Well, today in Daniel 3 we come to a story that is probably one of the most well-known in the entire Bible as well as the episode of Veggie Tales that I remember most vividly. Our three gentlemen, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow to a giant golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. I want to focus on them today, but I first have a question that maybe someone can answer for me. What happened to Daniel? He was clearly a man of principle, and even though he is not mentioned in this chapter, I wonder how he reacted to the golden statue. That’s not the main point of today, but I just wanted to throw that out there.
Right before the three men were thrown into the fire, Nebuchadnezzar decided to give them one last chance, but here is how they responded:
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
I love this statement because it really does show us the way that we ought to view God. Yes, God is a God of miracles. He can do them, and He is more powerful than any person on earth. There is no doubt that He was capable of rescuing this trio from the overpowered furnace.
However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego understood that God was not obligated to save them. Even if God was not going to save them, there were not going to worshiping an idol. This is interesting because there are many people who kind of follow God because of the perceived benefits. I will follow God because I will get to the heaven. I will follow God because I will be blessed. However, these guys understood that we don’t follow God for simply these reasons. It is much deeper than that. We follow God because it is the right thing to do, so no matter what that brings on earth, it is objectively right to follow God.
I think that a lot of us do well on the first part of this definition. We acknowledge that God is powerful. I know that that is pretty easy for me to remember and to apply to my life. The second part is much harder. We need to be willing to follow God anywhere even if it doesn’t seem like there are benefits up front. It might take us into some very difficult places. However, what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? That’s pretty much the question here. It is an attitude I want to develop, and it is one that seems to stand out strongly in the lives of these three men.