was a proud and very powerful king. He was the King
of Babylon. Although he had acknowledged Daniel's God
as a great God, he still had a lot more to learn about
Him. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he could prevent his
empire being overthrown by ordering all people to obey
him and worship his idols, with the penalty of death
for those who dared to disobey. He made a huge image
entirely of gold and commanded all the people to bow
down and worship it. Those who disobeyed would be thrown
into a fiery furnace.
the scene: the huge, golden image, gleaming in the sunlight;
a large band standing by waiting for the signal to play;
crowds of people, governors, princes and captains all
in their official robes, standing before the image.
The band played. Everyone fell flat on their faces before
the image. Everyone except for three young Jews who
remained standing. They were friends of Daniel and had
been influenced by his great faith in God.
stand up and be counted in that way they needed to be
very sure of what they were doing. They also needed
to have the right attitude - humbly, not with pride
or boastfully. This applies to us alos - there will
be times in our lives when we have to stand up for what
we believe. We must have enough faith to believe that
God will be with us and, in the end, will save us. These
young men had tremendous courage and great faith which
enabled them to stand firm knowing that God had forbidden
the worship of idols (see Exodus
20 v 2)
Nebuchadnezzar was furious when he heard that Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego had disobeyed his order and he
sent for them. He gave them one more chance to bow down
to his image and said:
" ... 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?"
But Daniel's three friends did not
need another chance - they were firmly resolved to follow
the commands of God rather than the proud King Nebuchadnezzar.
They knew that the king would carry out his threat of
throwing them into the furnace, but they also knew that
the Lord their God would deliver them out of the hand
of Nebuchadnezzar, in whatever way that may be:
"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."
What great faith and courage these
men had! Nebuchadnezzar's fury and rage increased and
he lost all sense of reason - he ordered his men to
heat the furnace seven times hotter than was
usual. The strongest men of his army bound the three
men (who didn't resist their capture), but they were
burnt and killed by the flames as they threw Daniel's
three friends into the fire.
Suddenly the king leaped to his feet
and called out in utter amazement:
"Wasn't it three men that tied
up and threw into the fire? ... Look! I see four
men walking around in the fire, unbound, unharmed, and
the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
God had sent his angel to deliver them.
Nebuchadnezzar called to them:
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
Everyone crowded round the three men
and stared in complete amazement when they found that
they were completely unharmed. Not a hair was singed
nor was there any smell of fire about them. The One,
true, God, in whom these men trusted, had rescued them
from the power of the king and once more Nebuchadnezzar
was brought to acknowledge the existence of a greater
power than his own. He now realised that God was in
control and ruling, even within his kingdom. So he made
a new decree condemning to death anyone who spoke against
the God of the Jews.
It does not matter where we are so
long as we have faith and trust in God. If we obey God
first, He will always help and deliver us, when
our faith in Him puts us in need of His help. Let us
remember too that God will help and deliver us in
the way in which He alone knows is best.