King Nebuchadnezzer was in love with himself, and he used the power of his position to DEMAND worship of the image that he'd set up. He threatened anyone who would not bow down and worship with death! Specifically, they would be thrown into the 'fiery furnace'--a terrible threat indeed!
Yet, Daniel's 3 friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down. They refused to worship the image. When others in Nebu's court discovered this, they 'tattled' on them. Nebu was enraged, and brought them in. He said “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments.But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” (Daniel 3:14-15)
King Nebu THINKS that he's called their bluff--after all, he has all the power. He says, in effect 'Look boys, it's nice that you have this 'god' that you serve...but let's get real: Are you ready to DIE for that god? After all, I CONTROL THE FURNACE...and no 'god' can save you once I put you there!
The men responded in a way which must've surprised Nebu: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
"...BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN'T..." That's some serious belief-cred right there. 'We expect Him to save us, but even if He doesn't, that's not the point! We are not going to bow down to your sorry statue, no matter what happens!'
These guys were committed to the Lord. They had enormous faith that God would rescue them, but knew that, whether He did or not, He was still 'the One true God', and the ONLY One deserving worship. They committed themselves into His hands, and behaved with that in mind.
If you know the story (Daniel 3:19-30), you know that God indeed DID rescue them, and in fact, walked with them in the furnace and protected them to the extent that thier hair wasn't singed and their clothes didn't smell like fire or smoke! God intervened in a BIG way!
King Nebu then praises the God of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego and threatens anyone who speaks against Him. He observes that "There is no other God who can rescue like this!" (v. 29)
Sounds like Nebu finally 'gets it', right? Stay tuned!
...but the faith that the 3 guys show is pretty incredible. We often worship God and serve Him, as long as everything's going well...but would we do it "even if He doesn't"...(answer our prayers, give us what we ask for, intervene on our behalf, etc.)? These men committed thier lives to the Lord, NO MATTER WHAT! They hoped and prayed that God would intervene and rescue them...but that wasn't the main point. Their main point was that HE IS GOD and deserves to be worshipped, obeyed, and served NO MATTER WHAT!
May we have that same kind of faith today.
Grace and Peace,