The King's Fiery Furnace
King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had taken the people of Jerusalem captive. The king took the strongest, most intelligent and best-looking captives to live in his palace in Babylon. He fed them the best food; he educated them and trained them to work for him throughout the land.
Among the finest of his captives were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three young boys refused to eat the rich food and wine that the King gave them, but rather ate only vegetables and drank milk. This simple diet made the three boys stronger and more intelligent than all of the other young boys. The three young men also prayed to God three times each day and read His word daily. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were completely devoted to God and so they refused to worship any of the idols of King Nebuchadnezzar.
King Nebuchadnezzar made many conquests throughout the land. So, one day, he decided that he would declare himself to be a god and to have all of the people worship him. He ordered that a great statue of himself be built. It was a huge, gold idol about 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide and it was very costly. Then the king ordered everyone to bow down and worship the idol every time they heard the music play. And if they didn’t do as he had ordered they would be thrown into a blazing furnace.
Well, since Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego worshipped only the one true living God, they refused to bow down to the idol. Some of the people who did not like the three young men went and told this to the king. This made King Nebuchadnezzar very mad and he ordered them to be brought to him. They told the king that they could not obey his command even though they knew the consequences. They told the king, “Our God is able to deliver us from the burning furnace. Nevertheless, even if He does not deliver us from the furnace we shall not fall down and worship your statue since we worship the Lord God and Him alone do we worship”.
So, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be fired up seven times hotter than it usually was and the young boys to tied up and thrown into the furnace. The furnace was so hot that it killed the men who threw them in. The king was amazed when he looked into the fire and exclaimed, “Did we not cast three men, bound, into the fire?’ The king’s men answered, “Yes, that is correct, and the men who threw them into the flames died because of the great heat.” “Look, said the King. I see four men, loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt. The form of the fourth man is like the Son of God!”
The king called them to come out of the furnace and when they came out they were not hurt at all! Their hair had not been burned and they didn’t even smell like smoke! Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His Angel to protect and deliver His servants who trusted in Him! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego worshipped and praised God for delivering them from the fiery furnace, and they continued to worship Him all the days of their lives.