Summary: II Timothy 1:7 tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear. How can we keep from fear and anxiety? Three teenagers show us in Daniel chapter 3...
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline"
- Described as "young men" in verse 4. Probably 15-20 years old.
- From wealthy, influential families. From stable, noble backgrounds.
- Good looking, intelligent.
But they had been kidnapped, taken from their homes and families, ripped from the culture and their heritage. Even something as fundamental as their names were changed to reflect their captors heathen concepts....
1- Hananiah - "The Lord shows grace"
Shadrach - "Command of Aku" (a Sumerian moon god)
2 - Mishael - "Who is what God is?"
Meshach - "Who is what Aku is?"
3 - Azariah - "The Lord helps"
Abednigo - "Servant of Nebo" (another false god)
These young men were very young, totally isolated, but they display courage and faith that has gone down through history.
Read Daniel 3:1-15
Neb. built a 90 foot tall ( about 8 stories) idol, probably after the false god he was named after, Nebo. He lets everyone know they have to bow down to it when they hear the music. Refusal will result in death by incineration.
Around verse 12, word gets to the king that there are three Jews who will not obey. He confronts them, he gives them another chance. After all, these are three of the ones he had hand picked in chapter 1, so he says, "Let’s do this again, and this time, just bow".
Just think about it...three powerless youths, trapped in hostile, foreign territory were being confronted by the most powerful man on earth and threatened with a horrible, fiery death unless they performed the simple act of bowing to this statue. What would you have done?
1) They could have rationalized..."We know this is just a pile of rock and metal and it isn’t a real God, so how is bowing to it to save our lives such a bad thing?’ That makes sense, doesn’t it?
If they had done that, their testimonies and all they claimed to stand for would be gone.
2) They could have compromised..."OK, we’ll do this to save our lives, then we’ll work even harder and pray even longer to our real God to make up for it".
Then what about the next time the music started? Compromise to sin always leads to more compromise and more sin. Sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay.
So you think these guys would be at least nervous? Their response to the king in Daniel 3:16-18 is one of the greatest examples of faith and courage found in scripture. (READ THIS).
What made them stand up for God like that? In their place, honestly ask yourself what you would have done. So how did they do it? Here’s 4 reasons....
1. They Had God’s Word
They were familiar with the law of Moses. They had godly parents who had instilled in them a love of God’s word and a love of doing right and obeying God. We have more than they did. We have the completed, perfect word of God, old and new testament, including all the teachings and examples of our Lord Jesus Christ. No circumstance can arise in your life that a biblical principle does not exist to guide you. But you have to study; make an effort; want to learn.
2. They Had Each Other
Do not underestimate the strength we draw from our Christian friends. It’s not so hard to believe that these three friends found strength and comfort in numbers. Their common goals and common heritage and common faith made this ordeal easier than if they each had faced it alone. And that’s not to say that they would have failed and been completely ineffective alone. Their friend Daniel proved in the lion’s den that God and anyone is a majority.
3. They Had an Example
It was Daniel who first led the others in defying the godless ordinances of Babylon.
(Recount Daniel 1:8-15)
Don’t think they didn’t remember Daniel’s faith and God’s faithfulness in that prior episode when this new crisis arose.
Can you think of someone who has been that type of spiritual role model for you? Thank them and thank God for them. More importantly, are you being that type of example for others right now?
4. Most of All, They Had Faith
They had a total, unshakable confidence in God.
Their faith in the Lord was the foundation of their philosophy. And it wasn’t rooted in some sort of worldly pride or personal accomplishment. Not a "look how religious I am" kind of thing. And the same is true for us. These three Hebrew children aren’t mythical creations or some sort of made up super heroes or even real people God gave special powers to. They’re just folks. Just kids like you, faced everyday with the same type of distractions and temptations that confront you. And just like they made the right decision and trusted God, so can you. (Remind of II Peter 1:3-4 and add Philippians 4:13). This attitude the boys had wasn’t arrogant or self righteous, it was just believing God was who He said He was and claiming II Timothy 1:7.