“But if not.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted God in the face of death. God might deliver them… “but if not” they refused to worship a false God. Their strength came from knowing God controlled kings… fire… guards… crowds… everyone and everything. Whatever might happen, it would not change the fact that God was sovereign. And so they had strength to stand.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to an idol. As a result they were cast into a furnace that was heated to seven times it’s normal temperature because of a King’s anger. The guards that threw them into the fire lost their life because the flames were so intense. But they themselves did not die. Instead, FOUR could be seen walking in the fire!
“But if not“ are words of absolute trust in God. “But if not” are the words of Hebrew boys who stood regardless of earthly consequences. They disobeyed the king of the most powerful nation in existence… Babylon… and put their lives in the hands of Jehovah God. They were commanded to bow to an idol, but they would not. The result of their defiance was to be cast into a furnace of fire.
Is “But if not” in our heart? Do we serve, worship, and love God only when we are blessed… safe… content and happy? Would we fall away if severe adversity hit us (Jesus said some will)? And if so, what would that reveal? Is God any less God and worthy of worship when He doesn’t do or act the way we expect?
Let’s change“But if not” to “Even when” for a moment. God is God even when… we lose our job. Even when… we are in adversity. Even when… everyone abandons us. Even when… tragedy surrounds us. Even when… there seems to be no hope. Even when… we face hardship. Even when… nothing goes our way. Even when all those things happen and more, God is no less God… He is still on His throne… He is still worthy of worship!
Christians answer those questions positively because God is sovereign. Because God is sovereign “The peace which surpasses all comprehension guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Does God always deliver us? No. Are there times when God does deliver? Yes. What is the difference? God’s sovereignty. Sometimes deliverance IS God’s will and times when it isn’t. HE decides which is which because He is sovereign. He makes those decisions because He is God. And so we have peace because God is worthy to be trusted…