We need to look at God and recognize He’s got everything well in Hand…
The modern world is filled with compromise. Give a little and you’ll get a little if you will. Where it comes to our faith and being children and worshipers of the Lord, however, believers need to be uncompromising in all environments. Today’s reading shows an example of what it sometimes means to be uncompromising.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to 10 deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
So, here we have an extremely difficult situation for our buddies Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Nebuchadnezzar had set up a pretty, gold statue of himself, just being a tad self-absorbed, for people to worship at appointed times and anyone who didn’t…well they got executed. Furthermore, you had a bunch of kiss up snitches whom had already been shown up by Daniel and his companions once, so they were eager to get rid of the ones who worshipped God. Does this sound like a familiar situation to you? Has something similar happened in your own personal life? If the answer is yes, I can tell you that I am not surprised by this.
This world is filled with people who fall into certain categories. The first category is those who are so full of themselves, they want to be worshipped like gods. They believe they are untouchable. The second category is those who are toadies or “yes” people to the ones who want to be worshipped. These folks will say and do whatever they have to in order to tear people down or improve their own position. The final category, which is where we as believers should fall, is those who believe in Someone greater than themselves guiding their actions and daily lives.
Now, what happens if you fall into a position where you are on the bad side of one of the two other categories and are facing a metaphorical “fiery furnace” in your own life. Well that’s simple enough, you put your faith in Him. Let’s look at what happens to Daniel’s three friends when they do not yield and do not compromise their principles or beliefs.
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
A couple of points we should recognize here. The first point being the Christophany. A Christophany is a manifestation of Christ after His death. In this case, it’s before His birth. I personally, and feel free to disagree, and several scholars that I’ve read, feel this is a definitive appearance of Christ before the time of His birth. But what’s important is the second point, the fact that Nebuchadnezzar recognized God was with our three friends. He not only recognized it, but declared publicly his people were not to say anything amiss about God. Well, isn’t that an interesting turn of events?
Brothers and sisters, we live in a world where compromise, yielding your principles to save your own skin is looked upon favorably. But what we, as Christians should be doing is being as uncompromising as our three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. We need to look at God and recognize He’s got everything well in Hand and whether we are facing arrogant people who want worship or those who are seeking their own gain by tearing you down, He’s the One who will protect you from the fire they will seek to put you in. When we stand by Him, He stands by us.