Like Jeremiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego find themselves in a pit because they were obedient to God.
But their pit is a bit more extreme in that it has flames. Super stoked, fatally hot, unrelenting killer flames. Their pit was a furnace.
They were thrown in simply because they refused to bow down and worship a statue of the king.
This was a bold move at the time. Everyone else was doing it. But our three heroes refused to bow to peer pressure and bow to anything or anyone other than God.
The king gave them one more chance, warning them if they didn’t bow, they would be thrown in the furnace and even God couldn't save them there.
That sounds like a challenge.
“We won’t bow, ever, so go ahead and throw us in... our God can save us.. and even if he doesn’t, that’s ok too!”
Even if He doesn’t? What kind of faith is that?
It was actually pretty big faith. It was a faith that knew that God was not there to serve them, but they existed to serve and worship God. They existed because of God, and they trusted that no matter what happened, He was in control. It was a faith that knew that God's purposes would prevail, even if it cost them something.
And it appears to have cost them everything. The king is so incensed at their “rebellion” that he demands the furnace to be stoked to seven times hotter than usual. So hot that when the soldiers threw the three men into the flames, the soldiers themselves died from the heat.
But what of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They were tied up! How could they survive?
As the king looked in the furnace he saw the men UNTIED, and walking around freely in the flames! But wait! There is someone else in there too And it looks like God!
So it was there, when things were at their bleakest, that the three men met God face to face. Not on some mountaintop, but rather in a pit of fire.
God could have delivered them before it got to that point , I’m sure. But that would have been at best, just an escape that would only have made the king more angry. Perhaps the furnace would have been stoked ten times hotter the next time.
No, this way, although the hard way, was the right way. Because the king saw that there was a God who could save them and in fact did save them. The king's heart softened and he brought them out of the furnace decreeing that no one could ever talk bad about this God that saved these men. And he promoted the men to higher positions because the king saw God with these men.
As you go through the furnaces you may face, think about this, people are watching you. People are wondering how you do it, and when they see how, when they see Jesus walking next to you, not removing the flames but walking with you through them, then that Is the stuff that changes hearts and lives.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went through a horrific experience. But they came out better for it, protected and promoted by the king, but really, protected and promoted by the KING!