“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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.” (Daniel 3:16, 17 KJV)
Wow! What an answer! Did it save them from going into the really really hot furnace that this king had prepared? No. Did it cost really strong soldiers their lives too? Tragically, yes. What may have prompted the boldness for this answer that appears to already be set deep within their hearts?
The book of Daniel is located in the Bible immediately following the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. All very thick reading of profound judgement, and there is a phrase or an idea that is rubber stamped repeatedly throughout all of these four books, “know that I am the Lord”. Some, like Jeremiah 24:7, where God’s people are given a heart to “know that I am the Lord”, and others, like Ezekiel 5:13, that they will know this because of the destruction that has been delivered. In either case, part of the knowledge that comes from the Lord is the fact that He is indeed the Lord. There seems to be a great emphasis both for God’s people and the people around them to really understand this with a great clarity. This seems to be much more than useful information that will help you make a decision (great or small) in the moment, but something that must be a prerequisite to establishing anything at all.
So, rather than calling this king out on the fact that his really big gold statue is solid gold top to bottom rather than just a head of gold like the dream that he was given, or that it is God that had angels prepare an eternal lake of fire that burns with sulfur from which there is no exit; they give a simple answer that respectfully reveals their established foundation in the fact that God is Lord. This is not a rebellious answer and it is not delivered in mockery. It is an honest answer; that God just emptied their home land to firmly establish in their hearts and minds.
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18, 19 KJV)