36 x 48
Gouache, chalk, pencil, and ink on canvas
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had
no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.Daniel 3:24-27
God Is Always On Time
It's difficult to imagine who was more shocked: King Nebuchadnezzar, or Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah once their feet hit the floor of the furnace! In the painting, the youths rejoice with great joy because God has done exceedingly abundantly above what they were able to ask or even think! They have met in a theophany (brief manifestation of God) the One who embodies the sum of their Hebraic names, and He who is a Consuming Fire has neutralized the
fiery inferno meant to consume them.
A King Acknowledges the
King of Kings
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Liberty to Worship
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the kingpromoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
Faith Brings Results
The faith of these three young men resulted in far more than their initial deliverance. An idolatrous king found himself blessing the God they served; declaring a decree which would grant them—and
by extension the other captives of Judah—freedom to worship the God of their fathers, and an increased promotion of their administrative positions in the province of Babylon. Quite an
The Original Cold Flame
Relevance For Today
There are several lessons for our time we can take away from this story:
* In Daniel 3:28, king Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that thethree youths have "yielded their bodies, that they might notserve nor worship any god, except their own God." We are admonished in the New Testament in Romans 12:1 to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service." We are not our own, we are bought with a price. Our lives and our bodies belong to God.
*Secondly, we should remember that no man, or Satan himself, can take our lives without God's express permission. God holds our lives in His hand and all power belongs to Him.
*Lastly, Jesus taught that we should seek not the honor that comes from man, but the honor that comes from God alone. Many Western Christians want to have a "Christian" government and bemoan that America cannot be a "Christian nation." If we learn anything from the ordeal of Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah, it is that Christians are not called to labor to change a government in order to make it easy for them to practice their faith.
If however, they are faithful and shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, God is able to turn the heart of the ruler to guarantee their liberty to worship...The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)
!! ARTIST OBSERVATION !!
An hour of testing like this is coming for all who hold the testimony of Jesus Christ. When it does, sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.