In the book of Daniel there are 2 very important passages, in chapters 3 and 6. One of them talks about when 3 men were thrown into a blazing furnace and the other talks about Daniel being thrown into a den of lions.
The stories are different, but there is something in common in them that caught my attention…
There was a 4th man
“Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”Daniel 3:15
In the passage of Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that nations and peoples of all languages should prostrate themselves before the golden image that he had set up, when they heard the sound of the instruments.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not prostrate themselves before that image, for there was only one God whom they worshiped. Even knowing the risk they were taking, they didn’t go against their faith at any time. On the contrary, when the king asked them if they were not afraid and if their God would save them from the blazing furnace, they gave the following answer, from verse 16:
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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 Majesty’s hand. 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.”
On that day, on account of the king’s fury, the furnace was heated even more than usual so that those men would be severely punished. It was so hot that the soldiers, who came close to throw the men, died instantly. Even so, Daniel’s 3 friends walked out of the furnace unharmed. Not even his clothes burned. They were also in the company of a 4th man, described as one who looked like a son of the gods: it was the true King himself who lives forevermore.
Daniel was unharmed
“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”Daniel 6:16
Daniel was a God fearing man who prayed 3 times a day. King Darius, influenced by other supervisors in his government who wanted to harm Daniel, created a law forbidding prayers to any god or man other than him. The penalty for those who disobeyed this order was to be thrown into the den of lions.
However, even in the face of this decree, Daniel did not stop praying. The men who wanted to harm him handed him over to the king, who had to throw him into the den.
He spent a whole night in the cave. Early in the morning, when King Darius went to see if he was still alive, Daniel promptly answered the king. He was alive. The lions’ mouths were closed, for God had mercy on him. The Lord knew that he was innocent and had committed no crime. He was saved by the true King who lives forevermore.
Learning in the process
“Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.”Daniel 3:28
“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”Daniel 6:26
Perhaps it’s not very clear what these two stories have in common, but I’ll explain.
Both the 3 men and Daniel prayed worshiping God. Everyone praised and remained firm in faith, even in the face of extreme situations. Just as said by the men about to be thrown into the furnace: “even if He does not deliver us, we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold”.
They knew that, in the midst of any lack or pain, God would be in even greater evidence, being able to deliver them from difficult situations or teach them something in the midst of the trial.
Change your prayer. Don’t just ask God to pull you out of situations. Ask Him to give you strength and that your vision be clarified to better understand His ways and the solutions He has in the face of difficulties. Truly try to see what God wants to teach you and what He wants to reveal in every circumstance of life.
As described in Daniel 3:9 and 6:21, the common greeting before Kings Nebuchadnezzar and Darius was “O king, live for ever…”. However in the passages explored we can see in action the true King who lives forever.
These biblical characters remained because they knew that, if nothing had stopped the true King until that moment, if nothing had the power to stop Him, His promises of care and protection would also continue to be greater than everything they would face. After all, if the true King lives forever, His words are also eternal…
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