Everyone was standing, except my friend. The preacher had made an appeal, and lots of people stood in response to it. But I had one friend who sat through the appeal, and I knew he did it on purpose. He didn’t agree with the appeal, and to be honest, I didn’t either—not entirely. I agreed with most of it, but there was one part I didn’t like. I stayed standing, he remained sitting. After the service I went up to him and told him that he should never be ashamed to sit through an appeal that he didn’t agree with.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in a similar situation. They may not have realized they were attending a worship service when King Nebuchadnezzar had invited them to attend. They thought it was just the unveiling of the new statue of King Nebuchadnezzar. Soon a loud voice announced that the entire crowd, who was already standing, was to bow down and worship the great statue once the music started to play. Anyone who did not bow down would be thrown into a fiery furnace—a large kiln used to heat the metal for the statue.
The music started, and the entire crowd pressed their heads to the ground. Only three figures remained standing—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar was outraged! He demanded that the three “rebels” be brought to him immediately. He threatened them with the fiery furnace, and then offered to give them a second chance. And then those three young men said something that shocked King Nebuchadnezzar, and still shocks me today.
“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 then they said something even more shocking:
“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.”
That was a brave thing to say to the king of the known world, and King Nebuchadnezzar acted just like you might expect him to. He ordered his guards to tie them up and throw them into that fiery furnace. Those guards died from the heat, but the three young men remained alive, walking around in the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar looked more closely and noticed a fourth man in the fire, and recognized Him as the Son of God. He ordered them to come out of the fire, and the three did, unscathed.
I’m not amazed at God’s amazing rescue. I’m amazed at the three young men’s response. “Even if our God does not deliver us and we die, we will still not serve your gods or worship your golden statue.” They loved their God so much that they would willingly die for Him rather than dishonor Him—someone they had never seen before.
This story makes me think, how much do I love my God? When I am faced with a decision that makes me decide between what I believe and what other people think of me, I should let Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s lives be an appeal to myself—and all of us. Let’s not be afraid to stand up for what we believe to be true, and let’s be sure that what we believe is rooted in Christ Alone!
Timmy Baze 😀
This blog will appear on In Christ Alone Devotions soon!