Steadfast faith causes clashes
There is an old saying that says: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” This is so true within the context of our Christian experience. Too many people in our day have bitten the bait and think that a “live and let live” approach to life is the best.
We are not supposed to stand for anything that will cause someone else embarrassment or consternation. Our opinions are to be the same as others or we will hurt their feelings. In fact, one of the worse things a person can do in today’s world is hurt someone’s feelings in some way.
What we need is for people to be so committed to what they believe and to the One upon whom it is founded that they will be willing to stand strong and courageously no matter what the subject matter happens to be.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were men who knew what they believed and why they believed it. They put their lives on the line based on their belief in and commitment to God. In the world of the Chaldeans, the state and their religion were one and the same. It is hard for us in America to understand this was so. We make sure the state does not interfere with what we believe and practice in our religion. It is foundational to us.
But for the three Hebrews this was not going to be so. They were not going to allow the state to force a religion on them. They refused to worship the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. When one does what is right the devil will make certain they are accused as we see in Daniel 3:8.
The three Jewish men were pointed out as being in rebellion to the king. So, the king brought them in and threatened them with death in the fiery furnace. Satan always does this to the Lord’s people because he knows that most people will knuckle under to a threat, especially if they are not totally confident in their relationship to the Lord and willing to stand courageously upon their convictions.
And, sadly, many Christians will faint and fall for Satan’s ploy because they are not as convinced of their relationship to God as the three Hebrews were. If Satan can get us to fall by simply threatening us, then he doesn’t have to spend any more time on us than that.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had committed treason when they refused the king’s order to worship the statue. But, they knew the source of greater Power and they put their trust in Him and His plan for their lives.
Steadfast faith prepares for battle
One of the weakest points in the lives of many Christians is they don’t know what they believe. Your doctrine or beliefs will determine what you are. They determine your friends, your habits, and your attitudes. Where you go and what you do is determined by what you believe.
What you allow in your life is determined by your doctrinal beliefs. They will give you strength or cause you to be weak. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were as solid as a rock in the face of death. They were willing to die if God so determined they would do so. What is on the other side of death was more important to them than where they stood with the king.
Every Christian should remember that this life to which we have been called, and which we have chosen by faith in the Lord Jesus, is going to be filled with battles all along the way. Satan will never give up. Jesus said this world first hated Him and that we can expect the same treatment.
Every person who comes to express his or her faith and commitment to the Lord should be made aware that this profession of faith does not end the battle, it starts it. The good thing is that once saved a Christian has the power to refuse to obey Satan and sin.
The three Hebrews had this same power. They refused to sin against God and worship the golden statue. It would have been easy to appease the king and “go along to get along” but they knew they could not do such a thing and remain one who would stand courageously with God no matter what. In verses 17-18, their courage is made quite evident when they said God would deliver them but if He did not the king needed to understand they would not go against God and worship the statue anyway. We must have more of their kind.
Steadfast faith and courage produces victory
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego spoke so boldly to the king and displayed their courageous faith in God, he had them thrown into the fiery furnace. It was heated seven times hotter than normal but when he looked into the fire he saw the reason they were not burned. There were four men in the fire and he could not understand it. What he saw was the Lord in their midst delivering them.
Jesus is like that. When His children go through the fire in this world, He comes and comforts them and gives them the courage to endure for Him. He does not stand off and observe us as we deal with this rotten world. He comes close to us and helps us through it all.
Notice something else that happened here. The King Nebuchadnezzar finally recognized he wasn’t the supreme authority in this world. He was powerful, but not all-powerful. When he saw the Hebrews were not burned or even singed, nor did they have the smell of fire upon them, he said in verse 28: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.” He recognized the power of God and what He had done for those who stood courageously with Him.
In verse 29 we find that the king threatened all those who would speak against their God. And, in verse 30, the Hebrews were promoted in the province of Babylon. This is all absolutely opposite to Satan’s plans.
We should learn a good lesson from our three Hebrews: God is faithful. He is steadfast. He cares for us and will never abandon us and we can have this assurance when we give our lives to Him and stand courageously no matter the circumstances of life.