2022 Countdown of the top ten most viewed posts. This post was first published January 11, 2022.
Many times I have read the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and how they were saved from a fiery furnace (Daniel 3). I am impressed by the dedication of the three men to God and their decision not to worship the image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar — to the point of being tossed into a fiery furnace. However, when I read it this time, I was struck by the parallels to eternal death.
Every day our faith in Jesus is challenged by the gods of this world. It is a challenge so eloquently expressed by Joshua: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:14, NASB).”
King Nebachadnezzer gives a similar loyalty challenge to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego: “But if you do not worship, (the idol) you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands? (Daniel 3:15).” To which the three men resolutely respond, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:16-17).”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as well as Joshua, demonstrated an unflinching devotion to God. When challenged each day on who to follow, do you respond as they did and say that no matter what happens, my loyalty remains with God? Ultimately, our loyalty to God or to the gods of this world will determine our eternal fate. As Nebachdanezzer stated, “you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Indeed, what god is there who can save you from certain eternal death? The God who created the heavens and the earth; who sent his son Jesus to save you. Faith in Jesus Christ will save you from eternal fire, separated from God. “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:35).”
© 2022, CGThelen
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:14-15
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Revelation 21:7-8