This chapter is full of amazing miracles, giant furnaces, roaring lions, and some really rad names.
The King was looking for some trainees to go through a little course, and eventually be readied up to serve in the palace. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were four of the men chosen, and they were orientated into the programme, being told they would be given wine and food daily. Daniel wasn’t keen to ‘defile himself’ with the royal food. Now, what was so bad about the king’s food? You’d think it’d be pretty good coming from the palace?
Well in the Old Testament, there were requirements and methods for cooking and eating food, in honour to glorify God the most in that. The King probably wasn’t following many of these guidelines given by God. Daniel wanted to honour God in everything he did, and this was an area he wasn’t willing to make exceptions in.
So Daniel requested that him, and the other 3 guys would only eat vegetables and water instead of the royal food. Through this steadfastness for God’s word, they were blessed with knowledge and understanding, and for Daniel especially, the ability to interpret dreams and visions, at the end of the palace training.
So King Nebuchadnezzar had a weird dream, and he called upon some of the wise men to interpret the dream for him. He wasn’t sold on their ability though, so, as a test, refused to tell them his dream for them to interpret. The men were so ridiculously confused – how could they possibly tell the King what his dream meant, if the King wouldn’t even tell them his dream!? The King was mad that they simply weren’t as magical as they’d like them to be, and sentenced every single ‘wise man’ to death – including Daniel and the lads!
But Daniel prayed, and God revealed to him Neb’s dream and the meaning. When he told the King what he’d been shown – giving all the glory to God – Neb promoted Daniel to advisor, and upon Daniel’s request, promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to advisor over a smaller province as well. This was great – God was using these men in these areas! So great! Until…
The smaller province Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were advising declared a new rule, that this giant golden idol that had been made was to be bowed down too on command whenever a sound played in the town. Whoever didn’t bow down to the statue would be put in a giant furnace to their death. And sure enough, the lads refused to bow down, and were taken to the furnace.
Now this isn’t just your average grandma’s oven we’re talking about. This isn’t a little coal pit or a bonfire – this is a fire SOOO hot, that the soldiers who took them to the fire died instantly. So the three men were thrown in, and while the King waited and watched for them to die, he noticed something strange. There were 4 figures in the fire?!
An angel of God had gone into the fire with them, and on request, the three men walked out of the fire alive, without a single burn or spot. They didn’t even smell! Isn’t that insane?!
The next part of the story is pretty well known, and happened to our good buddy Daniel. A new king was in charge, and he loved Daniel, but his other advisors were pretty jealous. They convinced the king to create a law causing anyone who prayed to another God to be thrown into a den of lions, and would pretty surely die. Daniel prayed, his jealous colleagues told the king, and although the king didn’t want to harm Daniel, he had no choice but to throw him in the den. But when the morning came, Daniel was alive and fine. He’d prayed and God had literally shut the mouth of the lions. Now, I can’t say I’ve seen many lions in action, but I’m 99% sure most hungry lions aren’t quite the same as Simba from The Lion King (but don’t quote me on it).
What an awesome chapter of God’s incredible ability to make the impossible possible.
Reflecting on your own faith, is there an area in your life where you might be making just a few too many exceptions in your faith? Are you living your faith with integrity and truth, like Daniel and the lads were?
Where in your life might you need to believe that God can do the impossible more? Sometimes we forget how truly powerful God is. Do you need to be reminded that nothing is ever too big (or too small) for God?