“He answered and said, ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25)
It is a small consideration in a remarkable story. Just another incredible feature alongside the extraordinary details of three resolute men, one egotistical king, an enormous blazing furnace, and the pile of garments that were unsinged. At the end of their arduous adventure, when the three finally disrobed from their cloaks, tunics, hats, and other miscellaneous garments that did not hold so much as a trace of smoke, do you imagine they were ever the same again?
Three Hebrews named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who would not bow to the king’s idol, were bound with ropes and thrown into the overheated furnace. But four men were visible within the canopy of flames as if strolling within the safety of a shaded arbor. I wonder how long they walked beside the “son of the gods” through this avenue of fire. The Scripture does not say, but we learn that when the king called their names, referring to them as “servants of the Most High God,” (Daniel 3:26) they simply “came out.”
Whoever heard of such a thing? Who has ever walked out unharmed from a fiery grave? King Nebuchadnezzar blessed God’s name, and clearly understood that God had miraculously “delivered his servants, who trusted in him” (Daniel 3:28). A pagan king recognized the sovereign power of God Almighty who overrules edicts and orchestrates deliverance for his people. Hundreds of years later we find that this is our story, too. God allows his servants all over the world who trust in him to experience deliverance in ways that defy human understanding.
Our circumstances and furnaces are completely different from theirs, but we share a common bond. When we are shoved or thrown or lumped into fiery places, when our hands and feet feel bound, we also can hang onto this incredible reminder that the Son of God walks beside us. Right where we are, with the heat turned up and the scorching flames visible on every side, we can experience the Savior’s presence. The three Hebrews did not escape by their own competency. Their strength, intelligence, or position in society did not save them. God did. God pulled them out. God provided their deliverance.
We, too, are “servants of the Most High God.” He will protect, provide, and deliver us in his time. And like those Hebrew men who were never the same again, we will forever have a story to tell.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell