The story of the three children of Israel and the fiery furnace is familiar to many. We focus on the power of God to redeem, protect and save. But I think we're missing something here.
The image was set up by a pagan king in a pagan land. Nebuchadnezzar was entitled to set up whatever gods he chose in his own kingdom. And since the children of Israel were captive in that land, and subservient to the king, they were obliged in the normal course of events to do as he bid them.
However, and this is a biggie, the rule of the king ended where the law of God began. As long as the kings edicts didn't encroach on the children of Israel's faith in God and worship thereof, they were content to do as instructed and serve the king to the best of their abilities. Those abilities were no small measure, because the king set them up as officials of the kingdom.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not hiding their disobedience, but no one was looking for it until the astrologers (probably with noses out of joint because of the positions the children of Israel held in the kingdom) pointed out their disobedience to the king.
When the king called them on the carpet, they had a good answer. God is able to save them from the furnace. But even if He chooses not to save them from the furnace, they will not bow down to some other god.
The principal here is obedience to the laws of God. When we obey Him, He is in charge of the outcome of the actions. When we are disobedient, we reap the natural consequences of our actions.
The first principal is the principal of obedience.
Help us to remember Your statute in all we do or say or think. Keep us ever obedient to Your will and correct us swiftly when we falter or stray.
In Jesus' most precious name.