Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…
I. THE PERSON WHO CAUSED IT TO BE MADE. This Oriental despot was then in the zenith of his glory. He was the acknowledged master of the world. The pomp and pageantry, of that religious gathering has never been surpassed. In deep awe, "they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up" (v. 4).
II. THE PERSONS WHO WERE CAST INTO THIS BURNING FIERY FURNACE AND WHY. These were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego — "the three Hebrew children," who were carried to Babylon in captivity B.C. 606. They were of royal birth. They first came into notice in refusing to eat the "king's meat." Why were they cast into the burning furnace? It was because they refused to do that which would offend the living God. Listen to the answer given by those Hebrews: "Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (v. 18). What is our answer? Observe, there is one great word in this verse now quoted. It is the word "not"! "We will not serve thy gods"! O this word, "not"! How grand it is!
1. It contains all the decision of Daniel 5:16. There they say: "We are not careful to answer thee in this matter." "There is no need for talk on this subject, O king. You are determined what to do; so, also, are we!" Glorious decision! There is never any "not" where there is the least hesitation or parleying with sin.
2. This word "not" contains all the faith of Daniel 5:17. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning furnace." This is what the great Paul once said: "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18). How glorious such a trust!
3. The "not" before us contains the profoundest courage. It was popular that day to bow to the image; the lend-mouthed "herald" proclaimed the penalty of not worshipping. Yet the brave men spoke out courageously. With decision, faith, and courage, we can alone stand against the evils of our day. Because Shadrach and his friends said "net," they were cast into the fire.
III. THE PERSON WHO DELIVERED THEM, AND WHY. It was Almighty God (v. 28). Why? Because they "trusted in Him" (v. 28). This the verse referred to in Hebrews 11:33, 34 — "who through fire subdued kingdoms"! It is faith that overcomes the world. Faith is the mighty moral force of the age. The Apostles said unto the Lord, and so should we, "Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5). Observe:
1. The completeness of this deliverance: "Nor was an hair of their head singed" (v. 27). So God always saves — it is complete, or not at all.
2. They were thrown into the furnace "bound," but soon they walked through the flames "loose" (v. 24, 25). O how Satan has tried to bind us in our afflictions, but in the greatest sorrow — when the furnace has been heated "seven times," we have had both freedom and joy. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
IV. THE PERSONS BENEFITED BY THE FIERY FURNACE, AND WHY.
1. The three Hebrews were benefited by receiving another wonderful evidence of the power of grace; by being promoted to a higher official rank in the kingdom (v. 30). This was the result of decision, faith, and courage.
2. Nebuchadnezzar was benefited by being brought back to the knowledge of God which, years before, he had professed (Daniel 2:47).
3. No doubt the great multitude which that day had worshipped the golden image was benefited. They all saw that the true God was He whom the Hebrews worshipped. Decision for the Lord Jesus is the best way to win the wicked to His worship and service.
(Alfred W. Moment.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
WEB: Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his appearance was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: [therefore] he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.