I don’t know when the last time was when I really thought about the time when the three Jewish boys were thrown into the fiery furnace. The other day it was brought up in prayer as a friend and I were praying.
Yesterday, I began to think about this again. The highlight of the story is the fact that God “sent his angel,” which was most likely the pre-incarnate Christ, to be right it the midst of the fire with them. And the results of that?? Astounding.
But my heart continued to recall. Why? Why were those boys put on trial? To be in what people would consider the fire of “trial” because God is refining us is one thing. But why were they there?
It was because there was an idol had been set up in the land.
An idol. Set up to be worshipped. A very, very tall idol. A very, very expensive idol. A very, very seen idol. This was not something that was trying to be kept a secret. Like the coming antichrist will demand worship, King Nebuchadnezzar did in his day with the repercussions of death if one did not obey. (Read about it here – Daniel 3)
There are plenty of fears, idols, and false gods set up in our land today. We are not so far away from the distant Babylon. We must guard our hearts and not allow anything to sweep us away from our surefootedness upon our King. He is the Rock. Everything else is shifting sand.
These young men did not decide IN THAT INSTANT that they would not bow. Their bold decision to stand firm indicates without a doubt that they had decided WAY ahead of time. They had ALREADY decided they would not bow. They were not going to bow to another. Their hearts were fully Yahweh’s. No matter what the cost was.
Sounds like a Joshua moment. “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)
Some quick takeaways and obversations from the passage:
- The people were being controlled by fear. Sound familiar? We cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by fear. Although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not martyred, they were willing to be. “Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Daniel 3:6 (NLT)
- Notice the leaders complied first. Probably out of fear, or desire of promotion or personal gain of some sort. Pray for our leaders. We will be affected by their decisions. “Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” Daniel 3:2-3 (NLT)
- The bowing down before the statue was a physical sign of their agreement and submission. What have we submitted to and/or agreed to that we need to repent of and renounce to see change happen in our own lives and the lives of those around us? “So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” Daniel 3:7 (NLT)
- People are watching our lives and not everybody is our cheerleader. Some are looking for our defeat. Could be out of jealousy or a commitment they have to the enemy. Regardless, stand firm even if you are accused before the “king.” “But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:8-12 (NLT)
- The ones ratting out Shad, Mesh, and Abed weren’t bowing either. They were busy telling on the Jewish boys. Why didn’t they get in trouble? Interesting.
- God doesn’t need to prove himself to anyone but can’t you just feel the fury of the Father raging on behalf of his children? I believe the Lord felt this one in his heart when Nebuchadnezzar said, “But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” Daniel 3:15 (NLT) It reminds me of Exodus 14:14. He came through. They had bold faith.
- We do not need to engage the enemy at times. Let God fight for you. In the face of fear, what was their response? “WE DO NOT NEED TO DEFEND OURSELVES BEFORE YOU.” “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.” Daniel 3:16 (NLT)
- Life is about a choice. God loves us. He desires us to love him. These young men were all about loving God, even willing to pay the highest price. Hear their conviction. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18 (NLT)
- They were unharmed, unbound, and did not smell like smoke at all. What? Yes, that’s right. In your face devil! “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!” Daniel 3:25-27 (NLT)
- We observe King Nebuchadnezzar’s response to Our God Who is Mighty to Save! Basically, he’s freaking out in a different kind of way this time. The pendulum swings and he honors our God. He acknowledges that they TRUSTED IN GOD. “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” Daniel 3:28-29 (NLT)
- The irony? These young men were PROMOTED afterwards! I’m not sure that was the most pleasant of ways to receive a promotion but look what the Lord did. He took what was intended for evil and turned it around for their good! Glory to God. “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:20 (NLT)
He will do the same for you. As you stand for righteousness, he will be right there with you, fighting your battles for you as you have already determined in your heart to serve the Lord, no matter the cost.
Together, we will stand against fear, idols and the false gods of our lands. They ALL want us to bow. But we will not bow. We will stand. We will not be moved. For greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
There’s an older song done more recently by Jeremy Riddle called Purify My Heart. (Click here to listen) I played it over and over I this was written today. I’d encourage you to ask him again to purify you, refine you and determine in your heart “I WILL STAND.” Find your people. Find your tribe. They will help you stand too. We need each other.
Even for our children. It’s important that they know others that have stood in the face of fear, idols and false gods throughout the years.
Have you seen any of the Torchlighters series? It’s a very well done children’s animated video series that highlights martyrs and their true stories over the ages. Is it gut wrenching? Yes. Have I watched them with our children? Yes. Why? Because God is love and love makes hard choices at times. Jesus said himself in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (NKJV) Here’s the link for the series. It’s worth checking out.
Love you in the Lord! Keep pressing in! Check out my YouTube page for various topics that will spur you in your journey with Christ! Follow me on Instagram @takeamomenttopray