Daniel 3:15-18 – “Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be thrown at once into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can rescue you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” Amplified.
Let me begin by asking, “Have you experienced a situation in your life where the answer did not come or did not come in the way you desired or expected?” Let me pose that a little differently and say that I am convinced each of us have prayed for someone that did not get healed, mothers have prayed for their sons in time of war who did not come, children or loved one’s lives have been snuffed out in a tragic accident even though we prayed for God’s protection and deliverance. I realize that is a bit different from what these three young men were facing but the question is still valid – “What If God Doesn’t?”
I fully believe that God can! His ability to perform the miraculous is not in question for me. I don’t even question His willingness and refer to numerous passages in the New Testament when someone said, “If you are willing?” Each time Jesus said, “I am willing.” One even said, “If you can” and Jesus said, “IF I CAN?” Of course, He can, but WHAT IF. I’ve ministered to people in tragedy, disappointment, and loss who waited until the event to decide how they would respond. Some wait until matters are critical to pray, seek God’s face and help and then find themselves incredibly perplexed and troubled if things do not go as they desired. You do not wait until the shooting starts to prepare for war. You do not wait until the well runs dry to prepare for water. You do not wait until the pantry is empty to begin searching for food. You must plan, prepare, and decide BEFORE the crisis to survive the crisis.
These young men had determined in their hearts that they were going to serve God and not participate in the worship of anyone or anything other than Him. Before, the Giant Statue and Edict came into existence they, along with Daniel had determined in their hearts to serve God REGARDLESS. No wonder, the Bible says of Daniel that there was an “excellent spirit” in him. No wonder, these young men find their way into the scriptural record. They had decided, settled the issue, and they were confident God was trustworthy.
The King’s edict was, “bow down or burn.” Their answer to the King is powerful and continually serves as encouragement to me in times of ease or difficulty. The place they had arrived and the position and condition of their hearts are where I strive to be and long to stand. They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you to this point.” Fascinating! “Hey, king, there is nothing to discuss the decision is already made.” Hear what they said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve IS ABLE to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire…” There is no vacillation in their hearts or minds – GOD CAN. They continued, “…and HE WILL rescue us from your hand, O king.” HALLELUJAH! Hear their commitment, confidence, and faith in this. God Can that is not a question or concern. God will! That is amazing because it expresses their confidence that one way or other, God will rescue us from you, Mr. King. Notice the next statement, “But even if HE DOES NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that WE ARE NOT GOING TO SERVE YOUR GODS or WORSHIP the golden image that you have set up!” In East Texas vernacular, “Bring it on, king! Bring it on! We ain’t gonna bow down!”
The key is COMMITMENT and CONFIDENCE. The key is TRUST so complete that even if death in the natural is the result there will be NO OTHER GODS before the Living God of Heaven. Even if God DOES NOT do what we ask or expect, we won’t bend even if we burn because WE TRUST GOD. It is critical, in our Christian Walk to reach a place that we are so confident in God, and so completely committed to Him that we have no other thought than serving Him. That’s where the disciples were when imprisoned by the Sanhedrin and Peter said, “Whom shall we obey, God or man?” If we reach the place in our lives where the issue of bowing or burning is decided, we can face all the WHAT Ifs of Life with complete peace. We live, knowing that GOD CAN and are confident that HE WILL, but IF HE DOESN’T that changes nothing because in the end He still rescues us, and the reward is eternal. What shall a man give in exchange for his soul and what is the benefit of gaining the whole world and losing our souls?
If you decide in advance that you won’t bow even if you burn your confidence will cause hell to tremble and your peace will guide you safely through all the troubled waters of life. I pray that God will richly bless you and enable you to abide under the shelter of His arms. Have a Great Day!