In Daniel 2 we read how God not only revealed King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel but how He also gave him the interpretation. The king promoted Daniel to be the second most powerful person in the Babylonian Empire. At Daniel’s request, he also promoted Daniel’s friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
In Daniel 3, the king seemingly forgot about Daniel’s God and he made a statue 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide; and it was overlaid with pure gold. When it was done, he invited everybody of any importance to come for its dedication.
The instructions were, that at the sound of the musical instruments, everyone was to fall down and worship the image. That seems clear enough. One additional piece of information — in the king’s mind, that image was himself. He was asking people to fall down and worship him.
Note: Anyone who didn’t fall down would be thrown into the furnace. So, the ceremony took place and there is everyone on there faces bowing down or, but wait — not everyone … there were three guys standing – on top of that they were Jews, and on top of that, they were leaders in the king’s kingdom.
It didn’t take long before they were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar. I think he must have liked them because if it was anybody else, they would have gone into the furnace right away. He decided to give these three men a second chance. Maybe they weren’t clear on the instructions. So, he told them again what was expected. At this point, the men not only stood up but they also spoke up. (I believe respectfully). They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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, and He will deliver us from your hand, O King. But if not, let it be known to you, o King, that we do not serve your god, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up!” Three men were not defiant. They were confident and courageous.
The king lost his cool and demanded the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual, Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hands and feet, were thrown into the raging inferno.
Note: The men who tossed them in perished because the heat was so intense. Moments later, the king gasped, “I thought we threw three men into the furnace, but I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25)
I don’t believe the fourth was “like” the Son of God. I am convinced it was the Son of God. Several times in the Old Testament we have situations like this when the Son of God shows up, we call such an appearance a theophany – which is God personally manifested in certain circumstances.
Needless to say, the king called for the three men to come out of the furnace and they were totally unharmed. Just the cords with which they were bound had been consumed.
Obviously, the king was impressed and he blessed this God and promised that anyone who said anything against their God would be utterly destroyed.
All of us face many challenges — health, economic, political, marriage and family, moral and immoral, injustice, plus the relentless attacks by the devil and those who work with him.
I thank God for all of you who are a part of Ventura Jubilee Fellowship. To my knowledge, none of you have come down with the virus. Some of you have been hit hard in other ways. But you are resilient. You are radiant. You are reaching out to others with the good news, about Jesus and a church, where they will be loved. I see you like these three young Jewish friends – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego … “We will not bow down no matter what challenges we face – because you/us know that God is right here with us. I close with what Isaiah wrote: 43:1-3
1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name;
You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
God bless you,