Because of that, the stories challenged me again when I studied them this time. Taking the time to think about what it would have been like to be making your stand with roar of a fiery furnace behind you - a fire so hot that the soldiers who threw them in the furnace died (Daniel 3:22). That is not something to take lightly. Realizing that detail made me think twice about the stand that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made. Or noticing the detail that the lions in the den that Daniel was thrown into were actually hungry. Daniel wasn't spared because the lions weren't hungry. He was spared because God shut the mouths of the lions. Those who were thrown in the lions den after Daniel was pulled out were devoured immediately (Daniel 6:24).
For Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego they chose to stand for God even when they weren't sure they would survive that. They were tested by fire and they chose to trust God. In Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Mesheach, and Abednego put it this way:
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They trusted their God was able to deliver them - whether that deliverance came on earth or in the form of being ushered into God's presence. And their trust in God was tested. They were thrown in the fiery furnace, but they survived it.
As a part of our study, we talked about how there are three ways a situation of being tested by fire can happen: (these are taken from Beth Moore's study on Daniel - Session 3):
- We can be delivered from the fire.
- We can be delivered through the fire.
- We can be delivered by the fire into eternity.
It may not be what we wish for in our human nature, but having a faith in God that is tested by fire will bring us growth. And because we don't have to walk alone, when we're tested by fire we will be able to go through it. God walks with us through that.