Three young Hebrew men served faithfully and well in the government of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. But their faith and success was bothersome to those in the elite ruling class. So when the King made a 90 foot tall image of gold and held a dedication service that all of the government officials were to attend, these three Jews were under scrutiny. The royal herald shouted that at the sound of music everyone was to fall down and worship the image of gold. Failure to do so would be punished by a fiery death.
These three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, did not follow the politically correct path of safety. They like Daniel had demonstrated excellence in their service and had won the grateful attention of the King. But they had crossed the line by failing to openly worship at the feet of the massive golden image. They could have taken the path of the moment of silence and just bowed down while maintaining silence. They could have blended in with the crowd and everything would have been cool.
There was just one problem, these men knew that they stood in the constant presence of the true living God. To even pretend to worship another would have been an offense to their God and a breaking of the first commandment.
Nebuchadnezzar was furious! But in his fury, he still had regard for these three. He called them out by name and urged them to follow his decree. The men remained steadfast. Here is their courageous response:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They were more interested in obedience than in deliverance! They knew their God had the ability to save, but they did not know if that was his purpose to do so. But their bottom line was faithful obedience to their God.
Even if they had perished in the great blazing furnace they still would have brought honor to God by their courage and honor of his name.
May we follow the example of these men. Obedience is the greater blessing than deliverance!