BIBLE STORY: The fiery furnace. (Daniel 3)
BIBLE VERSE: “Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.” Proverbs 20:11 (NLT)
It can happen to a vital part of your car’s engine. It can happen to a dish in the microwave. It can happen to your home’s foundation. It can happen to a support beam in a bridge or a building. But no matter where it happens, it is bad when something cracks under pressure. Just when you need it the most, it fails. And when it fails, you are left with a mess to clean up, or even worse. People can be hurt. Calculating failure is an important part of design.
If a designer does not know the failure point of the material she is working with to build a chair, she cannot know if it is strong enough to support a person’s weight. We expect certain things to fail. When you bend a toothpick or a pencil there is a satisfying, “snap,” when it breaks due to the pressure. We cynically expect people to fail, too. News organizations wait impatiently to score a scoop on public figures who blow it, give into temptation, or reveal the worst parts of themselves. That is why it is so shocking to the world when we demonstrate the kind of supernatural structural integrity that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did.
They did not break, no matter how much pressure King Nebuchadnezzar put on. They did not flinch, no matter how much the King turned up the heat. The King expected them to fail. He expected them to give in. When they did not, at first he became enraged, but then when they miraculously survived, he became amazed. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not care about the penalty, or the punishment they would face. They cared about being faithful to God. Being unfaithful to God was worse than burning to death.
When we have that same attitude of “no matter what” obedience, God gives us supernatural integrity to do the right thing. Everything has a natural failure point. If you try to stand in your own strength, the world will break you. But if you follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you can show the world the kind of supernatural integrity that caused King Nebuchadnezzar to say, “There is no other god who can rescue like this!” (Daniel 3:29b)