As we finish up chapter three we revisit one of the most well known of all the stories in the Bible: the fiery furnace. Last week we watched the story unfold: potentially thousands of Nebuchadnezzar’s government employees have been summoned to express their loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar under penalty of death in a fiery furnace. Just bow down when the Babylonian Anthem is played and everything is cool. But three monotheistic Jews couldn’t pretend, and now its show time. Our God can rescue us, but if not….
How dare they defy the sovereign ruler of that world? What comes next? What will God do? Will they suffer agonizingly in the furnace? Will they become a lesson to everyone that you dare not cross Nebuchadnezzar?
I think that deep inside we really wonder if God can protect us or care for us. We expect God to keep us out of the furnace (trial) and if He doesn’t, he doesn’t love us or has failed us. In our minds, we do the “right thing” to get the result we expect from God. But God has a different plan and it is much more clear in this passage than anywhere else. God has grace and power and freedom for us that we can only experience in the furnace. No fire, no freedom.
What an amazing story to consider; listen in and be ready to be challenged!