Daniel 3:18 – But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (NIV)
Man! I sure do love it when a verse makes me want to read other verses. I don’t know why I get amped like that.
Recently, we were given a piece of art with only the words “Even if (Daniel 3:18)” and it made me look at those two words as being ridiculously powerful. Wə-hên.
The speaker in this verse knew God was able to deliver them from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. They had no doubt that their God was the real one in power. They also were well aware that God’s will may not be to save them. Even if God didn’t save them from the fire, and even if they became aware that He wouldn’t, it wouldn’t change their mind about not serving the gods that the King commanded.
“Even if” isn’t a statement of defeat. It is an answer to Hebrews 11:1:
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (NIV)
The word for ‘confidence’ and ‘assurance’ here is hypostasis. When you know that something can happen or is going to happen, you have faith in it. But the point here isn’t blind faith. They didn’t know that God was going to deliver them from the fire. They absolutely knew that He could, making two statements to the King: 1) Their God was THE God. 2) He had the power to overrule the King’s actions.
So what did the speaker of Daniel 3:18 have faith in?
Daniel 3:16-17 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. (NIV)
The Three Amigos of the book of Daniel were well aware of what their God was able to do. Not only what He was able to do, but that they knew that God was going to deliver them from the King’s grasp completely regardless of what happened. Even if it meant dying in a blazing furnace.
Even if God doesn’t do what He does have the power to do, it doesn’t matter. I think that is a bittersweet lesson. The point isn’t our safety and comfort. The point isn’t even our well being. The point is that God is able, and one way or another, He will deliver us. For three, that meant being safe from the flames in the furnace, for some it may mean being cured of a disease, for some it will mean being redeemed in the last days. One way or another, we are His.
What is your ‘Even If’?