Many of you would have read or heard of the story of Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego survived the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar. You can read Daniel 3 for the full story.
Where is Daniel?
I always wondered where is Daniel in this story. Chapter 2 ended with Daniel’s promotion to the Chef ruler over Babylon and his three friends were made Administrators. In Daniel 3:8-12, the accusation was directed at the Jews but more specifically at his three friends. Daniel was not mentioned at all. Maybe because Daniel was at the king’s court so they didn’t, or couldn’t include him in the target list. The absence of Daniel baffles me. Even though Daniel was spared of the accusation, news about the incident would have reached him considering they were his friends. Would this not be a matter urgent enough for Daniel to drop everything to help or at least be there for his friends? Yet he was nowhere to be found or mentioned in this whole episode.
Faith in Who?
The three friends had never once uttered Daniel’s name at the impending judgement of death through fire. They could have requested to appeal to Daniel or at least request to see him for the last time before their deaths. Perhaps by mentioning Daniel, Daniel might be implicated into the accusation and they did not want Daniel to be part of what they were going through. Whatever possible reasons there can be, these three friends chose to be on their own with God. Clearly for the three friends, their trust and faith is in God alone, not even in their best friend, the brilliant and powerful Daniel. The call for help is solely and directly to God. They did not placed an ounce of faith on a person. More than this, they do not even consider their lives more valuable than the honour of God. Their absolute alligence to God makes them insolence to King Nebuchadnezzar with an upfront statement of not answering the king’s question about his soverignty. Their reply to King Nebuchadnezzar was the epitome of their faith:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 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.” – Daniel 3:16-18
Their faith is NOT determined by what God will do for them. It is amazing how steadfast they were even though they did not know if God will definitely deliver them from the fiery furnace.
Such faith is a strong magnet for God’s miracle deliverance.
I imagine myself in a situation like this, having to deny God and worship an idol or lose my life through fire, my instinctive reactive will be nothing like the three friends. I will probably:
- Become a covet believer of Jesus Christ. I will bow to the idol but rationalise that my heart is not bowing to the idol so I am still faithful to God.
- If I was brave enough to stand up against bowing to the idol, I will send a SOS message to “Daniel” for emergency aid, hoping he can intercept the fiery furnace punishment.
My coward, self-protecting instinct points me to reactions totally different from the three friends. Somehow, there is still hope as I have Christ in me, the Holy Spirit within. In moments like these, if I am able to release control to God, He can give me the ability to have faith like Daniel’s friends. I pray that I am able to let go and let God when the time comes.