As I continue through the book of Daniel, I have a feeling I will be taking it into the month of October as well. There are 12 chapters and today we are going into chapter 3. Let’s begin.
The Fiery Furnace
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
-Daniel 3:1-18 NKJV
Inside my John Maxwell Leadership Bible was this thought:
Every leader will at some point reach a crossroads of faith, when he or she has to take a stand—even at the risk of great personal loss. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced such a moment. They were given one simple choice: bow or die. There would be no bargaining, no compromise, no “meeting halfway.” Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to bow to his idol, or be reduced to ashes. They chose the furnace. How could they resist such peer pressure in deadly threats? Their speech gives us several clues:
1. “The God we serve is a key to deliver us” (v. 17). They believed in the omnipotence of God, that nothing was too hard for Him.
2. “He will deliver us” (v. 17). They believed in the love of God the acts on behalf of the beloved.
3. “Even if….not” (v. 18). They believed in the sovereignty of God, that He acts on the basis of His own pleasure and will.
4. “The acid we serve…” (v. 17). They not only believed certain things, they acted on them and had done so all of their lives.
The Great Miracle
Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
-Daniel 3:19-30 NKJV
Let’s look at another footnote in my Bible:
While King Nebuchadnezzar provides a great example of a leader with seriously misplaced passion, he provides an even better example of what happens when a man comes face-to-face with the majesty of the living God. Nebuchadnezzar, full of pride, created a 90-foot-high golden “god” whom all of his subjects were ordered to worship. It must have been a magnificent sight, gleaming brightly and all alone in the glare of the hot Mesopotamian sun.
But it was just a statue.
Nebuchadnezzar, a leader of great passion, threaten to kill anyone who disobeyed his orders. When three of God’s servants refused to bow down, the king flew into a rage and ordered them burned alive. On that day, the king saw up close the infinite difference between the God of Israel and the idol he had set up. Before the king’s bedazzled eyes, God performed a great miracle that left Nebuchadnezzar and the other witnesses gaping an awe.
The king would never be the same. He turned from his idol to the God whose people he had once persecuted. He praised the Lord and demanded that his subjects worship Him alone.
Godly leaders should ask the Lord to show them regular glimpses of His power and glory. When He does, it becomes much easier to direct our passion towards serving the one true God.
It never hit me before that Daniel was not one of them in the fire. 🤔 I have to believe he was praying in the midst of this whole ordeal, or maybe he was even in the room when all of this happen. This gets me curious…only the Holy Spirit can impart to our hearts the truth of those moments. I believe if you wait on the Lord, He will reveal secrets about the significance of those days.
Not only were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego willing to die, they spoke out in faith that their God would rescue them. And, by golly, He did!! Not only did it bring repentance to the heart of the King, it also promoted the men again.
When we feel our faith will be rejected, a lot of times we compromise to keep connection, thinking we know better. A miracle was in the making, but could only be released if these men held on to their conviction. Death was on the way. Again, this takes me to the New Testament, when Jesus’s death seemed like it was the end. They didn’t know three days later He would rise again, with no sign or smell of death on Him. Amen and Amen.
What kind of power has to be within a man that not even death could hold him down?
I will leave you with that question here today!!
I don’t know what you may be going through. I don’t know the restless nights and the hopeless fights you may be facing. But God does! This story is a great reminder of how hopelessness, when yielded to faith, can turn hopeful in a moment. For, hope is our anchor. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus. These men were grounded in their convictions which grew their faith. Men or women of great faith seem to experience great miracles. This is not an old story, but a present-day story, for I know some of you who have experienced great miracles here today. We as a local community have prayed and pleaded to our God in some hopeless situations, and sometimes His loving kindness extended a life. We can’t fully understand the days and times of a life, so let’s leave that job fully to the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Well, this topic got a little heavy here at the end, so I hope this song lifts you back up and you walk away with a grin. 😃
“Another in the Fire” by Hillsong United:
Until next time,
Connect the Mender
Be a Sender