S99P2 – Timely salvation: the greater miracle

Dan. 3:19-21

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.

The king had one thing on his mind: he wanted to destroy these men.  Under normal circumstances, the furnace would have been hot enough to kill anyone.  Yet, he made it many times hotter to make sure there would be no question that these three would not survive.  Not only that, he had them bound so that they could not even attempt to save themselves in their own strength.  These measures go beyond the standard and make us wonder why the king was so bent on making sure that these men would die in that furnace.  Perhaps a part of him feared that their God was real, and he was really trying to keep him from saving them.  Whatever the reason, he must have thought that these three indeed were doomed.

God could have kept these men from that furnace.  He could have shut its door and made it so that no feat of man could open it again.  He could have made it impossible for the fire to be started.  He could have incapacitated those soldiers, or He could have transfigured these three faithful servants to another place entirely.  Instead, God acted in a way that perfectly complemented the faith that these three showed.  They professed to worship only him even if He did not save them from the fire, which is a bold statement.  In response, God worked his miracle in a bold and unexpected way.  He let them enter the fire, but then the Lord himself appeared not only to protect them from it but to rejoice with them in the midst of the blaze [v.26-27].

God always knows the miracle that is needed at the time.  The way He orchestrated this act of salvation was the perfect recipe to bring an unholy king to the place of recognizing who the one true God is [v.28-29].  That would not be the end of the king’s learning about God, but it would be an important piece of building and correcting his faith.  For the three men who survived the furnace, that incident was about much more than them.  Even so, they were the recipients of an incredible gift, being able to frolic in the flames with their Lord in perfect peace and protection.  Father, give us the faith and humility required to follow and love You no matter how or whether You save us from our fires, knowing that it is about much more than us.