The Fiery Furnace
Daniel 3:17-18
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand…

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were men of integrity, against whom no one could bring an accusation, except in the matters of their God. But solely on account of their adherence to the Divine cause, they were cast into the burning fiery furnace.

1. By this we may he reminded, of what it is important at all tinges to keep in view, that for adherence unto God we may be exposed to great difficulties and dangers. At the beginning it was foretold that there "would be enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman," and no prediction has ever been more strikingly fulfilled. Those that are born after the flesh have always persecuted them that are born after the Spirit. What injuries have thereby been done unto the church!

2. Though these young men were menaced with danger, though all that was dear to them was in peril, yet they openly adhered unto God. They did not feign an excuse for absenting themselves from the dedication. They did not content themselves with adhering to God in their heart, while they bowed down to the idol with their bodies. When accused, they had not recourse to any specious disguise or subtle ambiguity. And, though everything like ostentation is to be avoided as a sin, we ought openly to hear our testimony for God, whatever difficulties we may have to encounter. It is not enough that we wish well to the cause of God in our hearts — it is not enough that we desire and pray for its triumph — it is not enough that we give it secret aid, while we remain openly among its enemies. When any acknowledge a cause to be good, and stand hack from avowing their attachment, because of the odium which they may incur, or the danger to which they may be exposed, this is unequivocal evidence that the fear and the favour of man have more effect upon their minds than the fear and the favour of God. Christ was not ashamed to own us publicly. God and angels, men and devils, saw Him publicly die for us upon the cross. And shall we ever be ashamed to confess Him before men!

3. Their adherence unto God was not only open, it was also resolute. Nothing like hesitation, or suspense, appears in their conduct. Their minds seem as resolute as if all inducements had boon upon the side of duty — as resolute as if adherence unto God had been the way of advancement, instead of leading, as it did, to a fiery "Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." We must beware of everything like halting, hesitating, and wavering. A halting, wavering, undecided frame of mind, is spoken of in Scripture in the language of contempt. Why halt ye between two opinions? if Jehovah be God, then choose ye Him, but if Baal be God, then choose ye him.

4. The adherence of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego unto God was steadfast. Many are bold when danger is at a distance, who faint when the hour of trial draws nigh. But these young men were steadfast and immovable. They not only declared their resolution to suffer everything, they actually submitted to be cast into the furnace when it was heated seven-fold. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Much depends on the steadfastness of soldiers in the day of battle — the issue of the conflict, and the fate of their country. Openly, decidedly, and steadfastly to adhere to the cause of God's glory, in despite of all trials and difficulties, is no easy matter. They who are called to such work would do well to count the cost, and consider their abilities. It is God alone who can teach the hands for this war, and the fingers for this fight. And He has promised to do so. Has He not said, "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength shall be perfected in thy weakness." These promises were made good, in the case of His three witnesses, on the plains of Dura. When He called them to more than ordinary work, He furnished them with more than ordinary strength. God not only supported His three servants under the trial to which they were exposed; He, in due time, delivered them. This deliverance was in many respects miraculous, and, in so far as this was the case, we are not warranted to expect that any such interposition will be made in our behalf. But the manner of their deliverance was in most respects similar to God's ordinary method of interposing for His church and people.

(1) This deliverance was seasonable. It took place at the very best time. In the exercise of infinite wisdom, Jehovah discerns, and seizes the critical moments and though His people may think Him long in coming, He will never come too late.

(2) This deliverance was of such a kind that it could not have been conceived beforehand. And the manner in which God delivers His church and people is, in general, altogether different from what anyone could have conceived beforehand.

(3) The deliverance of these three children took place immediately after their confidence in God and submission to His will had been fully tested. They put themselves into God's hand.

(4) This was a God-like deliverance. It showed itself to be God's work. All the power and ingenuity of the created universe could not have saved these young men after they had been so long in that dreadful furnace. Although no visible manifestation of the Deity had been granted to them, the fact of their preservation in the fire would have shown that the arms of the Almighty God had been around them. All pure and holy deliverances come from God, and generally bear upon them the impress of His hand. The deliverer of the three children was one in the form of the Son of God.

(5) Their deliverance, therefore, came from a God' in Christ. And all the deliverances of the saints come from a God in covenant, and. they come through the second person in the adorable Trinity. He is not only the Saviour of the soul, He is also "the Saviour of Israel, and the help thereof in the time of trouble."(6) In delivering His witnesses from the furnace, God vindicated their conduct. He showed that in refusing to obey Nebuchadnezzar they had done what He approved. How greatly did He honour them in the midst of their enemies, when He thus visibly owned them us His friends, and altered the very laws of creation on their account! And in delivering those who had been sufferers for His cause, God generally vindicates their testimony and puts honour on their names.

(7) In short, this was a very wonderful deliverance. It afforded a remarkable display of the power, and the wisdom, and the loving kindness of the Lord. "This is the doing of the Lord, and wondrous in our eyes." And in God's greater works of deliverance, there is in general something so superhuman, something so God-like, as to fill every serious observer with admiration. What wonderful things has He done in behalf of His people! How blessed is that people whose God is the Lord! He can bring them u through fire and through water to the wealthy place." And He will make the worst and severest dispensations that befal them, to promote the honour of their names, and the everlasting welfare of their souls.

(William White.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

WEB: If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

The Fiery Furnace
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