The Trials, Part 2
Let’s look at one story… The Persecuted…
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar has ordered a decree that all people must bow down and worship a golden statue that he has built. Whoever does not will be cast in to the furnace of blazing fire.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to do this, in spite of King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to worship a god. The King vows to kill them if they do not obey him, giving them a second chance…
Daniel 3:15-28 (HCSB/(JKP edit)) says, “Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the (music), fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire–and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” (16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. (17) If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king.”
But notice what else they say…
“(18) But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” (19) Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders to heat the furnace seven times more than was customary, (20) and he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. (21) So these men, in their (clothes and all), were tied up and thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. (22) Since the king’s command was so urgent and the furnace extremely hot, the raging flames killed those men who carried (them) up. (23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. (24) Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?” “Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king. (25) He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (26) Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God–come out!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. (27) When the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. (28) Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel and rescued His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” (emphasis mine)
Notice a few things here… (1) They had the courage and the faith to stand up for what they knew was right, regardless of the consequences. (2) They knew God (believed in God), and believed God, and trusted God that whatever the outcome, it is in God’s hands, and it would be okay. (3) God sometimes chooses to deliver us, or show us things, AFTER we act in faith, and He delivered these three men AFTER they acted in faith by not worshiping any other gods.
And just a side note… which I’ll talk about later… notice what the Kings response was because of seeing their faith demonstrated? Their faith and works worked together… The King then believed in their God and turned to Him!
My friends, persecution is real. It’s hard to accept sometimes. But it is this fallen world we live in.
Continued Next Time… Part 3