“…We do not need to give you an answer concerning this. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said this, they had no idea how everything would work out. Would the king relent and not throw them in the furnace? A long shot, for sure, considering the culture of their day. The king would have to save face even if he wanted to show mercy.
Would God send some natural disaster, an earthquake, open the earth and swallow the golden image, furnace, and all Nebuchadnezzar’s lackeys? God had opened the earth before. He could do it again.
Would God let them be thrown in the furnace, let them feel the flames, take them to heaven, relieve them of all their burdens and sorrows? The possibility may have held some appeal for the young men trapped in a wicked culture, exhausted with standing firm. God was their refuge, but no doubt they felt the weight of their calling.
Somehow, I doubt they expected what really happened. I doubt they expected that first it would appear that God wasn’t going to deliver them, but then, beyond the moment of death — after they had faced the worst of the worst of searing flames that even destroyed their guards — God would deliver.
No one expected that. “Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste…” (Daniel 3:24). In fact, he was so shocked that he risked life and limb to go close to the entrance of the furnace to call Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out.
And out they came to the glory of God. Out of the worst fiery trial I’m aware of. God delivered them.
They proclaimed that God was able. They stood fast, acted on their faith to what appeared to be the bitter end. And like they said, no matter if they died or lived, they would not turn away from the truth. They would not bow down to the gods of this world. They went forward. And God delivered them.
God is able, no matter the trial. God is able no matter our trial. But even if He doesn’t do what we want, we will not serve another god or bow down to the idols of this age.
And God will deliver us to His glory. It may not be what we expect or imagine, but it will be to His glory. Stand firm in the faith. God is able.