Men of the Bible Series: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-18, 28)
Daniel 3:16-18, 28, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”
Two boys entered the dentist's office. One of the boys said, "Doc, will you pull a tooth right this minute?" The dentist replied, "You don't need any gas or Novocain?" The boy said, "Nope! Just one big yank!" The doctor replied, "Sure! That's what I call being brave and courageous. Now show me the tooth you want pulled." The boy turned to his little brother and said, "Come here Jimmy and show the Doc your tooth." We are brave for others but struggle sometimes to have our own courage.
There Hebrew names were, Hananiah (the Lord is gracious), Mishael (who is like God), and Azariah (the Lord has helped). They were good friends of Daniel. They were intelligent, courageous, devoted to the Lord, and uncompromising in their faith. They all excelled in Babylon until the day they refused to bow down to a ninety-foot tall golden statue of the King. Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace. The Hebrews responded that their God could deliver them from the fiery furnace, but if He didn’t, they still would not bow to any statue or any other god. This made the king furious, and he ordered them to be thrown into the furnace. These three Hebrews had genuine courage and confidence in the Lord. As a result, the Lord delivered them and the king praised the LORD God of Israel, Who was far greater than any god in Babylon.
Being accused by these influential people (the astrologers) did not frighten these young men into compromising their faith. Neither did the king’s angry threats cause them to compromise their faith. Without hesitation, they boldly expressed their loyalty to the one true God. God had given them the strength to do the right thing, and they were completely confident that He would protect them (Psalm 46:1; 56:4). They knew that God’s judgment against sin and disobedience was far worse than anything people could do to them (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). They also knew that God’s love and power to save them was greater than any power that man could provide to destroy them. They knew that their God was able to save them from the fiery furnace. In fact, they were casting themselves upon the Lord to rescue them. But even if the Lord chose not to deliver them, they still could not betray Him. The minds of the three Hebrew men were made up! These men had genuine courage and faith. They would not bend, bow, budge or break. They were not bound, burnt, nor bothered. It has been said, “If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.” God wants us to make up our minds to live for Him! We need to make that decision now before we are tested. Trials will come. Our attitude should be that of Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
From the earliest days of childhood, all three of these young men had made the Word of God the center of their lives. These three young men faced the ultimate test of their faith. They either had to disobey the Lord or disobey the king. And their decision was a matter of life or death. Their first loyalty belonged to the Lord. They loved and believed in the Lord and knew Him in a very personal way. They risked their lives and experienced the sustaining power and presence of God in the flames. When you honor the LORD, He comes close to you in the middle of a crisis. These servants of God were not saved from going in the furnace, they were sustained in it and God did not let it destroy them. There are many times that God allows us to go through great affliction, but His grace sustains us and the trial does not destroy us. There are some that God allows to be a martyr for their faith. Our job is to be faithful until the end and leave the results in the hands of God. Jesus was in the fire with them (Hebrews 13:5). It was during the severest trial of their life that God made His presence known to these men. Their fellowship would be wonderful, and no doubt it was the closet they had ever been to Jesus. Their heart would be overflowing with joy. Though we do not ask for the trial that we go through, we can always rejoice in the way God meets our needs and helps us to draw closer to Him in the process. God's grace is always greater than the trial that you are going through. His grace is not only sufficient, but it is abundant.
Their faith was unconditional, no matter the outcome. Even if God did not rescue them in this particular situation, they refused to deny Him. Having faith does not mean we will always be spared from trouble. It takes more faith to stick with God through difficulty and danger than it does to escape the situation altogether. In a world that constantly pressures us to deny our faith and compromise our commitment to God, we must always remember that if we are ashamed of Him on earth, He will be ashamed of us on judgment day (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). But if we stand strong and boldly live for God in this life, He will stand with us both now and forever. When our faith is tested, we must continue to trust the Lord. Even if the test is a matter of life or death for us, we are never to deny the Lord. We must entrust the keeping of our souls totally into God’s hands. No matter how strong the temptation or how difficult the trial, God expects us to continue to believe and trust Him. Our faith is not to waiver, nor collapse, but rather remain strong. Through faith, we can overcome all the tests and trials of life. We will never know the true strength of our faith until it is tested.
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I know strength and help comes from You. Thank You for giving me courage under fire when serving You gets hard. Help me to continue to stand for You in life’s fiery trials. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.