"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, not worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
This is an amazing scripture... and so interesting. I think that the most powerful words here are "but if not." They have confidence in God's ability to save them, and they believe that he will... but, just so that the king knows, even if God doesn't save them, they still aren't going to show any disrespect to him. I think most of us start getting in trouble when we think about the "but if not" side of life. We start putting conditions on our belief and obedience. If God helps us out of this, then we'll live better. If God doesn't help us, then we won't go to church anymore.... things like that. That isn't commitment. If we treated our friends like that we wouldn't have any left. "Come over and hang out with me, or we're not friends." ... "Buy me this, and we can still be friends." ... a little unhealthy, eh? But we do exactly that to God. He understands it... I mean, we're little kids and so sometimes we are still into begging things from our parents. But it is something that we have to learn to overcome... it's the welfare mentality, except instead of depending on the government to provide everything for us, we expect God to do it... to make our lives perfect without having to put forth any personal effort. The thing is, though... that God is trying to help us learn to grow up and be like him... to be able to do anything and know everything... and we can't learn that if we don't take some personal responsibility and honor our commitments. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are amazing here, showing their absolute commitment to God. Knowing that he was able to save them, but just in case he didn't choose to, they respected that choice, and they were still going to remain firm to their own. So often we say, "I'll be obedient if..." whatever it is. These men were determined to be obedient _no matter what_. And, sincerely... until we learn to have a little of the backbone that these men had... what hope do we have of becoming like our Father?