Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king, saying, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Faith is something that challenges us. There is always something happening around us to test our faith. Sometimes the challenge is thrown in front of us with an obvious obstacle, and sometimes a trap is set. But through all these, if we need to survive and keep our faith, then our faith has to be strong, strengthened daily with our walk of faith with God. Our faith has to be as strong as it can be! Look at these young people who stood against such a challenge. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. While reading Daniel 03, we understand the density of the challenge. Their lives were at stake!
In a world that is filled with young people who make the choice to go with the flow, these three had stood the test of time. It would have been easy for these three young men to just follow what the majority did. But they stood firm in their faith; in what the Lord their God had commanded them. They made history. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, sets up this golden statue and orders the entire country to fall in front of this statue and worship. Our three young men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were part of the Jewish Diaspora in Babylon, brought as captives from Jerusalem, were holding top positions in the administration. Surely their achievements of getting into the higher ranks in the empire, with the help of God, would have stirred in huge bulks of jealousy within the people around.
These young men, who were brought to Babylon as captives, made it all the way into the important positions of the administration. It is something similar to the latest updates we receive about members of the immigrant communities in the western countries securing important positions in the respective countries’ administration. How amazing is that? Something that everyone can be proud about. Yes! And this is the similar situations in which the greatest challenge is thrown in front of the three young men. They are part of the population that had been ordered by the king to worship the gold statue that he had set up.
What would have been going through the heads of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they knew that they are not supposed to bow down in front of the idol the king had set up? Just try guessing.
“We are going to lose our jobs.” “Years of imprisonment.” “Thrown out of the country.” “Going to be ashamed in front of colleagues.”….I guess, nothing!!
None of the above thoughts came into their heads, because they knew that they are going to stand strong in their faith and the Lord their God will save them. They strongly refused to bow down and worship the gold statue. Yes! As expected, it was reported. I am sure they three would have shared that confident smile when they came to know that their refusal to worship the statue was reported to the king.
Now the king on inquiring and testing them, figures out what he had been told was true and orders these three young men to be put into the blazing furnace. Now this is the final checkpoint where usually the human brain thinks of options, alternatives, and supplementary plans. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood so strong in their faith that their heads did not even have a second thought. What they said to the king in response made him furious. Look at their faith.Let us repeat those lines once. “If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king” (Daniel 03: 17).
And they did not stop with that. They continued. Knowing that their life is at stake, still they went further in proclaiming their faith. They showed that their decision was not just to be saved by God, but to save their faith! They say, “but even if God does not save us, we want you O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 03: 18). Wow! What an answer! It was not about them, but about the strong faith they had in the Lord their God.
Continuing to read the same chapter we understand what happened later. They were, indeed, thrown into the blazing furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual, firmly tied. The furnace was made so hot that it even killed the soldiers who went near it to throw these young men.
Look at the result of their strong faith. Something amazing was observed within the furnace. The king was shocked! Daniel 03: 24, 25 says, Then King Nebuchadnezzar was so surprised that he jumped to his feet. He asked the men who advised him, “Didn’t we tie up only three men and throw them into the fire?” They answered, “Yes, O king.” The king said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They are not tied up, and they are not burned. The fourth man looks like a son of the gods.” The king did not stop with that. He went further. Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!” (Daniel 03: 26).
These three young men who were received back by the king, had stood strong in their faith, in their submission to the true living God, and through them the name of the Lord their God was glorified, even amongst the ones who stood against them.
Our faith has to be strong; strong as it can be! We daily encounter a lot of issues that challenge our faith. They make us think of options, supplementary plans. But never! Never give way for that. Stand strong in your faith. God will save you. When you stand strong for Him, God stands for you. And when God is standing for you, it is more than enough, the rest is history!
Stand strong for God, for God has promised that He is with you.
Ebenezer Breman Veerasingam