S184P1 – Great introductions: the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego

Dan. 3:28-29

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.”

I think it is a safe bet that we all have heard this story.  Three Jews in service to the Chaldean king were challenged to worship according to the whims of that king.  The decree had been set, but they would not obey.  These men would not worship the gods the king had determined.  They would not worship the golden image he had made.  Their allegiance and worship would be only to the God they served, who is the one true God.  As punishment for their defiance, the king had them placed in a fiery furnace to be burned to death for their disobedience.  The furnace was even heated seven times hotter than normal, but something unexpected happened.  One who looked like the Son of God would join them there, and they would survive. 

I think one of the most impactful parts of this story is the manner in which the king addressed and identified these men after this incident.  When he approached the mouth of the furnace to speak to them, he addressed them as “servants of the Most High God.” [v. 26]  He began to see these men through the lens of the God they served.  The fact that their God showed up in such a mighty way said something about these men.  Not only were they blessed, but they were right.  Their unbending faithfulness was a sign of wisdom.  The God they served was powerful enough and benevolent enough to give them the wisdom to be so sure as to defy the king unto death knowing that they were secure in him.

What we see here is a picture of Christ saving these men from what should have been utter destruction.  What struck the king was not necessarily the appearance of this angelic figure but what He was able to do.  The king knew that the survival of these men was the work of the God whose angel had joined them in the furnace.  Such was the impact to the king that the decree ordering idol worship was replaced by a decree ordering that no one defy this great God.  That kind of change of heart is what we should desire to see in those to whom we introduce the Lord.  Father, we ask that You show up in mighty ways in response to our faithfulness, that we would see such a change in those we introduce to You.