Daniel 3:1-12 the king had made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits
Spencer W. Kimball
We remind ourselves of the integrity of the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who like Daniel defied men and rulers, to be true to themselves and to keep faith with their faith. They were required by decree of the emperor to kneel down and worship a monumental image of gold which the king had set up. In the face of losing caste, of losing position, of angering the king, they faced the fiery furnace rather than to fail and deny their God. The cunningly devised scheme worked as the vicious planners expected. The dedication must have been exciting with the people from far and near attending. Had there ever been such an image? such a spectacle? Ninety feet of gold in the form of a man-what could be more scintillating, more sparkling? There must have been almost countless people milling in the streets and in the area where the gigantic image stood when the herald announced the procedure and the decree that all must kneel at the sound of the music and all must worship the image. Neither the cunning of the deceivers, the conspiring, cunning tricksters, nor the fear of the king and what he could do to them, dissuaded the three courageous young men from their true path of rightness. When the pre-arranged sounds of the cornet, flute, harp and other instruments reverberated through the area and the masses of men and women everywhere filled their homes and the streets with kneeling worshippers of the huge golden image, three men refused to insult their true God. They prayed to God, and when confronted by the raging and furious emperor king, they courageously answered in the face of what could be certain death:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Dan. 3:17-18.)
Though they did not know the will of God, though they did not know for sure if the Lord would save them, it mattered not. Right was right and their faith sustained them. Their answer was not contingent upon the Lord performing a miracle. They were content to do right and let the consequence follow, be it rescue or death. (February 25, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964 19.)
Daniel 3:16 we are not careful to answer thee in this matter
Protocol requires that when the king asks you a question, you better give the right answer. Usually that means plenty of praise for the king, stroking the royal ego, and a long explanation of one's love for and loyalty to the throne.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego will do no such thing. They are breaking with protocol. They are not going to choose their words carefully; they are going to bluntly declare "We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image" even if it costs them their lives.
I often admire the answer of those men, placed as they were in such a perplexing position. A person might be brought before the Emperor of France or Russia and get along very well; but it was something awful to come in collision with a man like Nebuchadnezzar, whose will was as the word of the Almighty, and had never been disobeyed. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 13: 259)
Daniel 3:18 but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods
Neal A. Maxwell
We have been given three special words-but if not-by three submissive young men who entered their fiery furnace, knowing "our God ... is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, ... But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods." (Dan. 3:17-18; italics added.) ("Willing to Submit," Ensign, May 1985, 72)
Neal A. Maxwell
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not know if God would spare them from the fiery furnace. They simply said: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:17-18.)
Note the words "but if not." These are words of unconditional commitment. The possibility of "if" was with these three until the very moment of their rescue, but they had determined their course regardless. Sometimes we must "take the heat," even if we are not certain the thermostat of trial will soon be turned down.
When we have that kind of courage, neither will we walk alone in our own "fiery furnace," for, as is recorded in Daniel, there was a fourth Form in that fiery furnace with the valiant threesome, and the Form was "like the Son of God"! (Daniel 3:25.) (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 48)
Gene R. Cook
My, what a great lesson is taught there. Those boys knew that God had power to deliver them, but they weren't positive that that was his will. Yet, in humility, they relied on the mercy of their Lord and trusted him to do what was best. (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 63)
Daniel 3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury
Howard W. Hunter
Of course Nebuchadnezzar was more furious than ever and ordered that one of the furnaces be heated to seven times its normal temperature. Then he commanded that these three valiant young men be thrown fully clothed into the midst of the fire. Indeed, the king was so insistent and the flame so hot that the soldiers who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego fell dead from the heat of the furnace as they cast their captives forward.
Then transpired one of those great miracles to which the faithful are entitled according to the will of God. These three young men stood and walked about calmly in the midst of the furnace and were not burned. Indeed, when they were later called out of the furnace by the astonished king himself, their clothing was untarnished, their skin was free from any burn, not a hair of their head was singed. Not even the smell of smoke had come upon these courageous, committed young men.
"Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego," said the king, "who hath ... delivered his servants that trusted in him, ... [who] yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
"... Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon." (Dan. 3:28, 30.)
The ability to stand by one's principles, to live with integrity and faith according to one's belief-that is what matters, that is the difference between a contribution and a commitment. That devotion to true principle-in our individual lives, in our homes and families, and in all places where we meet and influence other people-that devotion is what God is ultimately requesting of us. ("Standing As Witnesses of God," Ensign, May 1990, 61)
Daniel 3:25 I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt
Neal A. Maxwell
If students wonder if God will be with them in the midst of their fiery trials, why not link these verses:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you (1 Pet. 4:12).
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 (Dan. 3:25).
The lesson is that God will be with us in the midst of our fiery trials. ( "Teaching Opportunities from the Old Testament," Ensign, Apr. 1981, 61)
Neal A. Maxwell
We can be assured, however, when recalling how some other young disciples were tested in the fiery furnace years ago (Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego), that the Lord did not let them pass through that test alone. When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fiery furnace, he saw a fourth figure "and the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God." (Dan. 3:25.) The Lord will not let us suffer alone but will be close to us as we pass through these soul-stretching experiences. ("The Christ-Centered Life," Ensign, Aug. 1981, 17)
Daniel 3:26 Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire
Neal A. Maxwell
There are many who suffer so much more than the rest of us: some go agonizingly; some go quickly; some are healed; some are given more time; some seem to linger. There are variations in our trials but no immunities. Thus, the scriptures cite the fiery furnace and fiery trials (see Dan. 3:6-26; 1 Pet. 4:12). Those who emerge successfully from their varied and fiery furnaces have experienced the grace of the Lord, which He says is sufficient (see Ether 12:27). Even so, brothers and sisters, such emerging individuals do not rush to line up in front of another fiery furnace in order to get an extra turn! ("From Whom All Blessings Flow," Ensign, May 1997, 11-12)
Daniel 3:28 the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego... sent his angel, and delivered his servants
Who is the angel who delivered these servants? It is the same individual who was in the fiery furnace with a form "like the Son of God." We might not always think of using the term "angel" to describe the Lord Himself, but occasionally the scriptures use "angel" in this manner (BD, "Angels").
Daniel 3:28-29 Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
When Nebuchadnezzar saw four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, unhurt; and the fourth like unto the Son of God-how changed was the scene! Nebuchadnezzar was converted by the power that he saw manifested, and he issued a decree saying, "That every people, nation, and language which spake anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill." In this way was the Lord able to touch the heart of a heathen king, and to turn the heart of a nation. And I will say to the Latter-day Saints-you may call it prophecy if you choose-that if this people will be united and will keep the commandments of God, God will turn the popular sentiment of this nation in our favor; the nation will feel disposed to bestow upon us favor instead of persecution and destruction. But it is our business to step forward as did Esther, and be willing to risk all for the salvation of the people. In undertaking her task, Esther said, "If I perish, I perish." Here is a lesson for our sisters. But the people of God will not perish. There will always be a ram caught in the thicket for their deliverance. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 23: 293)