Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel…
During this momentous crisis, no change had passed over the convictions, resolves, or characters of these godly men - except such advancement in strength and courage as was always in progress. But upon their outward condition a great change was impending. A quiet revolution was proceeding outside them.
I. A CHANGE IN THE PLACE ACCORDED TO GOD. This was the central aim of the young Hebrews' resistance, that Jehovah might be recognized as supreme. This quiet endurance for God had completely annulled the effect of the gigantic idol, its imposing ritual, and its pompous music. Truth is advanced in more quiet ways. This royal endowment of idolatry had been public contumacy of Jehovah; but three modest youths, sustained by Divine grace, were more than a match for all the stately ceremonial appointed by the king. At the head of the nation, Nebuchadnezzar publicly recants his religious belief. Awhile his language was, "Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" Now his language is, "Blessed be the God of the Hebrews, who hath.., delivered his servants that trusted in him!"
II. A CHANGE IN THE MARTYRS' REPUTATION. Nebuchadnezzar had treated as weak and worthless the men who were accused of contumacy. He had regarded their convictions as contemptible scruples. Now his opinions have suddenly undergone a complete change. He appreciates their nobleness; he applauds their loyal constancy to God. He perceives a glorious beauty in their character, to which he was blind before. He confesses that their quiet firmness was more mighty, and more majestic, than his tyrannic rage. Their patient fortitude has captivated him. He places them upon the pedestal of royal regard, and does homage to their superior virtue. Well saith the proverb, "Them that honour me, I will honour." The martyrs are canonized and worshipped as saints.
III. A CHANGE IS THE ROYAL EDICT. But just now the royal decree had been, "Let the worshippers of Jehovah be degraded - be cast out as dogs!" Now a new edict issues, "That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of the Jews shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill." The tone and language of the king had undergone a complete change. This amounted almost to a miracle. To repeal the king's decree was deemed an impossibility. The kings of the East prided themselves on the observance of their word, let the cost be what it might. But there is a conspicuous abatement of pride in Nebuchadnezzar, and this new law will be a protection for all the Jews against the blasphemies of their foreign masters.
IV. A CHANGE IN THE OUTWARD CONDITION OF THE SUFFERERS. Their attainder is removed. They are not only restored to their former place, but are promoted to higher office yet. Just as a swelling wave, rolling on the sea-beach, recedes for a moment, but only to gather fresh force, and then rises higher on the shore than any point it has yet reached; so this transient degradation was but the mystic step to higher honour From the fiery jaws of death they suddenly rose to the dignity of princely life. The pathway to immortal renown is through the vale of suffering. "It is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom." The cross was the Saviour's road to his mediatorial throne; and if we suffer with him, "we shall also be glorified together." The fire of suffering does not destroy the Christian; it refines and purifies. He comes forth from the furnace as gold well burnished, Real merit, sooner or later, finds its true level. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
WEB: Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.