God Is, He Can, He Will, and If He Doesn't



King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold. He commanded that all the people bow down and worship it when they heard the horn, flute, harp, zither, pipe, and all kinds of music. They were warned that if they disobeyed this command, they would be thrown into the burning, fiery furnace (Dan. 3). There was a huge problem with that command in the ears of three Jews; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” (Ex. 20:4&5).


Nebuchadnezzar threatened the three Jews again when they did not bow to the sound of the instruments the first time. He commanded, “…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” (Dan. 3:15). The king poses a question to them in mockery concerning their God. I do wonder if Nebuchadnezzar wondered how that those men could be so confident in their God that they were willing to die, rather than bow their knee to his idol. Listen to the three Hebrew children’s response. “…O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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” (v. 16-18). Notice four principles that we can learn from. First, they believed that God is. We read in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Again, notice in this verse that God is a “rewarder”. The second principle is God can. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…” (v. 17a). The third principle is God will. “And he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king” (v.17b). Finally, look at the fourth principle. “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” (v. 18).


We must be cautious concerning the fourth principle. We read in Hebrews 6:12, “…but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” How do we inherit the promises of God? …Through faith and patience. This is a confidence that what God has promised, He will do. James 1:6&7 says, "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” I believe that the response of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have been, “Even if God chose not to deliver us from the fiery furnace, we will never serve your gods nor your golden image.”


We know the rest of the story. They were not delivered from being thrown into the furnace that had been heated seven times hotter than normal. They were tied, hands and feet, were fully dressed, and then cast into the flames. Oh, but something happened. The king saw four men loosed and walking in the midst of the fire with no hurt. He describes the fourth man as having the form of the Son of God. He called for them, and they came out of the furnace. Their hair was not singed, their clothes were not burnt, nor was there the smell of smoke upon them. “Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 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” (Dan. 3:28-30). Being thrown into a fiery furnace would surely be a horrible thing to experience but God turned the evil to good (Gen. 50:20). I believe that the whole province of Babylon believed upon the God of the Hebrew children. What will it take for our nation to believe upon God?


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