I certainly don't want to wear out this topic of ADVENTURE, but there are a few more things worth noting before moving on to another topic. In fact, this evening I have been studying Daniel 3 for a paper I'm writing for seminary. I decided to write my paper on the event of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they faced the fiery furnace. I still remember a pop-up book at my Grandma's house that I used to read about these guys when I was a kid. I'm not so sure I grasped what was really happening at the age of 5 when I read that book, but I can still see flannelgraph-looking images standing in a furnace. I wonder if Daniel and these three guys were of the attitude, "we have to remind ourselves that this is an ADVENTURE." I'm guessing they wouldn't have stated things in quite those same terms, but I do think they had a realization that God was sovereign over the affairs of men. One of the best lines of the story happens just after Nebuchadnezzar, furious with rage, demands that the men bow down (Daniel 3:13-15). The reply of these men to him is nothing short of astounding:
"O 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 save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:16b-18, NIV).
Can you imagine saying that to the king of the most powerful empire in the world? In other words, these guys said, "We don't really give a rip what you want, Neb! Throw us in the fire for all we care. God will rescue us. I know you think that's naive, and even if it is, we will never serve your gods." Wow! These guys were committed to the ADVENTURE. Nothing was going to turn them away – not even the threat of death!
Now I don't know about you, but my experience with ADVENTURE hasn't brought me to the brink of death yet. There have been moments when I wanted to die because I was embarrassed or something, but my life has never really been at risk. I hope that I will be so committed to the ADVENTURE and to the trustworthiness of the Guide that, given such a threat, I would respond in a similar way. I love how God responded to the faithfulness and trust of these men: He showed up on their behalves. Isn't that incredible? Some scholars even think that Jesus was the one who joined them in the furnace. And they came out without even smelling like smoke! God watched over them the whole time! The great thing is that He will watch over us, too. There wasn't any presumption by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – they knew God might allow them to die in the furnace. What was important to them is that they never gave up on being faithfully committed to worshiping Him alone. Let that be true of us, too!