Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16-18
In preparation for our two-year series of preaching through the whole Bible, I have been studying my way through the Old Testament and thinking about the stories, people, and how God worked His message throughout every book. The Book of Daniel probably has two of the most popular stories in its pages, and I want to explore one of those today.
As Daniel begins, we find the nation of Judah captives in Babylon. Remember, Judah had failed to keep God’s commands, so He brings King Nebuchadnezzar and his army to Jerusalem, and Jerusalem and Judah become captives of King Nebuchadnezzar. Many Israelites are taken to Babylon and this is where the book begins.
In chapter three we get the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three friends of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar has a huge golden image and has it placed within Babylon. Orders are given that as soon as the people hear music they are to stop what they’re doing and bow down and worship the idol. This is a problem for these three men; they serve the One True God and know that idol worship is forbidden. So, whenever the music plays and it’s time to bow down, they refuse and will not worship. This, as you can imagine, upsets the King and for punishment he has the three men thrown into a blazing furnace. But if you know the story you know that the three men are unharmed. The furnace is so hot that even the guards throwing the three men in are killed, yet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have no harm come upon them.
This is an amazing story of God’s protection and three men who were unwilling to compromise in their beliefs. Their response to the King is filled with confidence. They know that God is able to deliver them, but even if He doesn’t it won’t change what they believe. The men understand they could be killed but that doesn’t change anything for them. Church History is filled with believers who lost their lives because of the Truth. Even today believers around the world face death from their government or other powers. It is not to this same extent but we can face difficult times because of God’s truth, but like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we need to be willing to take a stand even in difficult times.