Defying Man and Trusting God

Read Daniel 3:16-30

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I love the men’s reply to the king regarding the king’s question.  In vs. the king asked, “is it true?” and their answer is classic, I think we should use it when questioned in a negative way about our faith.  They said, “We don’t need to defend ourselves before you on this matter”.  In other words, we are not wavering on our beliefs, not matter what they said the king would not have accepted it.  Sometimes you believe what you believe and that is all that’s to it. 

There are times we get so hung up on trying to get validation from people who just don’t know God that we miss the point, it’s our faith, not theirs.  If you know God and you trust him, and you’ve devoted yourself to full submission to His authority it does not matter what anyone else thinks.  Stop trying to convince them to agree with you and start letting them see your faith in action.

They know and completely understand who God is, they trust him completely and their answer shows that faith.  They went on to tell the king, “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 Majesties Hand.”  They remind the king that God is bigger than he is and no matter how much power he has over his subjects, these men live according to a different kingdom and their God will have the final say.

They are also fully aware that there are two directions this scene could go; they could be rescued by God or God could decide to let their lives be taken in this fire.  They are ok with either decision.  Vs. 18 “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”. 

Did you catch onto the reading of their reply?  The thought of making it through the fire never even crossed their minds.  Vs. 17 reads “deliver us from”.  They confess that God can keep them from ever entering the furnace in the first place.  If he doesn’t keep them out of the furnace they still will not bow down, and they will accept that their fate is to be consumed by the fire.

Vs. 19 Neb was already furious with the men and this reply only amped his emotions up more, he became so enraged that his “visage” his facial features literally changed.  Have you ever witnessed the facial expression of someone filled with rage?  Their face turning red, nostrils flaring in and out like a bull.  This is a whole new level of anger and with this anger he ordered the furnace to be heated up seven times hotter than usual.

Seven times hotter than usual, I wonder what the usual temperature for this furnace was and how hot is seven times hotter?  First of all, the gold 90’ high statue was recently built, in order to cover this thing in gold they would have had to melt the gold down, make it liquid, then apply it to the structure.  To melt the gold, they needed a furnace, how convenient for the king.

This furnace was probably a pit of some sort because the king was able overlook it, with out being burned, he could supervise the process through an opening.  It would have also had a way for the workers to get the gold in and out. 

The temp needed to melt gold is 1,948 deg. F.  The average house fire is 1,100 deg. F.  The furnace is 800 degrees hotter than the average house fire.  Now, fires don’t get hotter because they burn longer, what makes the fire hotter is what is used to fuel the fire.  For example, coal will increase the temperature of a fire. 

An interesting tidbit is Babylon is in what we know as Iraq.  Iraq is one of the top five oil producing nations, producing 4.5 million barrels per day.  Modern day Iraq is known for black pitch-like and oil-like substances that are used for lighting lamps and building fires.  It seems logical these things were used in this furnace along with techniques to fan the flame to melt the gold.  They certainly had access to it, and they were skilled with gold melting. 

The fire is heating up to 1,948 deg., the strongest soldiers are ordered to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Here we have these government officials completely decked out in their best suits.  They were dressed in their full regalia, ready for this massive ceremony.  They were dressed to kill, their coats, their tall socks, their turbans poised perfectly on their heads.  They weren’t given the opportunity to change, they were immediately tied up and taken to the furnace.

The furnace was so hot the soldiers leading the men were killed.  Forget the flames, the heat was so intense they died just from being near it.  So, when it says they were cast.  They were literally tossed in.  The soldiers could only get so close that they would give them a big push and down into the pit they went.  Vs. 23 firmly tied they fell into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

That is when the king leaped to his feet.  As they toppled to the ground the king watching from his balcony of safety jumps to his feet and confirms that only three men were thrown in because he is watching, and he sees four men.  He watches as the three men stand to their feet, and the fourth one greets them.  The fourth one was already there waiting to meet these Godly, steadfast men.  They are literally walking around, surviving an impossible situation and the king cannot believe his eyes.  Not just enduring the fire, but they are completely unaffected by it, they aren’t even wiping the sweat from their brows. 

Their chains were broken, they were no longer in bondage, they are in the refiner’s furnace, being made pure by the hand of God.  The fire was heated 7 times hotter, that is not by coincidence.  Seven is reserved for God, it means perfection.  They were being perfected, refined, and the fourth man, well he was “like the Son of God”, rather he is the Son of God.  

Neb runs down to the opening, maintaining a safe distance, he yells into the blazing inferno telling the men to come out.  Three men come out, and they are in better condition than when they went in.  There was not a single burn mark on their bodies, not even a little pink flush to the cheeks, their hair was not singed and get this, their clothes did not smell like fire.  Have you ever gone to a campfire?  You don’t need to be playing in the fire to smell like a campfire, the smell fills the air and attaches to your clothing. 

As they exit the entrance they are immediately surrounded, not just by the king, but all his national leaders.  They all witnessed the hand of God protecting these men.

And the king gives praise to The God of Heaven.  He’s like well done God you rescued your servant kudos to you.  They defied my commands and instead trusted you, they were more willing to give up their lives than to worship any other god than you. 

Then he puts out a decree that no one, and I mean no one, is permitted to say anything against God, if they do they will be cut into a million little pieces and their houses will be turned into a dump, because there is no other god like this God.  And with that they were given another promotion, exalted even higher in the kingdom.

Rac, Shac and Benny expected God to keep them out of the fire, sometimes we expect God to keep us from harm too.  We expect to just avoid anything that could be painful, but sometimes God does his best work during the fire.  We want the easy way out, but the greater blessing is submitting to God’s way. 

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