Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18
The profession of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of the most amazing in all of Scripture. Faced with death for not bowing before the king's gods, they felt no compulsion to defend themselves. They knew that God could save them if He chose. "But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods ...."
The furious king ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The soldiers who threw the three Hebrew men into the fire were killed by the heat. But King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed as he saw not three, but four men "walking around in the fire ... unharmed." The fourth man, Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "looks like a son of the gods" (v.25). God had sent an angel to deliver them.
For me, the deliverance, while totally amazing, is not the coolest part of this story. I am struck by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's undeterred commitment to obedience. They knew that God was more than powerful enough to save them, but they didn't know if it was His will. Whether He saved them or not, they would not bow to anyone or anything other than God. That's the life of obedience God calls us to. Is that the life of obedience that you are committed to?
Father, prepare us today for tough decisions tomorrow. Help us to obey You not only when it is in our best interest. Help us to be willing to obey even if You choose not to deliver us from the fire. In Jesus' name. Amen.