In our ‘Little BIg Church’ service tonight, Stephen Turner spoke about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3). The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had previously asked his wise men to interpret a dream he had had (without telling them the dream!) and Daniel’s interpretation had made him realise ‘your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.‘ (Dan 2:47) Nonetheless, despite promoting Daniel and his friends, Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was not yet fully changed, for he then went on to make a gold idol and order everyone to bow down to worship it.
The three Jews refused to do this and were therefore threatened with being thrown into a fiery furnace, an ordeal that no one would relish.
Despite this threat, the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was unwavering; they believed God could deliver them, but even if He did not, they were still resolute in not bowing down to a false god. Their faith was vindicated. The fire, made seven times hotter (so hot the soldiers in charge of them were killed), did not kill them and Nebuchadnezzar saw a fourth man in the fire walking with them.
This story not only highlights the need for us to stand up for our faith even in times of testing, nor the fact that our God is so powerful He can deliver us from all evil (the only thing the fire did was burn through the ropes around the three men; they themselves were not scorched or singed and didn’t even smell of smoke.) It shows us also that God knows our hearts and is able to discern what is invisible to men. Nebuchadnezzar often was dazzled by God’s power but his heart was not towards God for a long time. We need to be sure our hearts are open to God and that we stand firm, even in times of trial.