Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
The first sentence of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego‘s response doesn’t translate well. The Hebrew expression they use sounds disrespectful in English. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.”
They mean no disrespect. They’re just saying that they don’t need to be acquitted of the charge. The God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.
As always, the point is that it’s about who is God, not who is king.
And to drive the point home, they note that God may not deliver them. “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Worship is non-negotiable.
Just as with Daniel, this is coming down to a very distinct moment of truth. But don’t assume that the moment of truth is when God either saves them or lets them die.
No, the moment of truth was when they either caved or held firm in refusing to bow down to the statue.
What happens next isn’t about them; it’s about Nebuchadnezzar’s awakening.
Is the purpose of prayer to get, say, healing? Or is it to glorify God?
I am often stuck by God’s timing. Even when a prayer request is granted, it often seems later than I would have liked.
But that got me to pray longer and harder. Hmmm.
What if the prayers themselves are important for their own sake?
Maybe they teach me. Maybe they glorify God. Maybe they do something else beyond my imagination. In any case, it’s evident that the LORD often stretches them out.
There must be something to that.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.