In the book of Daniel three young Israelite men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, had been captured by the Babylonians. Many years into their captivity, the fanatical King Nebuchadnezzar held a ceremony. To fulfill his craving to be feared and obeyed, he demanded the people bow and worship a 90-foot golden idol when special music was played. If they didn’t, death by a scorching furnace was certain.
Going against the royal edict had sealed their fate, or so the king thought. Scripture tells the rest of their story: “Then in a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. … ‘if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?'”
Little did the king realize the depth of confidence these men had in their God. They knew their fate was held by Him, not determined by the king’s whims. Listen to how they responded.
“If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king.
But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods …”
Their strong rebuttal threw cold water on the king’s burning demands. I love their resolute belief. Especially because the word rescue in this context indicates possibility, not certainty. They were assured in knowing that God possibly would … and definitely could … but He certainly might not save them.
God miraculously rescuing them from the antics of Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t their focus. Instead, they fixed their hearts on the fact God is good and wise and can be trusted, no matter the outcome. They stood against the lure to desire anything—even their lives—more than God.
God, sometimes I don’t understand Your ways. They fly in the face of my desires. Help me recognize doubt, frustration and fear as an indication that I am longing for something more than I long for You. Help me trust and love You. Amen.
Mark 12:30 – “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”