Intro: Humanity just loves to label things and people. We want to decide who we are, who other people are, and then hang a sign on the doorpost of our lives convinced we have the truth. But, friends, God cannot be labeled and we are made in His image or likeness. God alone knows who we are and who He created us to be. When we recognize that as Truth, we will bow and worship Him knowing there is no one with more authority.
In our passage today, king Nebuchadnezzar exalts himself to obtain human worshippers; everyone in his empire has no choice but to honor his demands. Nebuchadnezzar is a pagan worshiper who, along with his kingdom people, serves many false gods, so he just adds himself to the list of these gods. This king is so set on control and homage, he erects a nine-story gilded statue of himself, positions musicians to play, and directs everyone to bow to the statue of his likeness. As the music plays, the people of the empire are all bowed down; all except three brave men who refuse to bow to anyone but Almighty God. Can you image the picture or social pressure of this fiery trial?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will not allow another human to define them or rob their worship of the Most High God. God protects these men [perhaps through the pre-incarnate Christ] while they are in the fiery furnace; the penalty brought against them through the forces of evil. God rescues these three young men and, as a result, the king recognizes the authority of God.
We will face our own fiery trials when we refuse to worship the false gods of this world, but we never face them alone (1 Pet 4:12-13). Christ is there to protect us and deliver us from evil. Aren’t you grateful to have Jesus with you in every fiery trial you face?
Daniel 3:19-30 NLT The Blazing Furnace
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for rescuing us from evil each day; we never have to face the forces of evil or the fiery trials without you. May our sincere worship of you today bring glory to your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.