[Who] quenched the fury of the flames.” —Hebrews 11:34 (NIV)
How do you respond when the world you know and trust flips upside down and the wicked land on top? Retreat? Lash out? Or stand steadfast?
We can only imagine the horrors Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego witnessed when the Babylonian army herded the Hebrews to Babylon (See Daniel 1-3). What happened to their families? If raiders dashed Israel’s babies against the rocks, what did they do to the sick and elderly?
Instead of curling into a fetal position or melding into their new culture, the fabulous four honored God and served this unrighteous ruler by practicing Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV).
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill his wise men, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God provided Daniel with the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2). This saved the lives of all the king’s wise men.
King Nebuchadnezzar, amazed that any god could convey such knowledge, proclaimed—
Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery” (Dan. 2:47 NIV).
But his gratitude was short-lived. Jealous peers and the king’s ego soon threw the four Hebrews into another crisis.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lived and worked among brutal men who envied their successes. When King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden idol and promised death to anyone who refused to bow before it, some of the wise men (astrologers) approached King Nebuchadnezzar.
There are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan. 3:12 NIV).
Bow before an idol or be thrown into a fiery furnace. It would be easy to cave under such heat (pun intended). But when the king’s demands opposed the King of king’s commands, these Hebrews stood by their convictions: God before king; God before personal safety; God first.
Our convictions guide us when we’re under fire. If we live to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, nobody can block that goal. And as difficult as it may be to believe, ruthless people can’t stop God’s plans for our lives (Ps. 37:17, 23). Some who observe your faith under pressure will see Christ.If we live to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, nobody can block that goal. And as difficult as it may be to believe, ruthless people can’t stop God’s plans for our lives. #bigGod, #Biblestudy Click To Tweet
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s fortitude gave God an opportunity to shine before pagan leaders in high places. God may place us in hostile settings to display his glory to people who scoff at our faith too. But we need not fear. The threat of death only strengthened Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s resolve to live for God. They refused negative what if thinking.
- “What if God doesn’t save us?”
- “What if I can’t bear the flames?”
Instead, they declared even if faith.
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” (Dan. 3:17-18 NLT).
Angels cheered, and Nebuchadnezzar received a rare revelation of One more precious than his golden idol. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego met the preincarnate Christ!
How many reside in heaven today because of the courage of people like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Are you living for Someone bigger than yourself?
Do you enjoy learning about these biblical men and women? Little Strength, Big God releases September 5. Preorder your copy today! Follow this link to learn more and play the online Little Strength, Big God Matching Game.
*Adapted from Little Strength, Big God
This weekend my sister, niece, and I saw the new movie The Hiding Place which recalls Corrie Ten Boom’s story of how God used her family’s faith and courage to save hundreds of Jews during World War 2. I highly recommend it. It only has limited viewing times. Check here for local viewings.
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