By Stephanie Montague
In part one of this article, we were discussing the book of Daniel. When we left Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they were being spoken about by the Chaldeans. In Daniel 3:12-14, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in leadership positions in Babylon. The Chaldeans made sure to point these “certain” Jews out to the king. In life, people will try to make an example out of you. Try to make you look bad. Point out how you are different and have principles. The scripture goes on to say that: “Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” The Chaldeans had gotten what they wanted which was to have the mind and the heart of the king. There are those people in your life who will sit in a position to try to call attention to you to gain favor with someone. Can you think of time when someone tried to make you look bad in order to make them look good? Can you think of a time when some used your name in conversation to say “she thinks she’s this or he thinks he’s that” because you didn’t agree with their conduct?
In verse 13, King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with rage upon hearing that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t bow. It was decreed that the sound of the horn and other instruments be respect and that everyone in the kingdom were to bow and worship the golden images. So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were brought before Nebuchadnezzar. As a king, Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t have someone defy him.
Many people who would be put in a position to go against their beliefs…especially to save their life would do so. Self-preservation is powerful in all of us. I don’t want to even say given my humanity what I would do. As a believer I want to believe the power of my convictions. Have there ever been times that I had to stand up for what I believed in the face of being thought poorly or attacked? Sure, my father has always taught me to think for myself. It is a natural instinct. Thinking for myself has had me walk away from friends and situations I didn’t want to be a part of and it wasn’t easy but it was right for me. I’m far from perfect in this manner but I’ve always been willing to lose something to remain standing on my terms instead of being on my knees bowing to something I don’t agree with… It’s a mirror thing… I have to look in it every single day.
In Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego boldly said we don’t have to defend ourselves to you. Moreover, they said if you throw us in there our God will deliver us from your hand. Talk about making your boast in the Lord and bragging on your God! Knowing He is power. Knowing He is able! To me this could have stopped right there…He’s going to deliver us out of your hand. However, they took it a step beyond when they said “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They knew who they were and what they believed and they weren’t going to bow. Who doesn’t want to feel this empowered about their goals in life even? “I don’t care how it goes I’m going to keep pushing.” “I’m going to exercise no matter what. I’m not going to keep “bowing” to things that harm me.” You may feel it doesn’t apply but it surely does. We have to cement our feet into our dreams and desires and our belief that God will deliver. We have to know who we are and that we won’t let go until we are blessed.
The last part of the story is the most powerful. I’m going to summarize. Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. The furnace was so hot it killed the men who threw them into it. Bound by ropes, they were now in the furnace that in the King’s anger was now seven times hotter than normal. King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They said that they were however the King saw four men walking around in the fire, unbound, and unharmed. Nebuchadnezzar commanded that Meshach and Abednego come out. Might I mention in the NIV version he address them as the servants of the Most High God to come out!!! They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar praised their God and said God sent his angel to rescue his servants.
When we stand on God He will deliver us, his servants, from and to. Deliver us from things that are not for us and or deliver us to where we need to be placed. He is faithful to remain with us in our “fiery furnace.”
Maybe you feel like you’re in a furnace? Maybe you feel that people are setting you up to fall into a furnace? You can be sure the One would send an angel during your troubled time and not leave you alone ever.
Say this today to have Him come into your life: “Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He became a man to suffer and die on the cross and that His shed blood is for the cleansing of my sins. I believe that He rose on the third day with all power in his hands. Jesus, I pray that You and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, will come and live in me. I give my life to You to Your will and not my will. Amen.”