One of the Bible stories that I learned early in my life was about Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In fact, when I was a child, I thought the third name was “to bed we go”! The friends were the same friends who prayed with Daniel when the wise men were going to be executed because they could not tell the king’s dream or its interpretation. See Daniel 2
Nebuchadnezzar apparently had a shortened memory of spiritual things because after acknowledging all that God had done through Daniel when he gave both the dream and its interpretation in chapter 2, in chapter 3 we find the king setting up a huge statue of himself. The people were to bow in worship of the statue and if anyone didn’t do so, they would be killed by being thrown into the fiery furnace.
This presented Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with a problem. (We aren’t told about Daniel here, just his three friends.) They clearly could not worship a statue of the king when their allegiance was to God Almighty. The king learned of their refusal and the following dialogue is recorded in Scripture:
Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
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 3:13-18
The three men were then thrown into the furnace fully dressed. The furnace had been super-heated so that the men who threw them into the furnace died from the heat.
The king looked into the furnace and was surprised to see 4 men walking in the flames. This is what the king said:
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.Daniel 3:24-26
The king was amazed because not only were they not killed, but their clothes were also not harmed, and there was no smell of the fire on them. Then the king sang a different tune. Instead if wanting the men to worship him, the king blessed God, saying:
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.Daniel 3:28-30
For purposes of this blog, I want to highlight what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said to the king before they were thrown into the furnace. They announced without reservation that God was able to save them even in the fiery furnace and that God would deliver them out of the king’s hand.
But that is not all they said. They also said that even if God did not deliver them from the flames of the furnace, they would still not bow to the statue of the king. In other words, their allegiance to God came without any expectation of deliverance. They would be true to God whether or not He delivered them from the king’s hand.
Beloved, I doubt that we are in any danger of a fiery furnace, but the challenges that we have today can be just as scary. We see dwindling of resources, we see riots in the streets, we see political divisions, we experience COVID 19 fears, and we have anxiety and tension everywhere.
The God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is still active and alive. Indeed, He is eternal and everlasting. Rely on God. He is in control and He will care for His people through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Father, so often we act as though You are not aware of our circumstances or that You don’t care about our problems. Father, You are indeed aware of all things surrounding Your people and You protect and deliver them according to Your will. You call us to Yourself and bring us into Your glory when our time on this earth is through. But, in the meantime, You guide, protect, and give wisdom to us as we walk in your will. May our trust in You be absolute as exhibited by Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego. Thank you, Father.