Bible Study: Daniel 3 – Fiery Furnace Trial

The book of Daniel is one of the most prophetic books in the old testament. It has been sealed until the time of the end. Undoubtedly, now is the time of the end. Therefore, let us not be hypocrites without discerning this time and let us unseal the book of Daniel.

(Dan 12:4) “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

The third chapter of Daniel is about a trial for those who obey Him and being with them during the trial and promote them.

Idolatry

(Dan 3:1-7) Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Having praised the God of heaven in the previous chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar fell into idolatry by creating his own god and forced all his subjects to worship it.

Wolves in our lives

(Dan 3:8-12) Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

There will always be wolves in our lives. As a preacher said , if we don’t have wolves in our lives, may  be we aren’t sheep. The Chaldeans complained against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. It is interesting to note that Daniel is completely missing form the scene and this chapter. It is possible that knowing such a dedication is against God, he might have skipped such situations even though he is invited among all.

We may also need to avoid events that are clearly against God in order to avoid trials and tribulations.

Trial

(Dan 3:13-18) Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

The king was in rage and fury because the three friends of Daniel didn’t worship the image set by him. So, the king asked them again and another chance to save themselves by worshiping the image.

(Matt 10:28) “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The reply of the three friends to the king is very bold indeed and the faith they have on God is unbreakable. Most of us think of faith in God as He will save us in times of trouble but forget that is not the true faith. True faith goes beyond, even if God doesn’t save us, we will still have faith in Him. These three men had this strong and unshakable faith in God.

The Fourth Man

(Dan 3:19-29) Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were bound and thrown in fire, they were loose and walking in midst of fire along with a fourth man who was like Son of God.

(Matt 18:20) “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

However, we can know that if two or three gathered in His name, He will be in their midst, even it is in the midst of a fiery furnace.

When God was with the three friends of Daniel, fire didn’t harm them. God is capable of saving us from any trouble even fire. However, there is something much more important than saving the body from fire and our hope of escaping the troubles of this world. It’s our faith towards God even in the midst of fire and trials and His work of saving and refining our souls.

The Promotion

(Dan 3:28-30) Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.

God promoted Daniel in the earlier chapter. However, his friends, who also obeyed God didn’t get a promotion but was recommended by Daniel to be under him. But God had a different plan to promote them further and He did used the king Nebuchadnezzar.

Today, many seek promotions and higher roles in work places and yet they are not ready to go into the fiery furnace to be a witness for Him.