Daniel 3:16,17 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king… “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.”
At the beginning of their 3-year training, the chief eunuch had assigned each young man with a new Babylonian name. Daniel became known as Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael was called Meshach and Azariah was known as Abednego. Following the interpretation of the king’s dream, Daniel was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men. The three companions were appointed over the affairs of the province.
Throughout the bible and history, great men loved to build great statues and Nebuchadnezzar was no different. He made a ninety-foot image of gold and commanded the whole nation, “that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image.” Those found disobeying this order would be cast into a burning fiery furnace. This pleased the Chaldeans for they knew of three men who didn’t bow down to the golden image and of course they just had to tell the king. When they were brought before Nebuchadnezzar, he gave them an ultimatum and then asked – “Who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” ‘Our God’ was the answer. The king was so infuriated that he instructed for the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter. The fire was so fierce that it killed the men who took Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to it.
The door was closed and the king watched bewildered at four men walking around in the fire. He went closer and called out – “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Not a hair was singed, not a fiber of clothing burned. All the king could do was give praise to God:
“Who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”
These men knew that their God was able to save them and kept them; they also believed that he would, “but if not… we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Regardless of the outcome, they were steadfast in their faith and commitment to God, for they had determined that nothing would sever that union.
There is nothing in this world that will ever be worth trading in your faith for and there is no circumstance that God cannot deliver you from. However, our faith is not determined by the situations that are changed for the better but by the ones that aren’t.
These ‘but if not’ moments are the moments that lead us into God’s amazing grace.