Hebrews 11:34 introduces another extraordinary act of faith: prophets who “quenched the fury of the flames.” This story draws us to a miraculous event in history that reveals incredible faith and courage by three faithful men. The arrogant King Nebuchadnezzar made a ninety-foot gold idol. He required all people to fall down and worship it, or they would be thrown into a blazing fire . . . not just any fire, but one that was seven times hotter than usual! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God detests idol worship. He alone is to be the center of our worship. As they counted the cost, they were willing to suffer death in a raging fire rather than bow down to a man-made idol.
We should take note of their response to the king. When asked: “What god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” they responded, “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. 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” (Daniel 3:15-18). They had faith that no matter how hot the fire, God could rescue them. However, in counting the cost, they also knew that God might allow them to suffer a martyr’s death, but they were still willing to be obedient and face this consequence. In other words, they were fully aware that God is sovereign over life and death. They were completely surrendered to the Lord’s will, no matter what the cost.
They knew what the prophet Isaiah later says in Isaiah 43:2. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Sure enough, when they were thrown into the furnace, the Lord unbound their ropes, protected them from the flames, and supernaturally allowed them to walk around with Him in the furnace unharmed. The king recognized that they were “willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God” (Daniel 3:28). Not only that, King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a decree that no one was allowed to say anything against the Hebrew God, for “no other god can save in this way.” Along with this, the three men were promoted to positions of leadership.
This is truly an extraordinary story. It was God who quenched the fury of the flames. These three men had faith in the miracles of God. They knew He would either save them from the flames, or He would usher them into eternal life. Either way, they were willing to suffer in order to obey God’s Word and not worship anyone or anything other than the Lord. There are several lessons we can learn from this. First, in counting the cost, be aware that obedience to God will invite you into His presence to walk with Him through any trial. Secondly, He promises to protect your soul, whether this results in deliverance on earth or in heaven.
Finally, when you are willing by faith to enter into suffering, others around you will be brought greater faith and God will be glorified.
Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 3; Isaiah 43:1-4