After Daniel successfully interpreted the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the King placed him in a very high place within his government, much to the dismay of most of his court which saw Daniel as a devout Jew and therefore a threat to Babylon's gods. They wanted to find some fault with Daniel that could be used to show that he was not a faithful follower of the King, thereby causing his demise or even death. They couldn't find sufficient reason, but they did find that his three devoted followers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, each holding prestigious provincial positions, refused to follow the King's edict of worshiping false idols and they reported them to Nebuchadnezzar. They would use these three men as their way of getting to Daniel, showing him that he was being watched for all time.
Nebuchadnezzar was furious and immediately summoned the three Jewish scholars to him where he gave them a choice. They could either embrace his requirement for fealty to him and his false gods and images and retain their prestigious positions or face death in the fiery furnace. The three devout followers of Jehovah took the second option, the fire was stoked higher than it ever was before and they were thrown into it. Nebuchadnezzar and his loyalists watched with satisfaction.
Much to their astonishment, however, the men did not come ablaze, nor did they scream in pain. They just calmly stood there with a fourth person, The Lord and Savior to come, showing his presence among them. Nebuchadnezzar immediately called them to walk out of the fire and they did so, showing no evidence of any burning, no singed hair or clothing smelling of smoke. He acknowledged the special power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and restored them to their positions of honor. The King was obviously touched, but would it last?
We'll find out more about what happened to Nebuchadnezzar and the future of Babylon next week. And as for Daniel? He wept with joy when he was reunited with his brave devoted friends, yet he knew that no matter how joyous the occasion, they were all still basically slaves of Babylon, for they were still hundreds of miles from their Promised Land where they wanted to be. They had faith, however, that if they continued to be true to God and follow His direction, the day of their return to their beloved Jerusalem would come.
Next week: The Lion Tamer on Sunday Morning Coming Down.