15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
In Daniel 3, we have a familiar story of three young men who refuse to dishonor God by worshipping the king’s idol. Making this decision puts the lives of these three young men in jeopardy, yet they will not allow themselves to commit the sin of bowing, even for a moment, to any false god. They stood, even when everyone around them was bowing.
What I love is not only their faithfulness, but their answer to the king. When the king threatens them, the three young men answer him with respect, but with absolute conviction—they will not bow. Then, in a marvelous move, they tell the king that God, the God they serve, is able to physically rescue them from the king’s hand, protecting them and saving their lives. Then, the three guys add what to me is the clincher, saying to the king that even if God does not rescue them, they will still never dishonor God and disobey God by bowing to the king’s statue.
In our culture of cheesy gospel tracks, prosperity preaching, and non-lordship salvation theologies, it is a glorious thing to look to the Scriptures and see three young men who have decided that honoring God is a greater joy than staying alive. They know God can save them, but they also know that he does not have to. These three men believe that God might choose to let them burn to a crisp in the fiery furnace, but it is still better to go through that than to, even for a moment, pretend as if there is no real God in the universe. I want that kind of faith.
Dear Lord, I look at the lives of these three young men, and I see that they love you for you, not for the ease of life that you can give them. They serve you, and will not compromise. I want to think that, were I placed in their situation, I would have the same character. I also know, however, my own weaknesses, failures, and struggles. Please, Lord, grant me to have the kind of faith that was evident in those three young men. Let me have the kind of courage that will stand strong, even when all around me do not. Help me be willing to suffer if need be rather than dishonoring your name in any way. Lord, let me be a tool in your hand to build your kingdom for your glory.