We do not know where Daniel was at this time, but Daniel's three friends had been there, and had refused to bow down to the image. Someone then reported them to the proper authorities - the king!
Now let's just look at this a bit. It was the Chaldeans who made the report. In this case, this was not referring to the race of people as a whole. There were a particular group of Chaldeans who were a class of wise men priests.
They were among the king's select servants (mentioned in Daniel 2:2), which also included the magicians (textual scribes of the religious ritual), the conjurers (who practiced magic and reached out to the dead or spiritual realm), and the sorcerers (also known as enchanters, who specialized in magic potions).
It was this entire group who could not describe or interpret Nebuchadnezzar's disturbing dream. They all would have been executed had it not been for Daniel and his three friends who had all prayed for God's guidance (Daniel 2:17).
So, these Chaldeans were not grateful for being kept alive, but rather, they were jealous and threatened by these men, and were probably watching them closely - just waiting for them to make a mistake in order to get rid of them...
Nebuchadnezzar challenged the three friends, wanting them to change their minds! He knew how valuable they were to him and so he gave them a second chance. But notice how they responded. They knew God was able to save them, but they had no expectations. They were going to remain steadfast, even if it meant dying...
Nebuchadnezzar had the fire in the furnace made so hot, that the guards who got close to the fire were killed; but nothing happened to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.
As for the fourth "man" - we are not told if this was an angel or THE angel of the Lord (Jesus pre-incarnate). Either way, the three men were protected from the fire. They did not even smell of smoke. And Nebuchadnezzar had to give God credit!...
From this we see:
- angels can withstand fire
- angels can protect us from fire
Personal experience: we are so afraid of pain. And not just physical pain, but emotional pain. If we dare witness to a certain friend or family member, it might mean that they will reject us. But it is not about our personal comfort! We need to look at the bigger picture. It is about the other person's eternal salvation.
God promises that we will suffer for His namesake! Yet He also promises to never leave us! He promises to be our strength, guidance, love, joy, peace, hope... God will protect us spiritually, and He is able to protect us emotionally, financially and physically.
Now, I've burned myself a few times in my life - emotionally, financially - but also physically - I've literally burned myself. But there have been a few times when I have touched something very hot, and the skin was completely fine. From past experience, I know that at the very least, it should have been red and very tender, but it was like nothing happened.
I don't wonder why - because I have no idea. And I'm not going to try it again to prove anything. So in those moments, I can't help but just be thankful!!! And, be reminded that God is able to protect us!!! I am reminded of the words Jesus told his disciples...
(Luke 10:19) Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.
Today's takeaway: so there are definitely times when God will protect us. And just like Daniel's three friends, we should know that God CAN protect us, but even if He chooses not to, we should be willing to take a stand - even if it means that we might suffer (emotionally, financially, physically), or even die.
Easy to say. But in those moments - if we are truly looking to God - I believe God will give us the courage and strength! Like with Stephen! Here is an example of a man who had a very short, but very powerful ministry. God is able to work in so many ways!...
Stephen then delivered a God-inspired message, giving historical examples of how the Israelite leaders rejected God's prophets, and ended with this challenge...
(Philippians 4:13) I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
(Romans 8:28) And we know that God causes to together for to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.