Daily Bible Reading: Daniel 3

Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”​ (Daniel 3:13-18 NLT)
I admit it. I really like this chapter for the Bible. There a couple of things I see here.
First – The faith of these three men was based on what God could do, rather what God would do. They had faith that God had power over the heat and flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s fire. Their faith was also in a God that was bigger then they were.
Second – They did not believe God was some sort of cosmic genie or Santa Claus, whose sole reason for existence was to do what they wanted. They acknowledged God’s power, and also God’s will to choose when and how to exercise that power.
These are challenging theological positions for many people. On one hand, some find it difficult to believe God is more powerful than the natural forces we see in the world. They interpret God’s choice of inaction as inability. On the other hand, some struggle to believe in a God who does not respond to our every beck and call. (Such a belief system is strongly challenged when God chooses not to heal someone we believe is deserving of healing.) We often wrestle with God’s choices regarding how and when to exercise His power.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego may have wrestled. But ultimately, they drilled down to the very core of what they believed about God. They acknowledged their core belief was in a God who had the power to deliver them, but was under no obligation to do so. Then, they put their belief into action and trusted this God. What is at the core of your belief about God?