Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
It’s not just a little kids’ story about 3 Jews and a Fiery Furnace. What we see here is the power of faith in God and the courage it gives men and women to stand in the face of overwhelming persecution.
What we see here is a King who was filled with rage and fury because people under him dared to stand and oppose his orders. He wasn’t used to that. Everyone cowered and whimpered and caved in to his every demand. That’s because everyone knew the penalty of going against the King. So when these three men stood and refused to bow down to the King’s golden image, he was furious. In fact the Bible tells us in Daniel 3 that he was so angry that he had the furnace heated 7 times its normal heat. His anger led to the death of the men who were commanded to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace.
This is how those in love with themselves and their power react when others go against them. They can’t handle it. They are used to everyone bowing down and being “Yes-men.” When someone dares bring up an opposing idea, or stands up and says, “No,” then that power hungry man goes into a full out rage. The goal then becomes to simply destroy the opposition and stamp out any hint of disloyalty.
We see in this in college campuses, churches, board rooms, and in government. There are those who cannot “tolerate” someone with an opposing view, even while they may be making a claim to be tolerant and accepting. But how do they (we) respond when someone stands up and questions the dear leader? If you see a Nebuchadnezzar response then you can understand what kind of leader you are dealing with.
But be encouraged by men like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, because eventually (with God’s mighty hand of help) they gained the respect and admiration of King Nebuchadnezzar. He saw, as the above verse says, that they “yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” Granted, not every time we make a stand will we gain the respect of those who oppose God’s ways, but many will see your courage and conviction and will marvel at such faith. Nebuchadnezzar did. He went from trying to execute them to promoting them!
May God give us the courage and conviction of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.