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.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.
20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.
22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.
27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.
28 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[f] the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
This is a well known Bible passage that most of us may have grown up learning. The faith of these three men is a strong example to what we as Christians should have in the face of a dangerous situation. These men were being challenged for their unwavering faith and devotion to God. Due to their refusal to bow down to an idol that the thing himself had set up, they were now being faced with not only death, but a cruel and painful way of dying.
The fiery furnace was set to hottest temperature and the kings wrath was about to be poured out. However, in the face of their impending doom, the three men stood strong and trusted that God’s power and glory would be revealed. They did know whether or not God was going to use their deaths as a means to proclaim it or rescue them. They just trusted in God’s ability to use whatever means necessary to show that their faith and devotion to God is not in vain.
Notice how the passage does not mention that their hearts were filled with fear, worry or dread. These men were ready to give up their very lives for the sake of the Gospel and as Christians we too can stand on that same firm foundation that God will reveal His glory and power through a dangerous situation. We can take comfort that even in the face of death, we do not have to be afraid because our God is in complete and utter control.
Nebuchadnezzar II was a man of pride and insecurity. In his later years as his kingdom began to decline he became suspect of everyone, even his own children. He was merciless to those he conquered and even in the Persian records is known as a ruthless leader. It is no wonder that the biblical account of Nebuchadnezzar II was one of violence and ruthlessness.
Even though the name of Nebuchadnezzar struck fear in the hearts of all who were subjected to him, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to give him his demands. They were dedicated to the Lord only. This was critical in the timer period that they lived in. The northern tribes of Israel are already wiped out and now Judah was fallen. But even in the middle of these disasters Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bend to the demands of the wicked, even to preserve their own lives.
Today, most of us are not subjugated to another country. Yet we are all subject to ruler of this fallen world; Satan and his followers. We must hold fast to the convictions that have been passed down to us and do not walk in the ways of the world.