“Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual”
Fourth of July is tomorrow. Many families are planning to participate in neighborhood parties, cookouts, and local parades. My family is used to being hot on this national holiday. We took our children to the zoo when they were in the single-digit age range. Watching elephants was one of the hot highlights of the event, but the snake house was one of the cool highlights. I treasured the air conditioned building and didn’t pay much attention to the creepy residents winding through their small grassy habitat. That wasn’t my favorite place, but it was a great place to hide from the heat.
Another place to hide from heat is the presence of God. Just ask three young men who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they refused to worship the king’s gods. The king found out they weren’t following his orders and asked them about it – giving them a chance to change their minds.
Verses 16 through 18 tell us, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’”
Verse 19 tells us the king’s orders were his way of challenging the young men’s ideas of being saved from instant death. However, after they were thrown into the furnace, it was instantly apparent that they were in the presence of God. God not only saved them from the heat, but joined them in it.
The king got an education that day and made it known that he’d changed his mind about the young men and their refusal to worship other gods. He learned that the God these men had been willing to die for was the only God who could save them.
If you’re in the heat this week or weekend, remember that it’s cooler in the presence of God.
Thanks for seeking God with me today.