Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Daniel 3:13-16 (NIV).
Have you ever been furious with rage? I’ve seen people so furious with rage and unquenched anger that they become like someone else altogether. When the rage takes over, we often can’t stop ourselves from saying or doing unthinkable things the calm us wouldn’t consider. People often say they “see red” when that happens. In those moments, Satan laughs in delight.
Yet the cure for the common rage is the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. When we rest in the peace of Jesus, it’s Satan who becomes furious with rage, yet his rage can’t harm us where it matters most. Where it matters most, the peace of Jesus Christ is still in control, still dominates, still is more powerful that the strongest thermonuclear fury.
Nebuchadnezzar thought of himself as a god. He was furious beyond reason that these three impertinent Jews didn’t see things the way he did. He had given an order and they damn well better obey it! Yet, when brought before the king, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood up for God instead of bowing to Nebuchadnezzar’s god of the self. They went along with having their names changed to these new Babylonian ones, and they went along with serving Nebuchadnezzar faithfully in all matters governmental. But when it came to compromising their faith in the God of Israel, they refused to budge.
Recall that all this came about as a matter of political revenge that the slighted court magicians had designed. Nebuchadnezzar told the three they would be thrown into a blazing furnace, one so hot it would incinerate them in agony. He thought it would convince them to bend to his will, yet they stood in faith instead. Thomas (a) Becket, Thomas More, Nathan Hale, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King: people who also stood on faith and principle and were martyred for it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew they were setting themselves up for a similar fate. But instead of caving to fear, they trusted the peace of God to get them through. And He would. All the rage of Babylon couldn’t stop it.
For further reading: 2 Chronicles 32:15, Isaiah 46:1, Philippians 4:7, Daniel 3:17
Lord, I trust You and Your peace.
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