When the mighty king of Babylon was told that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had not worshiped his golden image, how did he respond?
Daniel 3:13-18 (KJV)
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Verse 13 tell us that King Nebuchadnezzar had the three men brought before him. What question did he ask in verse 14? He asked the three men if what he had heard was true, that they didn't serve his gods or worship the golden image. Undoubtedly, Nebuchadnezzar was aware that these men worked as government officials, but it does seem likely that Daniel was not in Babylon at the time, since he is not mentioned. In verse 15 the king gave the men another chance. If they fell down and worshiped, everything would be well, but if they didn't what would happen to the men? They would be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. What else did the king say? The king asked, "Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" Remember how Nebuchadnezzar had acknowledged that Daniel's God was the greatest God in chapter 2? He seemed to have forgotten his experience with Daniel's God and how Daniel had told the king about his dream and its interpretation. Before we cast any disparaging comments about Nebuchadnezzar's stupidity, we should recognize that we, as humans, are a very forgetful, ungrateful race as a whole. Nebuchadnezzar, after all, was the most powerful man in the world at the time. The proud are the most forgetful and ungrateful people! In verse 16 how did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answer the king? Their response indicated that they were not trying to give the king crafty ideas about why they behaved as they did. Verses 17 and 18 gives their forthright answer. If the men were thrown into the furnace, their God would be able to deliver them. However, if even their God did not deliver them they still would not serve Nebuchadnezzar's gods, nor worship the golden image.
This portion of Daniel teaches us a great deal about God's sovereignty, our prayers, our expectations of prayer, and faith.
God is in control of all things. He does what He knows is best according to His plans. When we pray we don't command a genie to do our will, rather we pray that God's will is done. When we pray for particular outcomes, God may veto them if our prayers are against His will. Yet, true faith understands that whatever God does is right and we will accept His will.
What happened next? Were the men thrown into the fiery furnace? If they were, did God deliver them or not? Stay tuned!