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Explore the Bible

Sunday, August 3

with Rick Henson

Radical Faith: Risk Everything for God

Daniel 3:1,8-12,15b-18,24-25,28

King Nebuchadnezzar built a 90 foot statue of himself and decreed that everyone worship the statue when the music played a certain song or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Word got to the king that three Hebrew boys refused to worship his image. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael were not strangers to King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 2:49 reads, “Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king,” (KJV). This was the previous verse before this story in Daniel chapter 3, so it had happened recently. This text used their Babylonian names but let’s use their godly Hebrew names instead.

The King called Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael to give them another chance to bow down before the graven image. He warned them that if they did not worship his image they would be thrown into the fiery furnace within the hour and that no god could protect them. They replied in Daniel 3:17-18, “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. 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,” (KJV).

The king was furious and had the furnace heated seven times hotter than it ever been before. He had the three boys bounds and cast into the furnace. The fire, however, did not harm the three boys and they walked around in it. He looked in the furnace and exclaimed in Daniel 3:25, “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,” (KJV). The fourth man in the fire was the son of God who protected these three boys from the fire.

The King was amazed and called the three boys out of the fire, for they were completely unharmed. He praised the one true living God for such an amazing miracle that he witnessed. It truly was a mighty miracle that is remembered to this day. King Nebuchadnezzar rescinded his order and allowed worship of the Hebrew God.

After they were rescued, however, the three Hebrew boys still lived in a foreign land with names that brought glory to false gods and they were still slaves having to speak a foreign language. God chose to deliver them from the fiery furnace but he chose not to rescue them from slavery. Other than spiritual, all healing is temporary. Even when the Lord answers our prayers the way that we desire, we certainly will have other problems later, and maybe the same problems again.

The Hebrew boys proclaimed to the king that their God was able to deliver them. They added that if God did not rescue them they still would not bow down to his image nor serve his gods. They realized that The Lord was God whether He answered their prayers a specific way or not. And their service to God was not dependent on His answering their prayers or rescuing them from a fiery furnace. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael were willing to die in the furnace, but they were not willing to worship a false god.

We learn from this story that God may chose to rescue us from a proverbial or literal fiery furnace. He may, however, choose to allow us to go through a fiery ordeal. Ephesians 6:16 reminds us, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,’” (KJV). And 1 Peter 4:12 cautions, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,’” (KJV).

The Lord is our God and is worthy of our praise whether He rescues us from the fiery trials or whether He gives us what we need to endure the trials. When trials come our way, and they will, may we face them as well as did Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael.

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Henson is pastor of Oakdale Church, Brandon.