“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.” (Daniel 3:18)
“[A]nd Jesus marveled…” (The Gospels)
Those who know God and His Greatness and Power should never be surprised when He intercedes or intervenes on one’s behalf or the behalf of another. However, one should be amazed that He does intercede and intervenes on our behalf and the behalf of another. David asked the question, “What is man that Thou visits him?” David said further, “Such knowledge is to wonderful for me.” Those that have seen the intercession of God on their behalf say, “I stand amazed.” But let me say it again, one should not be amazed only at God’s Power but at His willingness to manifest His Power and His grace in thy sight and for thy good.
The recorded events concerning the (3) three captive Jews and the fiery furnace contain two miracles and (1) one is greater than the other. Before we discuss the (2) two miracles let me give you the backstory. God had raised up a pagan king, Nebuchaddnezzar, to attack and to take captive God’s chosen people for they had abandoned Him for other false gods. After the Israelites are taken captive, the king decreed that the best of the young men should be taken and trained in the ways of their captive nation.
Four (4) men are named amoung those that are taken. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men are trained over time and show themselves to be the best of the best of the captive youth. As time went on they moved up and bacame respected by the king and other leaders.
At this time the king had a distressful dream and he called his magicians and wise men to not only tell him the meaning of the dream but the dream itself! None were able to do this and the irrate king ordered all wise men to be put to death. Daniel, a man of God went to the king and promised to tell him the dream and to interpret the dream, thus saving many lives. Daniel was true to His word as God gave him the needed information. The meaning of the dream was of future kingdoms and empires. The dream contained a giant idol which was made of various metals and materials.
As time went on the king decreed that a giant idol be built and that it should be made of the materials that he saw in his dream. Once this idol was built King N. ordered that all his people would bow down to this image when they were signaled by the music. All but (3) three brave men bowed. As is usually the case, the faithful men of God rebelled against this Godless law. [Sidenote: There are many ways to tell if a person is a Christ-ian. One of these ways is trouble making where and when trouble needs making.] Part of this decree was death by fire to anyone who would not bow.
They were then taken to the king and the king gave them another opportunity to bow down to the image, but again they refused. The king is outraged (possibly because he had great respect for these men. He would be losing (3) three of his best men.) The king ordered that the fire be turned up (7) seven times higher than is usual. Some preachers and commentators see this increase of heat to be a sign of the king’s out of control fury and they seek to make him look foolish. This I refute. The king turned up the fire so that the torture and death would be quick, for he resepected these men and these men respected him. The king was like any parent that was about to issue discipline, “This is gonna hurt me more that it is gonna hurt you.” The men would be dead but the king would live with this most painful of decisions.
Methinks the (3) three men, wanting to alleviate the kings fury, outrage, and sorrow, said, “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and [H]e will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not worship the golden image which thou hast set up. To this refusal the king ordered the furnace to be heated (7) seven times greater than is normal. The fire was so great that the mightiest of men in the king’s army were burned and killed by the fire when they cast the (3) three Jews into the furnace.
“Then Nebuchadnezzer was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 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 [F]ourth is like the Son of God.”
There is present in this event a number of awe inspiring moments. 1. The Idol 2. The Music 3. The united front of the Chaldeans 4. The (3) three Jews standing 5. The refusal to bow after being given a (2nd) second opportunity. 6. The Fire 7. The Son of God. There are more but these (7) seven shall suffice us.
Which of these (7) seven do you see as the most awe inspiring?? My choice is (4) four and (5) five. As we have said before, God is Powerful and He does interject Himself into human matters and that is Awesome/ful. We are not surprised only by His great power but by His willingness to visit man and to intervene on man’s behalf.
That which inspires me and gives me goosebumps and wet eyes is, “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to…But if not be it known unto thee…”
“If not…” This is faith, my readers. This is experiential faith that causes faith to grow into hope and hope into burning love for God. Methinks events like these will happen again very soon. Let us all amaze God by our love, by our loyalty, by our faith in Him, Who amazes us each and every day. God breaks through the natural with the supernatural and inspires us, and empowers us to do well and to do good works and to give all glory to Him. The Church…the Body of Christ… is a miracle.
“I have not seen such faith…” Lord Jesus