Daniel 3: 12-16 (NASB):
There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Do you have the faith that is required of you to stand firm in your faith and not compromise with the gods and idols of this world? Daniel’s three friends were given a choice: Fall down and worship a man-made idol or stand firm in your faith in God and face the consequences. Bear in mind that death in the fiery furnace was the consequence here. For many, this would be a difficult decision, but for these three young men it was a decision that was very easy to make. They were determined to stand firm in their faith in God, even if it led to a horrible death by fire.
King Nebuchadnezzar was filled with pride and arrogance and he “set up” an image of gold for all the people to bow down and worship at the appointed time. “To you the command is given, O people, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn…you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire” (Daniel 3:4-6 NASB).
On the surface, what appears to be a challenging decision for these three young men was not a difficult decision at all. They had made the decision long ago in their minds when they decided to obediently follow God and not man. It’s likely they thought about the command from God when He said, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4). For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, they clung to their faith in God over any fear of man. Even being unsure if God would actually deliver them, they still thought it better to lay down their lives in obedience to God rather than to bow down and worship a false idol of man. They completely trusted God to deliver them, but even if He did not choose to do so, they were determined to remain faithful to Him, even if it meant death.
God wanted to use these three faithful men to show King Nebuchadnezzar that the God of Israel is sovereign over the entire earth. Their lives were spared and God used their faith and trust in Him to bring a powerful pagan king to acknowledge and fear God. God can and will deliver His people as He so chooses. It is God who rules the world and eventually all earthly powers will bow down to Him.
Will you be completely obedient and faithful to God, or will you allow the world and its values, to influence how you live out your life? Each time we give into the world and follow its urgings, we create a distance between ourselves and God. God loves us and cares for us and in return He expects our loyalty and obedience. As Christians, we must stand firm in our faith and we must oppose those worldly values that are in direct opposition to God’s commands. Do you seek the praise of men or do you follow God’s laws above all else? Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, we have a choice. Who are we going to follow? Man or God?