“…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…” – Daniel 3:17-18
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were men who set themselves to prayer and devotion to God daily and consistently. It is through this prayer that they communed with God directly, and He is the one that gave them this resolve to stand in the face of adverse conditions. They did not stand there in pity but in strength. Even though they were threatened with being thrown into the fiery furnace, they would still not bow down.
There are many words in these verses, but my favorite ones are “But if not.” What do these words reveal to us? Some today believe in positive and negative confession. The thought behind this is that if you believe in something enough you can speak it into existence. However, if it doesn’t happen then the claim is that you just did not have enough faith. Is that really what the Bible teaches us? Or, does it teach us to have confidence in the One who can do all things and submit to His plan even if it is contrary to what we want?
I do not believe these men doubted God at all. They knew God could save them. But, that is what they wanted; who wouldn’t? They were humble men though and were willing to submit their will to God’s. It was like they were saying, “Hey, God can pull this off and save us, we know that! But, whatever His will for us is, we accept it.” Jesus said the same thing in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Regardless of consequences, true faith confesses the Lord and obeys Him. These three Jews were men of faith but not presumptuous. They did not know what God willed for their situation. They simply obeyed God and knew that He would do what was best. The three Hebrews knew God could save them yet would trust Him even if He chose not to. This is how true faith is supposed to work and operate in our lives.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fall, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18
“Help me to see how good they will is in all, and even when it crosses mine teach me to be pleased with it.” – The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions