Daniel 3 has the king getting a bit focused on himself and listening to his own press. He orders gold images to be created and a law that “when you hear the sound….you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up”. It was pretty simple – you hear the sound you fall down. And it was a serious law because “whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace”. Not a slap on the hand or a ticket – it was get fried time.
There were some tattle tales in the kingdom who wanted to take power from Daniel’s buddies. So they tell the king that “There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up”. You have rules – they won’t follow them. So “they brought these men before the king”. Their plan to get rid of the trio was working.
The king can’t really believe anyone would defy his order. ““Is it true” to which they answer “and said to the king….we have no need to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand….we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up”. That didn’t go well. Not quite as diplomatic as Daniel had been with the food. So the king can’t believe it, has them bound and “cast them into the burning fiery furnace”. There was some collateral damage because the mighty men who threw them in got fried – “the flame of the fire killed those men who took up” the three.
But they “fell bound into the burning fiery furnace”. This is usually a pretty quick process. But the king has to do a double take. “I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods”. That was an unexpected outcome. The king immediately gets it. He knows that God “has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God”. It wasn’t a mystery as to what had happened. And as a result, “the king promoted” the trio in his kingdom and instructed all the people to worship their God.