Daniel 3:19-30 | Part Two - The God Who Delivers
From where we left off last week, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego (‘the three’) have disobeyed king Nebuchadnezzar by refusing to kneel before the statue made of gold, and are now going to be tossed into a fiery furnace. The imagery of the king demanding that the three bow before the idol is a strong representation of how the world we live in demands our submission. Where the world makes all kinds of promises that eventually fall short and lead to enslavement, God makes promises that lead to eternal life and freedom.
Because, as we addressed in part one, king Nebuchadnezzar forced the people to bow that they may live; a forced obedience is enslavement and does not lead to freedom, which in turn is not the true life we are called to. God, on the other hand, freely offers us salvation and a better way, so that in choosing to obey Him we would have true life, and life abundantly. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego demonstrate that it is possible to resist the world and choose a better way, despite being in a situation that seems to offer everything but life.
1) Daniel 3:19-23 | Believing God is who He says He is
In verses 19 through 23, the Scripture illustrates king Nebuchadnezzar commanding the furnace to be fired up and tossing the three into it. The first observation I want to make is regarding the display of intimidation that King Nebuchadnezzar makes:
“Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.” (Daniel 3:19-20).
The furnace at its regular temperature probably would have incinerated any human that stepped into it; the seven-fold increase in temperature made by Nebuchadnezzar seems unnecessary (the fact it’s increased seven times is interesting… 7 can be interpreted as a holy number--more