Pastor Josh Combs
“And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: …Mishael he called Meshach…” Daniel 1:7
Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t believe his own eyes. To confirm his sense of sight, he spoke to these men who were walking around in the flames. “Servants of the Most High God,” he called them, “come out, and come here!” For the first time (not the last) in Babylon, God’s men “came out from the fire” (Daniel 3:26) escaping what for everyone else would have meant certain doom.
Ironically, both the God of Heaven and Nebuchadnezzar had had similar ideas for these three Hebrew men. The Babylonian king intended to use their public execution as an example and display of his power. God too was using these three Hebrew men as a public example of His unmatched power. The Bible clearly states that “the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men” (3:27). Both the king and the audience that was gathered to worship the great idol were perplexed.
Only one truth could explain this miraculous escape. The God of these men had rescued them. This served as a two-fold testimony. First, the king and his pagan counselors realized their powerlessness in the face of Yahweh. Second, and this is the most troubling, the exiled Hebrews who had compromised by worshipping the great statue were reminded that the one true God was not limited by national boundaries. He was God in Jerusalem, in Babylon, and the entire world.
To return His people to this truth and the worship of the one true God, three Hebrew men had to courageously face their death. But what followed was a testimony of God’s promises and faithfulness to His servants. The Babylonian king made a bold decree:
“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” (Daniel 3:29).
Upon arrival in Babylon, Mishael’s name had been changed to Meshach. Mishael means “Who is like the Lord?” whereas Meshach means “Who is what Aku is?” There the conflict was unavoidable. In Babylonian (Chaldean) culture, Aku was the supreme deity. In the flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, God proved that He was supreme ruler of the universe, unmatched by any fabricated Babylonian deities, and sovereign over all the affairs of men.
The proverbial fork in the road of this story begins all the way back in Daniel chapter 1. Thousands of Hebrews were exiled into Babylon and yet only four remained faithful to God’s standard and steadfast in their worship of God. In our world, are we the compromisers or the champions of God’s standards?
When we compromise, we miss out on seeing the grand display of God’s unique, unmatched glory in our lives. When we champion His unique, inimitable character, we personally experience His presence, protection, and provision, and we also call His people back to faithful worship of the Lord.
Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 3:26-30; Romans 12:2