Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – some background:
-King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue of gold that was 96 feet tall and 9 feet wide.
-The story doesn’t tell us who the statue represented. Some think it was one of Nebuchadnezzar’s gods or maybe it was a statue of him.
-He demanded that all ranking officials pledge their loyalty to him by worshiping the statue, thus boosting his ego.
-Nebuchadnezzar had appointed the three Hebrew men over the administration of the province of Babylon as a favor to Daniel. (see Daniel 2)
-Their promotion irritated certain Chaldeans who began looking for a way to get them in trouble.
-The decree was that anyone who didn’t fall down and worship the statue would immediately be thrown into a fiery furnace.
-The Chaldeans were only too happy to point out to Nebuchadnezzar that the three Hebrew men were not bowing down.
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
NOT SAVED FROM THE FIRE BUT SAVED IN THE FIRE
-It’s not if you experience the fire, but when
-It’s not if you face trials, but when
-It’s not if you are faced with a moment of decision, a moment of temptation, but when
-It’s not if you are asked to fall in line with the kingdom of this world, but when
1. The power of God gives you the ability to obey
-We live in a world where there is a pull towards self, towards living for only what’s in front of me, towards claiming to to be in Christ, but not living a transformed life.
-Our obedience starts in the small moments right in front of you.
-If you can’t obey in the moment in front of you, how will you ever be able to stand in the moment of crisis?
2. The power of God gives you courage as you obey
-No one ever said that a life of faith in Christ wouldn’t require courage – in fact, “be strong and courageous” is one of the most frequent exhortations in Scripture.
-For many of us, obedience is limited by opposition.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
1 Peter 4:12-13NIV
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
“Peter is saying that the fiery furnace does not automatically make us better. We must recognize, depend on, speak with, and believe in God while in the fire. God himself says in Isaiah 43 that he will be with us, walking beside us in the fire. Knowing him personally while in our affliction is the key to becoming stronger rather than weaker in it.”
Other Scriptures for further study/reflection:
2 Corinthians 12:9NIV
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
1 But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob,he who formed you, Israel:“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters,I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire,you will not be burned;the flames will not set you ablaze.