“And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” — Daniel 3:27
In today’s text, God brought about a miraculous deliverance for three young Hebrews who faced a fiery furnace rather than bow before a heathen image. While that event took place many centuries ago, God is still able to bring deliverance to those who trust Him.
A believer named Mary told about God’s hand of protection over her when intruders broke into her family’s home in Nigeria. She related, “In my late twenties, I left my job at the bank and started my own business. My new job involved traveling to Europe and transporting goods to Nigeria. One terrifying night, armed robbers broke into our home yelling, ‘Where’s the Madame of this house?’ That day, I was supposed to have brought home almost $5,000 USD. However, I had given that money to somebody else, so there was nothing for the robbers to steal. My younger brother and my husband helped me hide under a bed in one of the rooms, but I could hear the burglars terrorizing my family, demanding to know where I was. They shot holes in our bedroom walls, and how we escaped those bullets was only by God’s divine mercies. They told my son to say goodbye to his dad because they were going to kill my husband. I heard one of the men say, ‘Let’s finish the man,’ and in agony I cried out, ‘Jesus!’ from under the bed, but my brother was in the room with me and insisted I stay quiet so I would not be found.
“The intruders eventually did find me and ordered me to give them the money. My husband had offered them our cars, but they wanted the money. They told me, ‘You love money more than your life.’ Then they forced me outside to search the cars. I do not know how we escaped harm, but somehow God preserved us, and eventually the raiders left.
“Afterward, I began to question why God had allowed that incident to happen. I needed God to restore peace in my heart, and in His mercy, God did just that. He walked me back through every detail of the day the robbers had come, and showed me how He had protected us. He reminded me how they had taken my husband and said, ‘Let’s finish him off,’ yet they did not hurt him. They shot their weapons, yet not one person was harmed. When they found me in my hiding spot and led me out to the car alone, they could have beaten me up, but they did not even touch me. In fact, God reminded me that before the invasion, He woke me up and urged me to dress properly and to pray. God had protected us through the whole ordeal. When the Lord brought all of this to my mind, I realized that He was always with me. My questions and doubts disappeared, and I finally understood that whatever situation we may go through, God will always be with His children.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured to deny God, but they would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image, even though they knew the fiery furnace would be their fate. They took a stand, and as a result, God brought them through the flames unscathed. Our focus verse states that not a hair of their heads was singed, their clothing was undamaged, and there was not even a smell of smoke on them.
We serve a mighty God! Whatever challenges come our way, we can be sure that God will be with us. He is more than able to deliver us if our trust is in Him, and whether He intervenes on our behalf or not, our eternal reward will be worth any suffering we may have to endure first. God is faithful to His own!
This portion of Daniel 3 describes what happened when the three Hebrews were cast into the furnace (verses 19-23), and the aftermath of their supernatural deliverance (verses 24-30).
The threatened punishment for not bowing before Nebuchadnezzar’s image was immediately enacted. The fact that the three Hebrews were “bound in their coats” and that the furnace was heated “exceeding hot” (verses 21-22) shows that everything was done to make sure the three men were quickly and completely consumed by the fire. Their miraculous deliverance is highlighted by the fact that they survived inside the furnace, while those who cast them in perished from the heat. Ancient kilns were in the form of a vertical tunnel that opened only at the top of the dome-shaped column. Since heat rises, the top of the furnace would have been very hot, thus killing the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar instantly when they threw the Hebrews into the flames.
The divine intervention was apparent. The king’s astonishment was reflected in his question, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” and his statement that he saw four men walking about in the flames. His assertion that “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (verse 25) likely was not an acknowledgement that the God of the Hebrews was the true God, but rather that their God was chief among the gods. Still, it was a spontaneous tribute to the One whom Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego served.
The fact that Nebuchadnezzar was moved to a reverent respect for the God of these Hebrews was further proved by his edict that anyone who spoke amiss of their God would be executed, “Because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (verse 29). In the aftermath, the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to positions of higher importance in the realm than they had previously held.
II. The prophetic history of the Gentiles
B. The dedication of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (the persecution and preservation of Israel under Gentile dominion)
5. The casting of the Jews into the furnace (3:19-23)
6. The preservation of the Jews (3:24-27)
7. The promotion of the Jews (3:28-30)
The power of God that delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace is still available today for those who trust God and are faithful to Him.