When you think of the most well known stories from the book of Daniel, our passage today is one of them. King Nebuchadnezzar had created this massive idol of gold for the people to worship. Not only did he create it, he mandated that everyone in the land would bow down in worship to it, with the punishment of disobedience being incinerated in a furnace.
This clearly proposed a problem for our Jewish friends in the book of Daniel. There’s no doubt that the first commandment came to mind when hearing this news:
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:3-6 (ESV)
God is very clear in regards to our worship: we are to worship Him and Him alone.
So our trio has a decision to make: to strongly stand by their worship of the one true God, or to worship the god of Nebuchadnezzar and avoid a fiery outcome. What do they decide? There was not a second of hesitation:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (ESV)
Their response is bold. They have confidence that God will save them from the fire, but they are resolved that even if he does not, they would rather die than submit themselves to worship of other gods. Oh, that we would have this same confidence and resolve! Nothing could stop them from worshipping the one true God.
The three young men were resolved to remain faithful to God no matter what God did, but God in his grace saved them from the fire. The king made the fire 7 times hotter than normal, so hot that it killed some of the servants tending to it! The people watching saw something amazing in the fire: although they had only put the three young men in the fire, they saw a fourth in there with them! Who was the fourth person? Some say it is Jesus, others that it was an angel. No matter what, it was proof that God was present with them in the fire, watching over them and protecting them.
God showed his kindness to them in the fire so that His name would be glorified in the land. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar saying that if anyone said anything negative about the god of Israel, they would be torn limb from limb.
The point of all of this is for us to see that God is worthy of true worship, no matter the outcome. The example of the three young men is a great example to us: a true and pure worship of God that is not based on receiving anything, but is based in a true understanding of who God is.
I wanted to close by having you listen to this song that is based on our passage from today. Allow it to encourage you and remind you of the truth of God’s Word throughout the day!
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate