As you have probably guessed by now, this was not a peaceful time in history. Battles raged and on-going struggles for power shaped each reign as kings were killed and new ones were set up. God continued to send prophets to warn unfaithful people but they continued to do what seemed right in their own eyes – neglect God.
Back in Babylon, jealous leaders in King Nebuchadnezzar’s regime made arrangements for Daniel’s friends to be thrown in a fiery furnace. When the three men were not burned, King Nebuchadnezzar, who liked Daniel, rejoiced, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!”
Nebuchadnezzar went on to say that only the God of Daniel and his friends could rescue like this, and if others did not follow Him, they would be cut to pieces and their houses burned down. He was not exactly the father of friendship evangelism. It may have taken many years for King Nebuchadnezzar to fully understand God’s love and power and to trust in Him alone. We will see later in his life how his pride eclipsed his loyalty to God.
Although this part of God’s Story mainly reveals the failure of His people as a nation to see how they had been blessed so that they could be a blessing, I love the glimpse we get of God’s love for individuals as well. Nebuchadnezzar is an encouraging example as I look at my own life (I have never been a political leader but I do struggle at times with control) and God shows how He is the One who is ultimately in control of it all. This portion of Daniel’s story also encourages us to keep on praying for belief and trust in God to come to those we love. Do others know of our allegiance to the King? There is no blessing in being a secret saint, but with a clear conscience we need to do what we do so that others can be blessed, and then everyone will give glory to our Father in Heaven. Can it be said of us, “Blessed be the God of…”?