Daily Dose, June 6 — Summer Blockbusters: Big Bible Stories

  Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace to be heated up 7 times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counsellors, “Was it not 3 men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He replied, “But I see 4 men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counsellors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” (Daniel 3:13-28) We do something as humans that is not unique to time or place. We often look to those before us to provide inspiration, encouragement, guidance and knowledge. We often look to these stories, people and places when we are being tested and tried. Ancient or modern, we find that this is something that is common to the human experience. This story of Daniel from the Old Testament is one such story. This is a story about faith that stirs action and response. The story of Daniel and his cohorts shows that God’s presence is not limited by place. God’s presence was with Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego -- even as they were thrown into the fiery furnace. We would do well to remember this when we find it harder to “feel” God’s presence on Tuesday afternoon than it was on Sunday morning in worship. Worship is not restricted to/by place. Instead, worship is only restricted by our willingness to be faithful and obedient to God. This story provides encouragement to maintain your faith, regardless of the outcome. The story provides inspiration and encouragement to stand strong in your faith, even in the face of compromise. Notice what the men say: “Even if God doesn’t do what I want, I will still trust him.” How many of us have a faith to be able to say that? This story reminds us that we can walk away from a difficult and trying situation and not carry it with us. The men came out of the furnace and were untainted, unblemished, and they didn’t even smell like smoke. All too often, we carry the effects of bad situations into our next situation. We “smell like smoke” even though we’ve emerged from the furnace. With God’s presence, we can be rescued from both the situation and the scent of sin and unfaithfulness. -- Rev. Brad Greene