The God We Serve is Able
Written by Felicia McKnight
Daniel 3:17-18 NIV
“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.”
Today let’s look at a story that serves as a reminder to us that nothing is too impossible for our God. In Daniel Chapter 3 we have the story of the blazing furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar built a figure known as the image of gold in which he commanded everyone in the land regardless of their nationality to worship. If the people were disobedient to King Nebuchadnezzar’s commands they would immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace (verse 6). When the music played everyone fell down to worship the image of gold except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. A group of astrologers noticed their rebellion and ran to tell King Nebuchadnezzar what took place. The Bible lets us know that King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with rage (verse 13) and demanded Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar they were informed again of the commandment that they were to bow down to the golden image. He gave them another opportunity to worship the golden image and questioned why they did not bow down to worship. There are several lessons we can learn today from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
STAND ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “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. Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.” (verse 16-19)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God’s word and were so confident in what they believed in that they did not feel the need to have to explain themselves to the King. They knew they served a jealous God and that they were not going to bow down and settle for someone else’s definition of worship. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:3-5) As Christians we have to know God and know His word, so that when we come face to face with the enemy and trials we know what we are standing on. The word of God is a part of our armor defined in Ephesians 6. God commands us in Ephesians 6:13 “put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground.” These men had on their belt of truth and was able to stand their ground. Read God’s word. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Put it in your heart so that you can stand on what you believe when you need it.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God’s character. They knew Him as a deliverer. They knew that the situation they were facing would not last long and that God was not going to leave them there. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:19) Whatever situation you are facing today, know that God will deliver you. As you study God’s word you are able to learn more about His character and you will know that God never leaves the righteous forsaken. (Psalm 37:25)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also knew that even if God allowed them into the furnace that God’s perfect will was being accomplished. There are often times God will allow us to go through our fiery furnace situations. We don’t understand them while we are there. We don’t know how God is going to work the situation out. We just have to know like they did that whether good or bad God is working it out for good (Romans 8:28) and that there is a greater purpose for the trials we face. Are you able to look back over your life at circumstances you have gone through? It felt like you were going through pure hell. You did not know why you had to go through it. You did not understand what God was doing. You did not know how God was going to work it out. Now that you are on the other side of hot you can look back and see the greater purpose God had for that situation.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were determined to serve God anyhow. No matter how tough things get you are you able to operate in a place of faith and say that you will serve God anyhow? Can you trust God anyhow?
KNOW THAT GOD IS WITH YOU
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:24-25)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the furnace as a party of three, but miraculously a guest showed up and they became a party of four. No matter what we are going through we can know God’s character and know that He is God Immanuel, the God that is with us. (Matthew 1:23) He will not allow us to face challenges on our own. He is with us every step of the way. He is sovereign. He sees all and He knows all that you are going through. “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15)
GOD IS ABLE
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:26-27)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed that God would deliver them and He did! Most of us already have in mind how we will overcome a situation, but God has a way of coming up with strange ways (by our standards) of answering our prayers. Going into the fiery furnace I’m sure they had to have thought that was it. We are going on to glory in this heat. Nope, not the case at all. God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, so off to the furnace they went. God is so POWERFUL that they not only came out alive, but “the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:27) God put them through a test of their faith that they were standing on. Often God will put us in difficult and impossible situations so we can truly see just how big and powerful He is. He puts us in situations that are beyond what our abilities can fix, so that we can truly see how powerful God is. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remained faithful and God delivered.
GOD WILL DO MORE THAN WHAT YOU ASK FOR
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:28-30)
In this situation the problem is they needed deliverance out of a fiery furnace. God did more than just deliver them He changed the heart of the King. In verse 7 King Nebuchadnezzar was worshiping the golden image, but in verse 26 He was acknowledging El Eloyon, the Most High God. Not only did He worship God, but He ordered everyone to now worship the most high God. When we are delivered out of our circumstances sometimes the deliverance is not only for us, but so that others can experience God’s glory. There is a greater glory God wants to do in us and through us and sometimes we just have to bare the cross.
Jesus had to suffer. He suffered on the cross by himself yet his suffering served a greater purpose in saving all of us. No matter what we go through even if it looks like it is a difficult and an impossible situation we have to stand on God’s word and believe it. As we celebrate this Holy Week and approach Easter we are reminded that nothing is impossible with God.
– If God can deliver Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace;
– If God can impregnate Sarah and Hannah’s barren womb’s;
– If God can part the Red Sea and deliver the Israelites;
– If God can save Daniel from the Lion’s Den;
– If God can cause David to kill a giant;
– If God can raise Lazarus and Jesus from the dead;
Then what more can He do for our impossible situations? God is ABLE! Be blessed and encouraged.
Heavenly Father, we come trusting that you are bigger than any problem we could ever face. Help us to trust you in our circumstances no matter how difficult they seem. Help us to trust you even when we don’t understand the why, the what, and the how. We know that no matter what it looks like the outcome will be your perfect will and all glory and praises belong to you. Amen