I have seen people walk on coals, swallow fire, spark fire with their bare hands. But have u ever seen anyone walk in a blazing furnace and come out alive, not a hair singed and not even any smell of smoke on them? It happened in the Old testament (Read Daniel 3). What happened before the great event? What did these 3 men do and say that led them to experience the great miracle in their lives?
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
The story of the 3 friends of Daniel walking in a fiery furnace is a familiar bible story and one of my faves when i was a child. As I read it again, what struck me most is their utmost loyalty to God. The 3 short verses record their faith in the God they serve and their passionate defence of their faith no matter the consequence.
Faith that needs no explanation: v. 16 We do not need to defend ourselves as to why we do not want to bow down before the statue u set up. The background of the story was that King Nebudchadnezzar wanted everyone to worship his statue as if he was god. Anyone who did not will be thrown into the furnace of fire. The 3 friends were firm in their decision – they did not feel the need to explain why they were unwilling to obey the king’s edict. It is like saying: “We worship only one God – ours.” (period)
Application: Do we not feel the need to explain ourselves or defend ourselves for our Christian acts? We often feel the need to justify why we do certain things as if to assure ourselves or others that we are doing the right thing. These 3 loyal followers of God had no such need. They were sure of the God they believed in – that their God is the only One True God.
Faith that doubts no miracle: v.17 The God we serve is able and will deliver us from the blazing fire. Their faith in God was so strong, they were sure God is able to rescue those who serve Him. They believe God has the power to do the impossible. They believe God protects those who serve Him.
Application: While we know God is powerful and God is love, it is not easy to hold on to these two truths firmly at all times. Theodicy – the issue of how come a good, powerful and loving God would allow evil things to happen is a reality we see everyday. This leads us to the 3rd important aspect of faith:
Faith that accepts God as He is; that He is sovereign: v.18 But even if he does not, we want you to know we will not worship any other god, other than ours. This is a strong statement of faith and loyalty. Even if we have to die, we will still be loyal to our God because God alone has the choice to give life or death to anyone.
Application: Sovereignty is an attribute of God which Christians talk much about. It means God has the right to do as He pleases. However, It is not about being fatalistic – like complacently accepting whatever God decides for us. It is neither being a puppet to God’s manipulation.
It is a choice we make to believe that God knows what He is doing. Today, let me ask myself, what is my response ‘even if God does not…’ Even if God does not grant my prayers… even if God does not heal my sick child… even if I do not get the job I need… even if God does not… how do I feel? what do I do? Would I be able to say – no matter what happens, I believe God and Him only will I worship?
Dear Lord, thank you that you are my loving Father who holds the world in your kind, wise and strong hands. Enable me to trust and obey you fully no matter the circumstance of life. Empower me to love you with my heart, soul and mind because You alone are worthy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.