Daniel 3: 17-18 discusses Daniel’s friends and their unwillingness to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s Giant golden Statue.
17″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. 18″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.”
I love this passage because I think it subtly outlines three levels of Faith, some of which are common, and some extraordinary.
1. God is able
2. God is willing (God will act)
3. But if not…
The first level of faith is that God is able to do something- this is not a hard achievement of faith to have as a Christian. It ought not be a stretch to say that God can do what we ask Him for. In this case, all three of Daniel’s friends knew God was able to save them.
The second level is the confidence that God will do what you are asking of Him (like maybe save you from a fiery furnace that is 7 times hotter than normal). A righteous confidence should come from our ability to discern God’s will through prayer, worship, etc. This level of faith is a bit more challenging because there is more risk involved, but nevertheless, many have it.
The third level of faith is demonstrated by the “but if not” statement. This verse shows the maturity of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their total commitment to God’s will whether they are consumed by flames or live to worship Him another day. It seems to me that this is a precious, rare kind of faith.