“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied 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.’” –Daniel 3:16-18
It was the ultimate test. Deny God or die. As Michael W. Smith sings, “It was a test we could all hope to pass, but none of us would want to take” (This Is Your Time). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not only passed, but also shared a profound statement of faith—one that can challenge even those of us who aren’t, at this time, facing that ultimate test.
Look closely at their response. First, on trial for refusing to worship the image of the king himself, these three young men boldly proclaim, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” The king’s judgment doesn’t count. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand before God Himself. They go straight to the highest court of appeals and place their lives in His hands alone.
Next they say, “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.” Wow! First they call on a higher power, then they tell Nebuchadnezzar Who is really boss. They confidently declare that Nebuchadnezzar’s efforts to take their lives will be in vain should God choose to save them.
As if that weren’t enough, though, they show their absolute allegiance to God with their final sentence, “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.” But even if He does not! This reminds me of Queen Esther’s “If I perish, I perish,” statement (Esther 4:16). Her life was on the line, too. Knowing that God had placed her where He did, she chose to act on behalf of His people with no guarantee of how it all would end for her. Likewise, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had no guarantee that God would save them, though they didn’t doubt His ability. Facing the fire, they chose to do the right thing.
We may not be facing a fiery furnace or a king who could have us beheaded just for walking into the room. We may never be called on to face that ultimate test. But we do face panic situations from time to time as we live our daily lives—situations where telling a little lie or cheating just a bit might make life easier for us. If we yield to temptation, we are doubting God’s ability to save us. Daily, we must make the decision to trust God and not sin. We need to proclaim to ourselves and to the temptation:
- I do not need to defend myself before you. God’s opinion is the only one that counts.
- God is able to save me. I know this.
- But even if He does not, no matter what I’m facing, I will not give in and sin.
And in that confidence, the Holy Spirit will help us stand firm. When we resolve to serve God faithfully no matter what, He walks with us, just as He walked with those three young men, right into the flames (Daniel 3:25).
This post is linked to: A Little R & R.