Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
Daniel 3:1 “Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was three score cubits, and his breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.”
We are all inclined to “success, and praise”. Nebuchadnezzar was. He had been given a interpretation of a dream by Daniel which spoke of himself as a “golden head”. (Daniel 2:37-38)
He then sought to show everyone, just how great he was. The “golden head”, became a golden statue.
And now everyone gathered,and especially his princes, and people placed in authority, was to bow down to it!
Daniel 3:4-6 “Then a herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sacbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
And whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
But there were three Godly men, who had been appointed into positions of authority in Babylon, who did not bow to his image. Their names were: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
It was not that they did not respect the king, but they were to worship one God, only: the God of Heaven. So they could not bow down to any other “god”.
But, because of their positions, there are others ready to accuse them before the king.
Daniel 3:12 “There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar, knowing the jealousy of princes when they inform on one another, gives these men another chance to bow down to his image.
Daniel 3:14-15 “Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abend-nego? Do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
Now if ye be ready at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sacbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image that I have made; well:
but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace;
And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hand?”
Now here is a trial, which we, as Christians, often face: Should we go along with the world in certain things?
Should we sacrifice our position, to honor the Lord?
Surely, we can do “good” in a position of authority; so, should we jeopardize it for God?
Does it matter, if it is in a minor thing?
Yes, every Christian knows the answers to these questions; yet how often do we follow through?
These men were not only going to lose their positions, but their lives. Nebuchadnezzar was making it very clear where he stood: Honor me or die; because “your God can not deliver you from my hand”. (Boy, was he wrong!)
Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said unto the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
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 thy hand, O king.
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.”
But these three Israelites were also making it very clear where they stood: with God, their God.
They said they “were not careful to answer” him. Simply put, they did not care about his threats, or actions against them, if it meant dishonoring their God, the real true God.
And further, they said, that God would deliver them, whether by death or some other way. But what ever happens, they would not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, nor bow down to the golden image.
That would dishonor their God.
Daniel 3:19, 21 “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more that it was wont to be heated.
Then these men were bound in their coats, and their hose, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”
Furious, Nebuchadnezzar told his men to heat the furnace (his appointed means of destruction for those not willing to bow to his image), seven times hotter than previously!
It was so hot that when the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego , into the furnace; they died from the heat!
Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t so sure of himself. Perhaps their God would be able to deliver them, after all.
Daniel 3:24-25 “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
While waiting for them to disappear from view, Nebuchadnezzar gets surprised by the men, up and walking in the furnace. (They had been bound)
But there were four men walking there. And one was like to the Son of God.
This is an amazing sight. But unlike others, Nebuchadnezzar saw the truth, and acknowledged it.
He did not try to ignore it, and say: “No, I will not believe that there is this kind of power, which can withstand me, and my fiery furnace! I will close my eyes to this, and let them burn.”
He did not do this. He saw, and he acknowledged, and then he believed.
Some men refuse the truth right before them. They refuse to see, and will not acknowledge God’s Authority. He can, and does what He will, with His own.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew this.
Now Nebuchadnezzar does, too.
Daniel 3:26-27 “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
And the princes, and the governors, and captains, and the kings counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of the fire had passed upon them.”
There was no smell of smoke; nor was there burnt clothing on them. God had not only brought the men through, but everything of theirs through without hurt, as well.
Nebuchadnezzar was changed himself; though not completely purged from self-honor, yet.
But he honored the God which could deliver “after this sort”.
For he said (and he was talking about his own gods, as well): “because their is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”
Daniel 3:28-29 “Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that had trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve or worship any god, except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; Because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”
The principal we always need to remember is:
(1 Samuel 2:30). “…for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”
We are to be in the world, but not of it.
We are, instead, to be looking to the Lord, for His Word, and His help; for His honor.
Psalm 34:4-8 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (This is when they were first called to come before Nebuchadnezzar. How many fears went through their minds. But the Lord saved them from these fears)
“They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” (This is when they spoke boldly before Nebuchadnezzar, for their God.)
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”(This is when, bound and thrown in the furnace, they lifted their prayers to God.)
“The angel of the Lord campeth round about them that fear him and delivereth him.”
(This is when God saved them by the Presence of Himself, with them.)
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (This is the conclusion for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; And all who will trust in the Lord.)