“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 3:17-18
First, I think it’s important to notice the respect Daniel and his friends showed to Nebechadnezzar. They referred to him as “Your Majesty”, they weren’t rude or disrespectful, they didn’t make a loud stink in order to make others know they didn’t agree with what was happening. They just chose not to bow to the statue and wanted to make it clear they didn’t plan to worship any of the Babylonian gods, only the One True God. You don’t have to be rude or disrespectful when you stand for what’s right or what you believe in. It’s never going to help to have any attitude while you’re making your stand. It will only ever cause your beliefs to become disrespected and discounted. In other words, stay classy.
Now, I think this has to be one of the hardest truths to come to and claim as your own.
“Even if He doesn’t”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo knew God could save them from he fiery furnace and trusted He would. But even if they knew before hand that He wasn’t going to save them they were still not going to bow to other gods or the golden statue. They knew that no matter what happened when they went into that furnace God would still be God, and He would still be good. It’s hard to have this attitude, because none of us want to go through the “fiery furnaces” of life, we want God to spare us, and when He doesn’t, we struggle to remember His goodness.
But if we went in knowing we’d be saved, then we wouldn’t learn to trust, our faith wouldn’t grow. It also wouldn’t be a sacrifice (Plus then, do we really mean it when we stand up? Or are we just doing it for show?) To praise God in our storms, in our furnaces, is to trust He can get us out but knowing if He doesn’t He’s still God and He’s still good.
King David prayed and prayed for his child born from Bathsheba to be spared. God had other plans though and the boy did not survive, however David didn’t get mad and doubt God’s goodness. It says the servants in the palace were perplexed by the King’s attitude.
“We don’t understand you, they told him. While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped mourning and are eating again. David replied, ‘I fasted and wept while the child was still alive, for I said ‘Perhaps, the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live?’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again?” 2 Samuel 12:21-22
I think this is the part I’ve always struggled to grasp, why pray about a situation since God’s in control anyway and knows the outcome to all. But we’re told to “Give all your worries and cares to God for He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7. He wants me to lay things before Him, He wants to take on my burdens, and I’m to give them to Him. I’m to cry out to Him for help because He’s the only One who can, and maybe He won’t do it how and when I imagine, or maybe He’ll allow the situation to pass completely from me. Either way I know I can trust Him because He’s never changing “I am the LORD, and I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Jesus even prayed in the garden, before He was taken away to be crucified, asking God to take away the pain He would experience. “He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine ” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus knew what would happen, but He laid His cares before the Father, and ultimately wanted God’s will done over His own desires. That’s the key I believe.
Daniel and his friends didn’t want to die in the furnace, they prayed and trusted for God’s deliverance, but they ultimately wanted God’s will and glory to be done. Our hearts need to be refocused so our desires align with God’s will. It’s not going to keep us from the furnaces, but it’s going to keep us strong to go into them, keep us strong against those who may thrust us into them, and keeps us trusting that no matter the outcome God is still God and He is still good.