This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. If people singing their favorite songs on American Idol are any indication of what is about to happen, I am going to seriously mess up in making this moving and helpful.
To sum up, Nebuchadnezzar has received accusations that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not bowing down before his golden idol. He tries to give them a break and say that if they will bow down just now all that is past will be forgiven and they will not be executed in the fiery furnace. Being faithful Jews, they will not bow down to the idol. Instead of begging for their lives or giving in, the three friends confront Nebuchadnezzar with the power of God.
The king asked who could save them out of his hands, they reply that God can save them and that Nebuchadnezzar is powerless to stop God. God is able to deliver from the fire of the furnace in which they were to be burned. They even claim God is going to save them. Now here comes the best part. Shadrech, Meshach, and Abednego tell the king, “even if God does not deliver us, we will still not bow down to your gods.”
That attitude, that faith that knows God can save me, but He may not choose to rescue me this time, and even if He doesn’t He is still God and I will still trust and follow Him, amazes and inspires me. It is the opposite of so much of our hearts. We worship God trying to get Him to make our lives easier or better. And He does do that. But the tried and tested faith of these three men, who have seen God not rescue Israel but rescue them from the kings wrath as boys and as wise men, gives them the strength to see their own potential deaths as something other than God failing them.