Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach…
These are the words of a heathen king. They are not the less welcome to us on that account, but perhaps the more so. The testimony of a saint has, of course, its special value, but the witness of a sinner has a worth all its own, especially when it has been compelled from him by the power of God Himself. This unwilling testimony seems to me to exceed in worth the testimony of those from whom we should expect such witness. You may be sure that Nebuchadnezzar was not prejudiced in favour of Jehovah. This he said only through compulsion, yet he spake it with the accent of conviction. It was a matter not of theory but of experience with him. It is true also that this testimony is very far from satisfactory. We find ourselves wishing that Nebuchadnezzar had gone much further. I wish he had left out those last three words: That would have beans grand utterance, "There is no other God that can deliver." But suppose he had left out three other words, and simply said, "There is no other God," what an improvement that would have been. Oh, but he was a young beginner, you must remember; he was only just commencing to come under Divine influences. This is a repeating of the alphabet, and he gets through it wonderfully well considering. Wait till God has done with him, and you will find he has made wonderful progress. Read his testimony after he has been humbled by being driven into the fields to eat grass like the ox. Before God and you have done with him he may have given such a record as Nebuchadnezzar did towards the close of his career — "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, and extol, and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment; and those that walk in pride He is able to abase."
I. THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAT CAN DELIVER FROM SUCH OVERWHELMING PERIL. There are many features connected with this case that make it special. We may extend the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's phrase.
1. There is no other God that can deliver from such strong temptations. Try to put yourselves in the position of these three young men.
2. Moreover, these men were delivered from their accusers, for you will remember that "certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews." I expect they had been on the look
-out for this opportunity. Now see — for you know the end of the story — how wonderfully the Jews were delivered from the hands of those who were trying to trip and destroy them. Hear me, if you are here who, if you told your story, would have to say, "One of my greatest troubles is that I am so watched; they compass me about like bees; I get no rest or peace! they want to trip me up, to catch me in my words, to entangle me in my talk, if they could only find an occasion against me — and I am half afraid they will." I charge you, do not be afraid that they will succeed. If you are afraid, they will; but if you simply trust in God and do the right He will deliver you from the hands of your accusers. You need not fear what man can do unto you. "If God be for you, who can be against you?"
3. Again, the holy children were delivered from the wrath of the king, and I warrant you it was wrath of no ordinary nature. There are indications that Nebuchadnezzar was a fair-minded man, at least to some degree. He gave these offenders an opportunity to recant, and up to a certain point seems to have treated them with a commendable humanity. But when he did get angry, there was no mistaking it. Now read the sequel of the story. The lion has become a lamb; he who was like to leap upon them from the thicket now cringes before them, cowed and cowardly. He who had blasphemed their God now praises Him; He who had threatened to destroy them now sets them on high in the province of Babylon. I wonder if there is anybody present who has to deal with those who give way to evil temper. Well, I am not very much surprised that you are a little fearful of it, but oh, if God is with you and you with Him, He can make the wrath of His enemies praise Him.
4. From the fierceness of the fire also these young men were saved. Oh, how gloriously God delivers! They may do their worst — it only gives God an opportunity to do His best. Let them heap on the fuel, let them say all manner of evil against you falsely for His sake. God is a match for them, and more than equal to the emergency. I wonder what the difficulty is under which you labour just now. Is it the power of inbred sin? "There is no other God that can deliver after this sort." You may see on every hand men and women who have been delivered from the power of sin. Do not suppose that the seas of sorrow must overwhelm you. God can turn your sighing into singing.
II. THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAT DELIVERS BY SUCH MARVELLOUS MEANS. Think of the methods God employed in this case to set His servants free from their extremity.
1. He first of all inspired their confidence. Did you not admire them and rejoice in them as we read the story of their behaviour before the king? They were not in the least cowed by his august presence, nor frightened by his fearful threat. Well, that is God's way of working with the hearts of men. He is fitting them for the ordeal through which they are going to pass. God never sends us through any ordeal without first preparing us.
2. Was it not God also who prompted them to a heroic confession of their faith? I can imagine a man full in his heart with holy boldness, and yet failing to speak it forth. They were altogether regardless of consequences. Yet they were not alone, for God was with them.
3. Then God helped them to marvellous patience. It was the spirit of peace and patience that kept them gentle as well as brave. "There is no other God that can deliver after this sort." Some men can fight their way through difficulties, but the men whom God helps can stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
4. Let it be noted, too, that God allowed these young men to be put into the furnace. God has permitted it, but only with the purpose that His strength may be made perfect in your weakness, and that he may eventually bring you out into a wealthy place.
5. Remember, too, that Nebuchadnezzar, to his great surprise, saw the form of a fourth walking amidst the flames. He did not know who it was. He used an expression which has, I think, been somewhat misunderstood. He had no idea that it could be God's dear Son, our blessed Saviour. It is not likely that he had even heard of such an One. He really said, "The form of the fourth is like a Son of God," and later he said that God had sent His angel to save His servants. Oh, if he could have known what I believe is the actual fact, that Jesus Himself, the second Person in the Trinity, put Himself side by side with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, he would have wondered infinitely more. Oh, this is the wonder of wonders, that in the hour of our extremity, Christ comes right down to us, walks by us, holds us by the hand. and does, by His presence, cheer and save us. Oh, what a gracious God is ours!
III. THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAT CAN DELIVER IN SUCH A REMARKABLE MANNER. His methods are remarkable and strange, but the nature of the delivery still more surprises us.
1. No other God saves so readily. There is no sign in all this story of any particular stretching forth of the Divine arm. There is no visible and ostensible exhibition of Divine might. There is, for instance, no sudden burst of a waterspout to quench these flames; no mighty rushing wind to blow the fire away. God wrought a miracle, I gladly own, but the forces He employed were silent and secret. God often works that way. You hope He will deliver you. Yes! but do not dictate to Him the manner of deliverance. He knows in every detail what is best, and we are wise to leave them all to Him.
2. You may be sure He work effectually. There is no other god that does his work so thoroughly as the Hebrews' God. So complete was the delivery that the king was astonished at it. I expect that the fetters were forged to the strongest point of resistance, but the fire seems to have centred all its force upon the fetters which the king had put upon his prisoners. Oh, welcome fires of persecution, and of temptation too, if the ultimate end is to set me freer than I was before, to burn the bonds that bound me. But upon themselves the fire had no power. And not so much as the smell of fire passed on them. There is an old legend to tee effect that they sang in the midst of the flames. I do not know whether that was really so, but I know that they did not singe in the flames, for God took the power out of the fire, so that they walked unharmed. All things are possible with Heaven.(Thomas Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
WEB: Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything evil against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god who is able to deliver after this sort.