You have to admire the faith and commitment Daniel and his friends had toward God. To stand against the tide is no easy thing, especially when it threatens to crash down on you.
I’m not sure, but I kind of guess Nebuchandnezzar got some inspiration from the dream that God had given him. Unfortunately, he took it in the wrong direction. Instead of humbling himself before God, he tried to exalt himself. Unlike the dream, the statue he made wasn’t made up of many kinds of metal. Rather, it was made of only gold. Perhaps, he was throwing the gauntlet down in front of God saying, “I don’t care what you said. My kingdom will last forever. There will be no kingdom of silver, bronze, or iron.”
His egotism showed in the command he gave to all the people. That when they heard the sound of Nebuchadnezzar’s musicians, they were to bow down and worship the idol. Everyone obeyed. Almost everyone. For in the midst of all the people prostrating themselves on the ground, three people stood tall, Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Where Daniel was, we don’t know. It’s possible he was away on official business at the time).
The astrologers, perhaps jealous of the elite position these three men had obtained, told Nebuchadnezzar about this, and he flew into a rage. He called the three men before him, and threatened them with their lives, saying,
If you do not worship [my statue], you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand (15)?
Talk about throwing down a gauntlet. But Daniel’s friends didn’t back down. They said,
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. (16-17)
And then they told him,
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. (18)
In other words, “God can deliver us from you, Nebuchandnezzar. But even if we doesn’t, we will continue to follow him.”
Even if. Talk about unconditional commitment. These men refused to flinch from their devotion to God, even if it meant their lives.
How about you? How committed are to God? Are you committed to him even if your family turns against you? Will you remain devoted to him even if you have to give up your job in order to do things his way? Will you continue to follow him even if he doesn’t do all that you ask him to do?
That’s the kind of heart God wants from us. God doesn’t always promise a life of roses if we follow him. Sometimes there’s a price to pay. But as I mentioned in my last blog, he is a God that walks among us. He walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, to the astonishment of Nebuchadnezzar and his officials. And whatever fiery trial you may go through, he will be with you through every moment of it.
Let us be people who follow God no matter what. Even if…