Trial by Fire (Daniel 3)

Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:14-18)

Learn it:

            King Nebuchadnezzar was inspired by his dream to build a statue to have his people worship.  He gathered all of the people in his court to its unveiling and have them worship it.  In the crowd were Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These three Jews refused to bow down and they were about to be made an example for their disobedience to the king.  How they responded to the king in verses 16-18 are some of the strongest statements of faith in the Bible.  They were not compelled to defend themselves on their obedience to the LORD God.  They knew exactly what the king was threatening to do to them if they refused his orders again. 

            Their faith was so strong in God that they believed He had the power to save them but if God chose not to save them, they still would not worship the image the king had made.  There would have been several ways for them to rationalize pretending to worship the idol to save themselves.  They decided to boldly trust in God and live with integrity.  In an amazing miracle God protected them in this blazing furnace.  Not only did he protect them, but he was there with them in the furnace.  When they came out their robes were not singed, and they did not even smell like a fire!  What a display of God’s power in protecting those who call on His name. 

Live it:

            In out lives there are many things wanting our allegiance or attention.  With popular opinion pulling us in one direction we need to stop and look around.  Is this something that is glorifying God or something else?  It would have been hard for these three young men to refuse to worship this idol.  The king was commanding everyone to do it and they worked for the king.  Everyone around them was doing it so their disobedience would have been very noticeable.  Most people do not like to stick out or go against the majority.  As Christians we are called to stand firm in Christ and his teachings.  We worship Him and Him alone.  It means we will face some tough times. 

             Even though people may disagree with us and try to harm us it doesn’t mean we get to fight back.  Jesus also called us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48).  The young Jews were not confrontational with the king.  The king was irate and irrational.  They were calm and willingly accepted what was coming.  We are called to love our enemies and pray for them.  Even when we are not being treated fairly, we need to remain calm and display the love of Christ to them.  No matter what the consequences may be.  God will be with us and give us the comfort we need. 


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