Humans are fickle. Nebuchadnezzar was praising and promoting Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azarian (Abednego) one minute and then was ready to throw them into a fire the next! We can’t live for the approval of people. They are unreliable and we should only seek to please God and desire His approval. If you know that you are doing what God has called you to do, you do not need to feel obligated to explain yourself to others. It is not your responsibility to make people see or understand your walk with God.
But what happens when your walk with God gives even you pause? What happens when it seems like God is leading you right off the edge of a cliff?
Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azarian (Abednego) were in that very situation. They knew that their obedience to God could very well mean their deaths. They knew that God could save them, but they didn’t know if that was His plan. Even if God did not save them, they still trusted, believed and did what God called them to do. 1 Peter 1:7 says:
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Maybe what you’re going through is to strengthen your faith and cause you to walk closer to God. Up until verse 19, Nebuchadnezzar was willing to talk it out with them – then he changed. Just like that! He was furious. Don’t let what others say to you deter you from doing what God has called you to do. Nebuchadnezzar ordered the fire 7 times hotter! Does it seem like your family or friends turn on you when you need them the most? This may be part of the process. If you’re used to depending on a parent, close friend or significant other instead of God, He may be removing them from the equation to make sure that you don’t have any distractions. Go to God with your problems.
In verse 25 even though death seemed like the only outcome of being thrown into the fire – it wasn’t! God was with them. He protected them – but they had to actually step into the fire to see how God would work it out. If Hananiah, Mishael and Azarian had given into their fears and bowed down to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, it would have affected them, but it also would have affected everyone else that witnessed their miracle that day as well as the billions of people that have benefited from reading their story in the Bible.
In verse 27 they come out of the fire that killed the guards that merely got too close! They didn’t even smell like smoke!! That is what walking close to God will do for you. All the people around you may fall away, be scared to continue down the right path that leads to God, but hold on to Him andHe will direct your paths. You will go through your own fires in life, but if you trust God and allow Him to guide you through it, He will protect you and you won’t be touched.
Verse 28 – Your obedience may save someone else’s life. Deuteronomy 28:7 says:
The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
Enemies will come at you. God doesn’t promise a carefree life on earth. But when enemies come, if you stay with Him, and obey Him, they will flee. Ephesians 6:12:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
It may seem like our issues have to do with the people in our lives. A boss that is too demanding, a spouse that is hard to get along with, a child that seems to keep choosing the wrong path, but in fact there is a much bigger battle going on and it is a spiritual battle. The devil will use anything, any person to try to distract and discourage you; to pull you off course and get you to believe that God doesn’t care or that He doesn’t exist. 1 Samuel 17:47 says:
All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you have to fight by yourself. Rest. Give it to God. He is the only one that can handle our issues. Let Him step in front of you and protect and guide you out of the battle.