Daniel 3

13 Nebuchadnezzar was very zealous about his various religions. He felt that those who would not obey his commands to worship his gods were committing high treason. He was immediately surprised and enraged that anyone would disobey his commands.
14 Nebuchadnezzar may not have known much about spiritual matters, but he could have reasoned from the beginning that an image he made was not alive or worthy of worship. Yet, he is very insistent about this.
15 Nebuchadnezzar gives them a second chance to worship his false gods. He uses fear and intimidation to accomplish his purpose. This is in contrast to how the true God desires worship. God wants voluntary and spontaneous worship. Worship that is forced or done under duress is not pleasing to God. You can not fake love.
16 Nebuchadnezzar already knew that the hearts of these three men were devoted to God. They would rather die than compromise their relationship with God.
17 Nebuchadnezzar felt that he was in total control of this situation, but the three men knew that God was far more powerful and could easily interfere with any of the king's plans.
18 While they did know that God could save them from death, they did not know if He would. However, they knew that their relationship with God was more important than life itself. There was nothing more valuable that the king could threaten or offer. There was simply no way they would worship the image.
19 Nebuchadnezzar was easily angered. This description shows that he went into a full-fledged tantrum. Apparently no one had ever disobeyed him and then stood before him and say that would not obey a particular command. In addition, the more personal nature of the matter (being specifically the image that the king made) added to the king's rage.
21 The king's rage convinced the soldiers to carry out his orders immediately. They did not even take time to scavenge the valuable clothes off the men before throwing them into the furnace.
22 These men feared the king more than death, and they paid for that fear with their lives.
25 Although the furnace was large and unapproachable, the king and others could see inside it. The ropes that bound the men were burned away, leaving them loose, yet alive. They had been joined by another being, who was obviously a heavenly being. Considering that these three men and Daniel had probably spoken to the king about God, the king is able to recognize His divine presence.

Of course, the miracle of it all is that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were unharmed in the furnace, while the mighty men had died simply approaching the furnace.