The town was very small and was the home of the university. Students walked busily by as they went two and from class. The physical education students jogged by in winter and in the heat of the summer months.
The parking lots were filled with cars increasing year by year with students who commuted. The small thriving town had only three stop lights and one gas station. Everyone knew everyone else and news always traveled quickly good or bad.
Amy sat by the window watching as the people passed by as she read to her sick child Abigail.
It was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the dear friends of Daniel.
They were Jews and their home had been captured by King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was also living in Babylon with them. Daniel wanted the best for his friends so he asked the king to only give them vegetables and water for the ten days they were to stay and the palace.
He had chosen them to learn the language and literature of Babylon. This would take them about three years and Daniel didn’t want his friends to eat all the unhealthy food the king ate. Daniel wanted to prove to the king that eating well would make a person stronger, wiser and healthier.
At the end of the ten days not only were the three men more healthy but they were better than all the magicians in the land.
King Nebuchadnezzar did not worship God as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego did. He worshipped himself and a golden statue and the Babylonian god of wisdom called Nabu.
After the course was completed, the kings called for a celebration demanding that every person bow down and worship his god. Daniel knew that the four of them could not worship any other god for their God was Jehovah.
Jehovah had written in His word that no other gods were to be worshipped but Him.
This caused a really big problem. When the king found out that Daniel, and his three friends would not bow down and worship him he became very angry.
“Bring Daniel and the three men to me!” King Nebuchadnezzar Commanded loudly. “I really do like Daniel for he is the only one who can tell me what my dreams mean. I also know that these three friends of his are very smart men. I will give them a second chance since Daniel is very precious to me!” He shouted to his guards.
The three men came in front of the king and said: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up!”
In Daniel chapter three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were sent into a blazing fiery furnace because of their stand to exclusively serve their God alone. By God’s angel, they were delivered out of harm’s way from this order of execution by the King of Babylon.
Their response: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king; we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
The king became furious. “Fire up the execution furnace and heat it seven times hotter than we normally have it. You Valiant soldiers of mine bind up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego clothes and all. Cast them into the furnace once it is as hot as can be.” The king shouted.
As the soldiers grew near to the opening of the door of the furnace, the fire was so hot they fell dead after the three men were pushed inside the furnace.
“Father God forgive our sins and the sins of Israel. Save us and show others your mighty power. Let the fire in the furnace feel like a cool breeze that blows over the morning dew. We praise You Father God for loving us and providing for us. We will continue to worship you if you save us or if you don’t!” The three men prayed to God.
Suddenly an angel of God came to deliver the three men from the furnace and took off the ropes that bound them.
“Did I not put three men in the furnace? He asked curiously. “I see four men in the furnace and they are not tied up. They are even walking around inside the fire!” He gasped.
“Come out of the furnace and let me see that it is you. How can you be in a furnace so hot and not be burned to death?” He questioned.
“It is us!” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered to the king.
“Well who is that fourth man? I saw four men in that furnace!” He said as his face became very red.
“It was the angel of the highest God Jehovah. God sent him to deliver us from the fire.” They replied.
King Nebuchadnezzar then acknowledged the mighty power of their God. He even went so far so to make a decree, that any nation who even said anything against the God of the Jews would be an act of certain war. He also gave the three men a promotion making them over the province of Babylon.
So it came to be that the three men were given great jobs and King Nebuchadnezzar saw the power of the mighty hand of God. This is what happens when God steps into the situation. He takes total control and is victorious always.
Amy closed the book and breathed a sigh of relief. She knew in her heart God was healing her child and He will make a way for you too.
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Question: Who was the fourth man in the fire?
Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil… It has no point!