CHAPTER 3 | Verses 20 - 30

Verse 20: “And the men who were valiant soldiers were commanded to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and cast them into the midst of the furnace that burns with fire.”

Valiant soldiers: These were men, in the army, who were loyal to Nebuchadnezzar.

Bind: This is an important word that repeats itself over and over in this passage. These three men were powerless and lost authority – even over their own bodies. They were unable to do what they wanted to do, but were at the mercy of others.

Verse 21: “Then these men were bound in their coats, in their trousers, in their turbans, and in the rest of their garments, and they were cast into the midst of the furnace that burns with fire.”

Verse 22: “Because of the barbaric charge of the king, the furnace was heated more than ever, and died by the flames of the fire those men that brought up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the furnace.”

Barbaric: Most translators translate this word as ‘urgent’.

Died by the flames of the fire: The fire was so intense that those who carried up Shadrach,

Meshach and Abed-Nego to toss them inside it were overcome by the heat and the flames and they lost their lives. The principle we can learn here is this: It is a dangerous thing to serve those whose words are in conflict with G-d. These men submitted to the wrong commandment, and, because of that, they died.

Verse 23 “And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego fell into the midst of the furnace that burns with fire, and they did so being bound.”

Three: The number three is used Biblically for the purpose of testing. It is only when we take a test that we discover (or it is revealed to us) how well we know the material that we are being tested on. These men did not fail their test – they continued to trust in and obey G-d.

Verse 24: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed; and he got up in fear and answered and said to his cabinet officials: ‘Surely, were there not three men cast into the furnace of fire and were they not bound?’ They answered and said to the king: ‘Correct is the matter.’”

 Bound: This word is repeatedly repeated. Repetition serves as emphasis. The enemy wants to control us, bind us, and keep us from being free (the opposite of redemption – Galatians 5:1).

What this fire did to these men was to burn off their bonds and set them free! (James 1:2-4). They were able to walk in the fire and be a testimony to their enemies.

Verse 25: “The king answered and said, ‘Behold, I see four men walking free in the midst of the fire, unhurt. And the appearance of the fourth one is as the appearance of the son of G-d.’”

Four: The number ‘four’ has global implications. This truth, being set free (from the bondage of sin), is important for ALL of mankind and not just a select few.

Walking (dancing, rejoicing): In Scripture, the term ‘walking’ has to do with lifestyle/behaviour.

These three men had a testimony of walking with Messiah Yeshua. They did not submit to the things of the world, but they submitted to G-d.

Free: The only effect that the hot fire had was to burn up that which bound them. That fire set them free, and here they are walking in that freedom! G-d didn’t deliver them FROM the fire.

He delivered them IN THE MIDST OF the fire. In the midst of the fire, they were not consumed (Exodus 3:2)

Son of G-d – We cannot be dogmatic about this but in all probability this is a reference to Messiah. When we suffer for Him, we are brought into fellowship with Him (Romans 8:16-17, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

Verse 26: “Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the entrance of the furnace that burns with fire, and he answered and said: ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High G-d, come forth!’ And Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego came out from before the midst of the fire.”

Most High G-d: A name of G-d that is usually understood as the One and Only, true, G-d. There is a renewal/repentance taking place in Nebuchadnezzar. By calling G-d this name it reveals to us that he has come to a place where he recognises that the images he has set up are not gods. He realises that they are going to ultimately be defeated.

Verse 27: “And the government officials, the rulers, the governors and the cabinet officials of the king were gathered, and they saw that the fire had no authority over the bodies of these men.

For the hair of their head was not singed, the appearance of their coats was not changed, and there was no smell of fire upon them.”

The fire had no authority: Why? Because G-d is a defender. G-d is able to keep us from harm. We do not need to worry about the enemies who threaten us.

Verse 28: “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said: ‘Blessed is the G-d of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, that sent His Messenger and saved His servants who trusted in Him, and who transgressed the commandment of the king, and offered up their bodies on account that they would not worship nor serve any other god but rather only their G-d alone!”

Blessed is the G-d: What Nebuchadnezzar is doing (worshipping G-d) is very reminiscent of what Daniel did when G-d revealed the dream and its interpretation to him in Daniel 2:20. Revelation leads to worship. G-d is emphasised in this verse.

Messenger: Angel. When we hear the word ‘angel’ we usually think of a created spiritual being. This same word, however, could simply mean ‘messenger’ – one who has been sent with a message to proclaim.

Trusted: If we expect G-d to deliver us it is presupposed that we are trusting in Him – without wavering or doubting. This passage is speaking about how G-d delivers us from the consequences of sin eternally. We do not need to worry about fire, condemnation etc because with Messiah we are going to overcome these things-

Transgressed the commandment of the king: We are commanded to be faithful to G-d.

Faithfulness to G-d might mean that we may disagree with or not be able to keep some governmental commandments (Acts 5:29).

Verse 29: “From me (Nebuchadnezzar is still speaking) goes forth the command that among all people, nation and language anyone who says a thing against the G-d of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego will have their limbs cut off, and their homes shall be made a heap of ash; because there is no one other who is able to save like Him.”

People, nation and language: These are written in the singular. The use of the singular is to show unity, togetherness. Obedience to G-d brings unity.

Verse 30: “And the king therefore exalted Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: These men were obedient to G-d and were willing to suffer for right.

Note: It is G-d alone who determines what is right and what is wrong. We are in no position whatsoever to question G-d on this. We are called to trust in Him, depend on him. These men were not under the false belief that they could control their circumstances, or make decisions (based on their limited intellect and faulty perspective) in order to work out their own
deliverance. As human beings we are absolutely in need of God’s deliverance in our lives. In all circumstances we need to trust and rely on G-d and follow His instructions – regardless of what the world says.


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