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  The Great Bible Story #78
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Trial by fire

Jacob Ninan
After Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream his empire represented by a head of gold, he made for himself an entire statue of gold, about 90 feet tall. This was possibly an expression of his desire for his empire to last forever. Then he made a royal decree that when the band played everyone must bow down before the statue in worship. Everyone did that, except Daniel's three friends. We don't know where Daniel was at that time, but from what we know about him we can be sure he also would not have bowed down to this statue. Some people who saw this went quickly and reported to the king that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were refusing to bow down.

Naturally the king became very angry to see that someone dared to disobey him, and asked for them to be brought before him immediately. Since they were part of his personal staff he was willing to give them one more chance to save themselves. He told them that the band would play again, and they had to bow down this time. He also warned them that if they still disobeyed him he would have them thrown alive into a fiery furnace.

Their reply showed their allegiance to God above all, and their trust and confidence in Him whatever happened. They replied to the king that they believed that their God was quite able to deliver them from the fire. But since they didn't know what exactly God would do, they also said that even if they were to die in the fire, they would still not bow down to this image. As Hebrew young men they knew that it would be totally against God to bow down to anyone or anything else.

As may be expected, this made the king more furious than ever. He ordered the soldiers to catch these three men and throw them into the fiery furnace, after making sure that the furnace was made seven times hotter. As these soldiers carried them to the furnace the fire was so hot that these soldiers were burnt to death. But as the three men fell into the fire, the ropes that tied them became loose and fell away, and they stood up in the fire unscathed by the fire. Not even one of their hairs was burnt! But, wonder of all, King Nebuchadnezzar looked at the furnace and he saw one more person inside the fire who looked like a god!

The king was both amazed and in fear. He called for the men to come out of the fire, and then there was not even a smell of fire on them. The king made a declaration that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego was the true God.


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