Daniel 3:26b-28 (NIV) So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ended up in a fiery furnace for no fault of their own. They were guilty of refusing to go along with the government orders to worship the giant statue. They would not succumb to peer pressure. They would not go along with the crowd. Officials from all over the land were required to be there. Attendance was necessary. They were among all the big wigs, dignitaries, celebrities, government officials, and rich and famous. It was the place to be. The celebration would have been like an inaugural parade. Maybe they didn’t know a loyalty oath was required to reassure the king that those who serve him would remain loyal.
They opposed the culture at risk of losing their job, freedom, even life. Where did they get such courage, such devotion to their faith, devotion to their God? I am sure it didn’t happen overnight.
- Perhaps Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego recognized they were blessed. They survived. They were alive among those taken into captivity when Babylon invaded Jerusalem. After all they could have been left behind or worse, killed.
- They knew about Yahweh, the God of their fathers. They probably knew about their history as God’s chosen people: how He rescued them from bondage, gave them strength to conquer the land, and establish their own kingdom under kings like David and Solomon. They had a rich history that was taught in every home as they grew up.
- God gave them favor among their caretakers, those responsible for their training.
- God had blessed them with great knowledge, understanding, and skill. They were selected among all of the men of the Kingdom and elevated to official status.
They had experience in their faith. So, when it came time for the grand public event, they did not hesitate to say ““King 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”