Who is That God
That Shall Deliver You?
Chapter three of Daniel gives us a wonderful and familiar record of three people who refused to bow down to an idol, even when commanded to by the ruler of the nation. These three young men of Judah were captured and forced to live in Babylon amidst idolaters away from their family, friends and fellowship. They must have taken God's Word and hidden it in their hearts. They must have taken God at His Word and been listening to Him in order to survive.
:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold,
whose height was threescore cubits,
and the breadth thereof six cubits:
he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
The size of a cubit is estimated to be 21 - 25 inches, or 53 - 63.5 centimeters. The golden image that Nebuchadnezzar set up was at least 105 feet (32 meters) high and 10.5 feet (3.18 meters) wide. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image, and they all came. They were told that when they heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, they were to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up. If they didn't obey the king's commandment they would be thrown into the middle of the burning fiery furnace (vs. 2-6).
This is trouble for the Judeans that have been captured. Namely Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were not going to fall down and worship this idol like all the rest of Babylonia. They were to have no other gods before God. This was just the excuse that certain Chaldeans needed to get these three 'foreigners' removed from their prominent offices. They went to the king and told Nebuchadnezzar that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was not obeying the king's commandments.
:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar
in his rage and fury
commanded to bring Shadrach,
Then they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar must have been persuaded that his own god is more powerful than the God that Daniel worshipped. Which, in reality, happens all of the time. There are times when I think I can do things all by myself without God. It always goes better with God when you take a second or two and go to God.
:14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them,
Is it true, O Shadrach,
do not ye serve my gods,
nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
:15 Now if ye be ready
that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet,
and all kinds of musick,
ye fall down and worship the image which I have made;
well: but if ye worship not,
ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace;
and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
and Abednego, answered and said to the king,
O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
:17 If it be so,
our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace,
and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
:18 But if not,
be it known unto thee, O king,
that we will not serve thy gods,
nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not going to disobey God's Word. God says He will take care of us. He says He will prosper us. He says we can be more than conquerors. Take Him at His Word. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. Nebuchadnezzar's statement of "who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" is a direct attack on the Word and on what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed. Did they falter? Did they hum and haw? No! They answered right back "If it be [and it is] our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. . ." Even if He didn't deliver them they were not going to bow down to that golden image.
Stop and think for a moment. Think about their predicament; empathize. You stand before this great king and tell him no. Especially since a burning fiery furnace awaits your decision. Since I have never been in this position I am sure that I cannot truly empathize with them. However, I am confronted with decisions frequently that require me to line them up with the Word of God. Not all of our situations will be so dramatic as this but every decision we make should be evaluated against the Word of God. Once we start compromising on the Word of God it becomes a snare. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the Word of God otherwise they would not have been so confident that God would deliver them. We need to know what God's will and promises are for us also.
:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury,
and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach,
therefore he spake, and commanded
that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
Because they directly refused the king's commandments Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, steaming mad! His visage changed against them, what he thought and believed about them turned to anger and hatred. He once thought that they were great men and set them up in prominent offices-no more.
:20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army
to bind Shadrach,
and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
:21 Then these men were bound in their coats,
and their hats,
and their other garments,
and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
:22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent,
and the furnace exceeding hot,
the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach,
:23 And these three men,
fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied,
and rose up in haste,
and spake, and said unto his counsellors,
Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?
They answered and said unto the king,
True, O king.
:25 He answered and said,
Lo, I see four men loose,
walking in the midst of the fire,
and they have no hurt;
and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. [angel, see verse 28]
:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace,
and spake, and said,
ye servants of the most high God,
and come hither.
came forth of the midst of the fire.
:27 And the princes,
and the king's counsellors,
being gathered together,
saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power,
nor was an hair of their head singed,
neither were their coats changed,
nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
They walked in this fiery furnace that killed the mighty men that threw them in there. God even sent Michael the warrior archangel to be with them. Their deliverance was so complete that they didn't even smell like smoke. If you have ever been around a campfire you know that you cannot escape without smelling like smoke. This is absolutely tremendous. Our God is so wonderful. What He is willing to do for His people is outstanding. Talk with Him often, read His Word and be bold on what He says.
:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said,
Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
who hath sent his angel,
and delivered his servants that trusted in him,
and have changed the king's word,
and yielded their bodies,
that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
:29 Therefore I make a decree,
That every people,
which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach,
shall be cut in pieces,
and their houses shall be made a dunghill:
because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort .
:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach,
in the province of Babylon.
God's Word is our rulebook of faith and practice. Knowing God's Word lets us know Him and what His Son Jesus Christ accomplished for us so that we may live victoriously. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was going to deliver them. They must have been listening to Him. We can listen also, to that still small voice, and trust in Him.