Summary: The three Hebrew men faced a great dilemma - bow to the king's image or face the fiery furnace. When confronted by the king, they were quick to respond. Our God is able to deliver; but if He doesn't, we still won't bow. We need that type of faith today!
Faith in the Fire
Daniel 3: 12-27
As we continue the Conquerors series, one of the greatest accounts of overcoming insurmountable odds and obtaining victory is found in the book of Daniel. Along with Daniel and the majority of Judah, three young men had been taken captive into Babylon. While enduring captivity, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were faced with a great dilemma. King Nebuchadnezzar had created a golden image that stood ninety feet tall. A command was given throughout the province, that all should bow and worship the image the king had made when they heard the sound of music being played. These young men were committed to the Lord, and Him alone. Knowing they would face the wrath of the king, these men remained faithful unto the Lord and refused to bow to an image made of man.
While we don’t see such images erected in America, the pressures to conform to the dictates of society while abandoning our faith continue to increase. Like these three men, we are rapidly becoming a minority in today’s society. As our world continues to distance itself from the Lord, the pressures to adhere to their philosophies will only increase. Like these men of old, we must remain committed to the Lord, knowing He is more than able to provide the strength necessary to endure.
As we examine the details of this encounter, I want to discuss the thought: Faith in the Fire.
I. Their Confrontation (12-15) – These verses describe the confrontation Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced regarding the king’s command. Notice:
A. The Accusation (12) – There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. As the music played, and the multitudes began to worship the golden image, these men remained steadfast in their faith and refused to bow. It didn’t take long for their refusal to be noticed by others. Early in their captivity, they were prepared for leadership roles within the kingdom. No doubt this brought increased scrutiny from the Babylonians, and their refusal was immediately made known to the king. These advisors sought to make their refusal personal with the king, declaring they had not regarded the king’s decree or worshiped the image he had set up.
Those committed to serving the Lord today are closely watched by those around them. The world rejects our faith and seeks any means to accuse us before others. Many will even attempt to make our obedience to the Lord appear as a direct attack on certain individuals. Opposition is sure for those committed to serving the Lord. 2 Tim.3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
B. The Interrogation (14) – Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? These men were ushered in before the king and questioned regarding their refusal to bow before the king’s image of gold. He had heard the accusations and was determined to discover the truth.
We may never be forced to stand before the authorities because of our faith, and then again we might. Believers no longer enjoy a majority here in America, and remain greatly outnumbered throughout the world. Many who reject the Lord desire to weaken our faith and intimidate those who are committed to the Lord.
C. The Declaration (15) – Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Whatever patience the king may have had was now wearing thin. He assured them that rebellion and disobedience would not be tolerated. There were two options – bow to the image or burn in the fiery furnace. He even through in a bit of sarcasm – “If you don’t bow, we will see if your God is able to deliver you.”
This continues to be a reality for many believers around the world. They are forced to choose between their lives and serving the Lord. While we don’t face such intense persecution in America, it may very well come to that. One thing is certain – society declares that we must bow to their philosophies or face its wrath. Christian businesses are being sued in court and facing bankruptcy for standing upon the Word and adhering to Christian principles.