance may be
God providing a way of escape. How easy it would have been to
rationalize that Idols are not real gods; surely it would have been
better to give in to king Neb’s command and ‘live to fight
another day’? Would bowing be such a bad thing if we didn’t mean
it in our hearts?
being those religious crowds in church. Often
we sing our songs in church on Sunday about being completely
abandoned, surrendering all, serving God with a whole heart etc. etc.
yet on Monday when we are asked questions by the world, how do we
answer? Do our lives demonstrate fruit ‘worthy of repentance’
(Luke 3:8)? We have all been there, backed into a corner with no
apparent way out. We start to reason to ourselves: “It’s not
really lying, the truth would do more harm than good”; “it’s
not really theft, just ‘borrowing’”; “It’s not really
wrong, it’s just… (fill in the blank)”; it’s not really
worshipping an idol to bow down and pretend…is it? Even
when quoting the Lord’s Prayer in unison,
it includes those who have no forgiveness of heart and those who have
not Jesus in thought, but themselves quoting a prayer for unsound
religious activity. “Forgive
us (me) our sin Lord just like the person sitting next to me does.”
idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths,
but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears,
but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have
hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not:
neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like
unto them; so is every one that trusts in them. O
Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield”
course we know that bowing was not an option to these three men, nor
could it be. The reputation of the God of Israel was on the line. The
king’s statue was a public act of defiance against their God and
the Chaldeans [religious Babylonian priests] were just waiting for
them to crumble. Yet these men knew the law which clearly stated:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love
me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus
day God will find a way of asking you ‘Do you trust Me?” Chuck
scripture, those who have made great professions of faith have often
had that profession tested to a breaking point. It is the heating up
and subsequent hammering of steel that gives it its strength; molded
by God’s Spirit. A true example of Christianity.
who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’
Great question O’ king! Hmmmmn?
“He who seeks finds”! (Luke
Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Aramaic word that the KJV translates as ‘careful’ is ‘chashach’
(khash-akh’) meaning to ‘have need of’. In other words they were
saying to the king ‘we have no need to answer you, we are not
accountable to you but to God’. It also implies that they were not
anxious about this situation. It also may mean they were not
defending their action; they could side-step it all. They ultimately
answer to God, not Nebuchadnezzar. Neb did not understand that.
it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the
burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O
is an incredible statement of faith that comes from a life deeply
rooted in God.
“Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth
forever. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me,
and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear:
what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help
me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is
better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is
better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”
“fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”(Matt
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
if not, be it known unto thee, O king, we will not serve thy gods,
nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
they make it clear, they will not bow down to this image or worship
any other foreign god. There is only one God for these men and they
will not compromise regardless of the cost. Remember that these men
lived before the cross and without knowing all that Jesus suffered
and endured to purchase our freedom.
amazing the lengths that some people will go to, to worship false
gods and follow false religions; all encouraged and offered up by
Satan himself and our free will. All the effort that was put into
making this statue, all the hours spent in rituals and practices that
have no eternal value. How much more should we, who know the Truth,
refuse to worship false gods, *whatever
form they come in,
and seek to serve our God with all our heart, mind, soul and
are times that a denomination may become the idol. Even to the point
of spiritualizing what the Word of God plainly states. Ministers
defend their seminary training by arguing their religious point of
view through the eyes of seminary instead of the Bible.
World War II when the British and allied forces had been pushed back
to the beaches of Dunkirk, France by the German army, being trapped
by the English Channel on one side and the approaching German’s on
the other, sent a simple three word message back home: “But
Immediately this was recognized as being a quote from the book of
Daniel and was understood to mean that the trapped British troops
would wait to be saved, but if not, they would die fighting and
standing up for their cause. This then led to the famous Dunkirk
evacuations where hundreds of military, merchant and private fishing
boats set sail across the Channel and dramatically rescued 350,000
British and allied soldiers.
been said that those in power in Britain understood, however if such
a message were to be sent today, the soldiers would likely perish.
Few know what the Bible says anymore.
October 1871, tragedy struck Chicago as fire ravaged the city. When
it was all over, 300 people were dead and 100,000 were homeless.
was one of those who tried to help the people of the city get back on
their feet. Spafford was a lawyer who had invested much of his money
into the downtown Chicago real estate and consequently had lost a
great deal to the fire. Also about this time his only son had died
leaving him with his wife and his four daughters. For two years
Spafford, who was a friend of evangelist Dwight Moody, assisted the
homeless, impoverished, and grief-stricken that had been ruined by
the fire. Eventually Spafford decided to take a family vacation to
Europe with the intention of meeting up with his friends Dwight Moody
and Ira Sankey who at that time were on one of their evangelistic
the last minute Horatio Spafford was delayed by some business so
decided to send his family on ahead; he would catch up with them on
the other side of the Atlantic. Their ship, the Ville de Havre, never
made it. Off Newfoundland, it collided with another ship, the Loch
Earn, and sank in a matter of minutes. Though Horatio’s wife, Anna,
was able to cling to a piece of floating wreckage (one of only 47
survivors among hundreds), their four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta,
Annie, and Bessie, died. Horatio received a telegram from his wife in
England informing him of this terrible tragedy; all it said were two
words: “saved alone.” Spafford boarded the next available
ship to be near his grieving wife. As his own ship passed by the area
where his daughters had died he was moved to write a song – the now
famous ‘It is well with my soul’. He met up with his wife and
they went on to meet up with Dwight Moody. “It is well,”
Spafford told him quietly. “The will of God be done.”
peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows
roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it
is well, with my soul.
Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest
assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but
nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise
the Lord, O my soul!
me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me
pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy
peace to my soul.
Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the
grave, is our goal; Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!
Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be
rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord
shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.
well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is
well, with my soul.
The book of Daniel is one of the best-loved books of the Bible; it gives us the events of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams of a great nation (statue), and is the setting for the Book of Esther – stories that many of us learned and loved at Sunday school. However the years have come and gone and we so often tend to just skip over those quaint little histories without them having any real impact on our lives. I believe that once we have completed a serious chapter by chapter, topic by topic putting all into a historical context and the study of this amazing book, we will never be the same. This book gives us real perspective, it helps us to see things the way that God sees them – the way Daniel saw them AND the way we will see them as we near total social and political correctness per global opinions but all without God.
Daniel, whose name means ‘God is my judge’, was just a teenager, perhaps about 14, when the Babylonian army, led by king Nebuchadnezzar, came and took him, his friends and about 10,000 others of the brightest and royalty of Judah away from all they knew. They were carried them away into a distant land to a culture and language they did not know. It’s hard for us to imagine the feelings and emotions of a 14 (or so) year old young teenager being taken from the security of a family, not knowing if he would ever see them again.
Although we are told that there was not a righteous man in Jerusalem at that time (Jer 5:1; Jer 8:5-6), (hence the reason for God bringing His judgment), it would seem that there were still some God-fearing mothers, for Daniel and three of his teenage friends were brought up to know and fear God and even their names were a continual reminder of the God of Israel. But would that be enough? After all, how many young people today, after seeing all that Daniel saw, and enduring all he endured, would make a stand for God in the midst of a pagan culture?
How many of our young people leave home and go to the University of ‘Babylon’, where secular humanism rules, and find their once and hope filled faith destroyed as they become ‘free’ to do what they want? The moral constraints and stability of a home family (church and/or home) become just memories? And how many of us can truly say, as we back into the world every Monday morning, that we desire purity more than worldly pleasure?
Do we really fear God and shun evil as did Job? (Job 1:8). Do we run from temptation like Joseph? (Gen 39:12). Do we find ourselves dropping the odd expletive (Col 3:8), telling a ‘funny’ course joke to our colleagues so that we will fit into the crowd (Eph 5:4), maybe telling the occasional little ‘white’ lie (Col 3:9). “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10-11). Were you in church praising God this past Sunday then blending right back into the world on Monday? (Romans 12:1) I heard of a man who went up to a Christian once and asked: “You’re a Christian aren’t you?” The Christian replied “What makes you think that” It should be obvious to all around us. Too many Christians act as secret agents, never wanting to blow their cover.
Daniel wasn’t in Babylon long before the Babylonians could tell what was the most important thing in his life. It is my earnest prayer and desire that by the time we reach the end of this study, we too can say along with Daniel that we have ‘purposed in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves’ – no matter what the cost. No this is not the Nike-Colin Kaepernick “no matter what the cost” appeal. Their purpose is just another example of a degenerating America and profiteering. What Kaepernick, a multi-million dollar man is protesting is against the very institution that allowed him opportunity to become a wealthy man with the right to protest.
Our Christian stance at “no matter the cost” is talking about eternal things, not check book balances, TV spotlight time or fifteen minutes of camera attention. It does suggest that within Mark 8:36…”to gain the whole world but lose one’s soul” there is a deep meaning most today wish to ignore or deny…perhaps never had a clue.