Daniel 3: Let me set the scene for you. King Nebuchadnezzar has made a gold statue and is ordering the Jews to bow down to it. Three dudes with possibly some of my favorite names in all of the Bible take a stand for God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to serve King Neb and worship the gold statue. Ole Nebbie didn’t take too kindly to that and he goes off in a rage ordering that the three musketeers be brought in. Once in his custody, King Neb and his men threaten to throw the three into a furnace if they continue to defy his demands. In Daniel 3:17-18, the three answer back, “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.” #BOOM #likeaboss
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die rather than give in and bow down to someone else or even fake bowing down to save their own necks. After reading this I asked myself, would I be willing to do the same? Do I do that now? Then I got to thinking, in America today, we’re not so much threatened with bowing down to gold statues and worshipping other gods with the punishment of being thrown into a furnace if we don’t-thankfully, but don’t we worship other things? I heard in a song by Jimmy Needham called Clear the Stage, “anything I put before my God is an idol” and those words keep ringing in my ears. Anything we put before God, we are worshipping and putting our focus on instead of him. What do I put before God? My life, doing what I want to do, school, work, family, friends? The answer is D) all of the above. More times than I can count, I have put something else before God, whatever the circumstance it was. We have the freedom here that I can choose whom I decide to worship, how I do so, and where I put my faith. I think we take that for granted a lot of the time. Countless countries all over the world do not have that same freedom. There are Christians all over the world literally risking their lives for Christ and spreading his name to places we never even knew existed or have never even heard of.
Lesson number 2 from Shad, Mesh, and Ab; would I bend and fake it to save my own life or risk my life and stand out and stand up for Christ? They very well could have bowed down and not actually prayed or prayed to God during that time, but they didn’t. They stood firm on what they believed and trusted God no matter what. As verse 17 and 18 point out, no matter what the outcome they would worship God regardless. Later in the chapter, the story pans out that God does indeed save them (score one for the big man upstairs!!). An angel is sent into the furnace with them. King Neb and his men are astounded when they see what was three tied up men that should have been dead is now four men walking around like they’re taking a stroll around the block. They opened the door and out walked the three, and “not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched”, and “they didn’t even smell of smoke” (verse 27). Ok seriously, that is awesome! Verse 28 sums it by saying, “They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God”. King Neb decreed that everyone would then worship Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s God. Yeah!! This story reminded me of the movie, The Avengers and the scene where the character Loki has gone to Germany and steps out of a museum with his magic staff thing-a-ma-jig and is ordering everyone to bow down to him (clip above!). The older man steps up and refuses, Captain America then swoops in and saves him just in the knick of time. I think it’s kind of the same with God. If we take a stand for him and not bow down and conform to what everyone else is doing, even if we are threatened, he will swoop in and put up a shield to protect us just when we need it. This is especially hard in college when it seems like everyone and their mom is going out and partying or serial dating or drinking or cussing, and carrying on with this MTV kinda lifestyle. It’s hard to stick to your guts and not go with the crowd, especially when at times it looks appealing. So shout out to all the college students who are with me and working at not being the stereotypical college student or twenty something American, I feel ya!!
As an end note, would we be willing to do the same as Shad, Mesh, and Ab, or would we conform? I think we do need to morph into society enough where we fit in at least, but are we bending too much? We don’t need to be Betty Spaghetti Christians who are all over the place.
Thank for the read! :]