Daniel 3:16-18, NLT
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 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. 18 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."
Seems to be a number of statements or levels of faith here:
- If we are thrown into the blazing furnace... - I had not seen this one before. Perhaps they are saying, "God can keep us from being thrown into the furnace in the first place.
- The God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King... - clearest statement, "The God we serve is able..."
- But even if he does not... - This, to me, seems to be the greatest statement of faith. They were saying, "Even if God does not do what we think he will/should, we will still trust Him and not bow down to the idol."
I don't know. On the one hand, Jesus had confidence that God would do what He asked. But on the other hand, today we have people telling God what His Word says and tell him that He is obligated to answer their prayer because of it.
I do not feel God is "obligated" to do anything for me. He has done more than enough through Christ. My faith is in a God who is true to His Word, but it is NOT in my ability to understand and apply His Word correctly 100% of the time. That's not an excuse to stop praying and believing according to my understanding of the Word, but it ought to give caution to the notion that I can order or obligate God to do anything.