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
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain," the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:21 (NIV). He wrote these words while in jail, imprisoned for his faith and ministry to Christ. To him, there was nothing worth the cost of his faith in Christ, even his life on earth. In his humility, he understood what Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, knew: living for Christ is worth giving up everything.
Yesterday in our Bible study, we saw King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon issued a decree that all people must bow down to a golden statue that he had built. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar found out that three Israelites, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to worship this statue because they worshiped only God. They understood that God was El Elyon, God Most High, and that no other god was worthy of their worship. Nebuchadnezzar had these three men brought to him, offering them another chance to bow down to the statue. If they refused, then they would be thrown into a furnace and burn to death.
The response of the three men in Daniel 3:17-18 is remarkable. They told the king that they believed God would rescue them from the furnace, but even if He did not, they would not worship this statue. You see, in their humility, they knew that worshiping God and following Him was worth giving up their lives. Nebuchadnezzar was furious. He ordered that they be sent to the furnace, which was to be seven times hotter than normal. Even when they faced certain death, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego remained faithful to God. They were humble and did not value their lives more than their faith.
If you had been in the situation that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in, how might you have responded? Would you have refused to worship the statue even when your life was at stake, or would you have worshiped the statue in an attempt to save your life? Let's follow the example of these three men and live with the perspective that our faith is more important than anything, even our own lives.
Take time to journal today using this prompt: "How would my life be different if I lived with the same humility of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?" Would you take more risks to serve God? Would you share your faith more often? Would you stand for the truths of God unapologetically, even when they are unpopular? After journaling, consider one thing you can do this week to take a step in that direction.
Read Daniel 3:8-23 (NLT)
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.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. 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?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 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.”
Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.