But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. -Daniel 3:18 (NASB)
One of my son’s favorite stories from the Bible is where King Nebuchadnezzar commands all people under his rule to worship the gold statue he made, but three Israelites don’t…and God saves them from sure death in a fiery furnace. They defy the king to his face:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. -Daniel 3:17 (NASB)
There are many parts of this story to look at, like the fourth figure in the fire walking around with the three men. As the men said, God was with them, and He certainly was in the fire. The men emerged unbound, unharmed, and not even smelling of smoke!
But the line that most resonates with me is the verse that comes after the one above. Though they had unswerving faith that God would deliver them from death in the furnace (which was made seven times hotter than usual!), they boldly told the king that they would follow God in obedience even if God chose not to deliver them from the fire.
That, to me, is a crucial key to unshakable faith and footing in the Lord: to live in obedience to Him, not dependent on His delivering us from difficult—or even deadly—circumstances. When we do this, each step we take grows our faith as we experience God’s unfailing love every step of the way toward Christlikeness.