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. (Daniel 3:18 NIV)
I will miss Murray. We used to chat every Sunday when he came to the church at about 9:15 am. My final visit with him was so profound. Murray told me that in Trinidad, his father would read him Bible passages during his childhood. His most favourite part of the Bible, is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; the friends of the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 3).
Israel is in exile in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar wants everyone in the kingdom to bow down to his idol of gold. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are Jews. They believe in the one God who created heaven and earth, not in an idol of gold. Therefore Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego will not bow down to that idol of gold. King Nebuchadnezzar says that anyone who does not bow down to the idol of gold will be thrown into the furnace of fire. King Nebuchadnezzar challenges Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to bow down to the idol of gold.
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. 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.’ (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)
This is faith in God. They believe that God will save them from the blazing furnace. Even if their God does not save them, they will not bow down to that idol of gold.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the blazing furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar is so angry that he orders the furnace to be 7 times hotter. Even the guards who bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to the furnace get burned up.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisors, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’ (Daniel 3:24-25 NIV)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego come out of the blazing furnace alive. Who is that 4th person? Later King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God sent an angel to the 3 men and rescued them. (Daniel 3:28)
Murray tells me that he loves this story because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego go into the fire and they come out alive. When I think of Murray’s life, it is true. There have been many times where he has been through the fire and has come out alive. God saved him from that fire or sent an angel to help him out of it. Murray went home to be with his God on Sept. 11. Now he’s been through the final fire in his life. This time he has come out on the other side more than alive. Murray was a church usher. Now God has ushered Murray into God’s presence. I will certainly miss Murray.