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For the hearing impaired click here to be directed to a youtube video of this post read aloud.

Get yourself a cup of hot tea if you’d like to. This post is broken into two parts. The first page focuses on forgiveness, namely the same forgiveness Daniel found. The second page focuses on ensuring forgiveness is used appropriately, and subtly applauds king Nebuchadnezzar for not seeking forgiveness. That’s right, for not seeking forgiveness. If you find yourself learning new things on the first page, do yourself a favor and stop at the end of the first page. Use the page break as a time to rest and digest, for a few days even. Fair warning: what you are about to read is a mind bender. It at times could get the emotions going for some loved ones, but remember it is purposed on bringing clarity and focus through guidance in applying usable skills during times of uncertainty. You may find that you have to admit fault in order to move forward victorious. This post, if taken seriously and applied, could multiply your blessings and drastically improve your relationship with God. Especially if that relationship has been stale for a while.

Daniel and his companions were set-apart among all those who were brought into Babylonian captivity. Daniel himself was set-apart still further from his small quartet. You see, Daniel was a league above his companions in the way he carried himself. This, undoubtedly had to do with Daniel’s accepting obedience to God, exploring forgiveness as it was presented, along with humility, self-discipline and absolutely handing the throne of his heart over to The Messiah. Daniel certainly had his imperfections, but God does not spend much, if any time recounting them in The Book of Daniel. Instead, we see fearless faith and staunch standards from Daniel, resulting in him becoming an integral and valued member of the Babylonian royalty’s confidants and counselors.

We begin our mind bending journey in Messianic exploration today during an event in which Daniel was not the focus. Historians like to lean towards the idea that he was on a journey, accomplishing some political business for the king. Me personally? I believe he was right there, in the very presence of the king when his friends were being thrown into the fire. Quietly being obedient to God and exercising His faith even in a time such as that. I believe Daniel’s prayer life guided him in requiring silence from himself. This challenging requirement panned out such that he saw God stretch out one of his arms, being a good Father to him and his friends.

We never see a disrespectful word from Daniel to the king. It can’t be that Daniel was skilled in the worldly discipline of wearing a professional mask of false piety before the king, could it? It is more likely that Daniel had genuinely forgiven the king for all he had done. From the beginning of the story (the Book of Daniel) he was getting to know the king as a friend and as his king. The end of their time together reveals that Daniel and the King had a relationship that was founded on trust and understanding, even though their differences were vast and seriously altered the course of one another’s lives. In the event we are focusing on, we see Daniel’s friend’s response to the king coming from quite a different place. Daniel’s friends could not have taken the time and prayer and obedience needed to find the depth of forgiveness that Daniel was blessed with. No. Thus, the disrespectful outburst in a time of high pressure.

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

Compare their response to Daniel’s speech patterns before his king:

“Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or it’s interpretation trouble you.”

Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and it’s interpretation concern your enemies!” Daniel 4:19

In both cases the king was in a position where he was at odds with God and in both cases God displayed His grace (power) to the King through the quartet of Hebrews. All considered, the stark contrast in their speech patterns is quite obvious. Now is where this article is going to just begin to scratch the surface of venturing off the easy path to break down the walls of conventional thinking or wisdom.

Shadrach’s group’s response to King Nebuchadnezzar was in defense of their disobedience to the king. Disobedience that ended in death by unalterable decree. The king’s rage was appropriately manifested in a very hot furnace whose droll flames killed even his own men, who obeying his voice threw the trio into the furnace.

“Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.” Daniel 3:21-22

Why was it that both Shadrach’s group and Daniel served the same God, yet Daniel was not represented here while Shadrach’s group was being thrown into a torrid furnace? Forgiveness is a very narrow pass, with a variety of twists and turns, caves and deadly drop offs through a mountain whose top is nothing but snow and ice that spells death for all who attempt to climb over it’s summit. There are many long, dead end tunnels and only The One Who Knows The Way can guide a victim through forgiveness’ pass to the other side.

Without forgiveness a victim is left with poison to drink. Once the pass has been traversed, the other side promises a clean stream of everlasting water that flows from the throne of Heaven itself. Shadrach’s group must have known that forgiveness is key as they were part of Daniel’s quartet, yet in this story we see only Daniel using speech patterns that reflect having found his way through the duplicitous pass. You can see the poison the speaker was left to drink coming out before the king. Their response comes from so many places of truth. You can see that the lads knew for sure that:

-God is God and is the only God

-The other gods were trash

-God will ensure deliverance

-Faith in God is powerful, very powerful

-Worshiping carved images is displeasing to God

He spoke from a genuine place and showed how he truly felt. He had been practicing self-control, discipline, and patience for Babylon for possibly many years at this point, but the strength of false piety has a breaking point and here, it broke. He had no more patience left. The king was infuriated.

Let’s digress: In Egypt, when Moses was going to have words with his adopted brother Pharaoh, God performed many miracles. Here in our story of Shadrach and his companions, a miracle was performed as well. A miracle is something people marvel at, but Yeshua tells us not to marvel at miracles, while He Himself is seen marveling only when a very hard heart or evil so thick He can barely believe it is before Him. Has the following question found it’s way into your mind yet? “Why has The Savior told us not to marvel at a miracle? I mean, it is a marvelous thing isn’t it?” As Monte Judah from Lion and Lamb Ministries puts it: “A miracle is God’s Kingdom operating on Earth.” The reason an astonishing miracle is so marvelous is because something that is on the shifting, decrepit, shaky, entropical (yes, that is a made up variant of the word entropy) path the world provides, meets a small part of it’s Kingdom function all of the sudden instead of slowly over-time. It is like a firework going off or a bomb exploding, but instead of sudden destruction and chaos it is the opposite: order and proper functioning for it’s forever purpose.

Understanding that: look, the miracles performed in Egypt were Egypt’s many veins producing their true fruit. It was not that God was forcing an end on Egypt and their evil gods. Instead, see that God, in His grace (power), had been protecting Egypt from their demise all along so that He could “display His power to many generations” as He so gracefully puts it. Ancient Egypt was as if a farmer had been planting weeds, but fruit trees sprang up for centuries. One day God performed a manifold set of miracles letting the weeds they had been planting come up, all at once and in full force. The Father Himself does not plant, water, or grow weeds. He allows them, within His framework and guiding buffers, for a short time for the sake of all righteousness.

(In recalling the exodus from Egypt) “A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock.” Exodus 12:38. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the characteristics of this event notes: “(Exodus)12:37-42 The children of Israel set forward without delay. A mixed multitude went with them. Some, perhaps, willing to leave their country, laid waste by plagues; others, out of curiosity; perhaps a few out of love to them and their religion. But there were always those among the Israelites who were not Israelites.”

Of those mixed, who “perhaps out of love” for The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was one of two who went 40 years plus 1 and further still: Caleb, for he came not from an Israeli womb.

“Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed YHVH.” Numbers 32:11-12

This, Egypt’s destruction, again was a miracle, based on the definition above, in that Egypt began to function, or became dysfunctional rather, in it’s realistic capacity to function, or to cease to function as it were. All of this said about miracles and still more: they always serve a purpose. Miracles have a forever function that is manifold to display God’s character, the way He functions, and to teach all who experience and hear about one.

Finding footing on the primary path and coming back to Daniel from our Rabbi trail, The Lord, in His grace (strength), was using Babylon to throw chaff and tares into the fire. Like in Egypt, a destruction sown of their own doing. In a further act of mercy, Shadrach’s group was saved from the flames. That fire was heated seven times it’s norm, a clue in this riddle. Consider the parallel event when Moses was on the mountain, learning the law and not eating: He was in the presence of God and learning a great deal in that time. Similarly, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abendnego were put in a circumstance that gave them another chance to try their steps in walking circumspectly through the path of forgiveness, having a newfound, faith filled, renewal of energy from the event to stoke their fires.

From here we can only speculate to what became of Shabrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego after the awesome experience they had from displaying such great faith, even in their seemingly decrepit state of unforgiveness. We do not hear much about them from that point forward. We can hope that they found their way through the mountain and drank the sparkling, cool, crystal clear water on the other side. Daniel on the other hand, we know continued down the path that is planted alongside that glorious river. We know he traversed many mountains, was guided through many such passes, and was led through life’s way to find the end of the 70 years.

Daniel, in his faith which is obedience, learned the skills necessary to build up his self-value, his true worth and his ability to work for HaShem Ma’al Kol Hashemot (השם מעל כל השמות) (The Name above all the names). The first time he interpreted a dream for Nebuchadnezzar the response was a miracle: a reflection of what is true. Daniel was given a mansion complete with lots of gold, and other riches. He was made one of another trio, whose power was only usurped by the king and God Himself. I say once more, Daniel’s real value and ability was recognized, promoted, and used: The Kingdom operating rightly on Earth: a miracle, again. A miracle that happened alongside forgiveness.

“Then the King promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him Ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and Chief Administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:48

All four in the quartet, were most likely just in God’s eyes; yet, one was more pleasing, more able, more valuable in doing God’s work. All were being led to salvation (most likely) but one loved Him best and was rewarded thusly. In loving God more deeply, Daniel had it revealed to him the respectable, honorable, praiseworthy qualities in his vicious overlords. He was guided through forgiveness, and was made to see where He could be helpful to the king, and where being helpful meant to keep things to himself.