Our text takes us to Babylon at the time of Judah’s captivity. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had a golden image made and demanded everyone to worship it. Anyone that did not worship the golden image would be cast into a fiery furnace. Daniel’s three friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refused to bow down and worship the image. Their response to this predicament teaches us a very important principle in establishing a right relationship with the Lord.
Daniel 3:8-18 Therefore at
that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever!
10 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;
11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; 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.
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?
15 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?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
17 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.
18 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.
The three Hebrew friends of Daniel didn’t know if God would deliver them from this situation of the fiery furnace or not. They did know that God didn’t deliver them from the armies of Babylon; that is why they were captives in a foreign land. Now what would it hurt if they feigned worship to the gold image? After all their heart would not be in it; it wouldn’t be true worship. Also, if they escaped the fire they would live to serve the Lord. That is the way the carnal mind would work. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose the path of greatest resistance; they chose the narrow path. The thinking of the natural mind would say they were foolish. They can’t serve God if they are dead.
We are all familiar with this story so we know what the end will be. However, there is one thing in particular I want us to notice here. They did not pray for deliverance! What would you have done? Would you have been praying for rain? Would your self-preservation instinct have you on your face before God praying for deliverance? Would you be deciding in your own mind what the will of God was in this situation? Even the ones who think they are very spiritual usually feel what they want is the will of God.
The thing that God is impressing upon the hearts of those who really want to walk with Him is self-denial. Self must be emptied out. We cannot serve two masters – self and God. I dare say that the majority of Christian’s prayers are centered around self, what they want God to do for them.
What is your fiery furnace? Is it finances? That consumes the prayers of many of God’s people. What does the Lord say about that? “Do not worry about what you shall eat, drink, or wear. Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things, but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 31-34).
Now let’s look at a fiery type furnace situation Moses had. Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt. They faced the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army was approaching from the rear. What was he to do? The Israelites were accusing him of taking them out in the wilderness to die and were saying they should have stayed in Egypt. Then God speaks to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15).
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to go through the fiery furnace. Moses and the children of Israel had to go through the Red Sea. God does not make the circumstances the miracle; He makes His people the miracle. When God has set a course for you – go forward! Don’t change your course when the circumstances change. Go through them! There will always be opposition when you are doing the will of God. We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God. Acts 14:22. Have you realized yet that your greatest opposition will come from within, from your own flesh nature? That self-preservation instinct is one of your greatest enemies. You will have many fiery furnaces in a real walk with God, but it is the only way you will ever learn to really trust Him.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose