Hello everyone. The book of Daniel is probably one of my favorite books in the entire Bible. For anyone who teaches children the first 6 chapters are a great place to find some great stories of God’s power that can not only apply to adults but to kids as well. My favorite in the book of Daniel is chapter 3, the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. More famously known by their Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These 3 young men had to take the greatest test of faith one will ever have to take upon this earth. The choice between life and death. King Nebuchadnezzar had a tremendous reputation, not just in Babylon, but around the known world. His kingdom was the greatest and strongest the world had ever seen to date. To say that he had an ego would have been an understatement as well. He knew he was powerful and he wasn’t afraid to “flex” that muscle to anyone who didn’t obey him. That’s where these 3 young men have to take their test of faith. Their choices were…disobey God and bow down and live here…or…obey God by refusing to worship anything other than God and die. What a choice to have to make.
Knowing that these 3 guys were young men I could hear some people (even Christians) say, “that they had their whole life ahead of them. Just bow down and do what you’re told so you can live.” As we read this story one might think that this would be a really hard decision for them to make, but as it turns out it appears like it was a pretty easy one. Their response to the king… “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.” Decision made! Their decision to obey God before anyone or anything else was not one that they had to make right then because they had already made that decision earlier in their life. From an early age Jewish boys were taught God’s laws and how to live in accordance with those laws. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the consequences for disobeying the king; he had made that very clear, but they also knew God’s laws and how they were to respond to anything that contradicted them. For them the decision was a easy one…obey God!
One of the questions I want to ask in regards to this chapter is…why were there only 3 people willing to stand on the truth in the face of evil? There was an entire nation of people taken captive to Babylon but yet only 3 are willing to take a stand for God and His Word. I know that I am making an assumption here but if more people were willing to be thrown into the furnace, like these 3 guys, I think Daniel would’ve mentioned that.
So my question for you all is this…are you preparing or are you prepared to answer to someone like King Nebuchadnezzar? It may not be a life and death thing but you will eventually have to answer a faith question. Jesus gives us the answer in how to respond in a situation like this in Luke 9. Luke 9:23-25 “Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
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