Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “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 usfrom 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.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV).
There’s strength in God, then strength in numbers. The three Jewish men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – put their faith in God and not in men. Slaves all, guilty as charged (of defying the king’s orders), the three men had faith that God could protect them even if Nebuchadnezzar did the most terrible, excruciating things possible. They knew the score; they even gave respect to the king, addressing him as “King” and “Your Majesty.” In doing so, they gave witness to the fact that all earthly power is given by God and under His domain.
This gave us an example of how to stand up to persecution and threats. Remember the last Harry Potter movie? Near the end, when Voldemort thought he had defeated Dumbledore’s Army, he demanded that they put their faith in him. It’s a demand as old as Eden, even older in fact. It goes back to that moment when Lucifer demanded to be considered as God. The fall of the condemned angels precipitated all sin and the fall of man. Thus, it’s nothing new that people would think themselves better than God. If a made-up character in a book (or movie) could do it, how much more could it happen in real life?
What Nebuchadnezzar did, and what the three men said and did in response, was real. It’s history. Unlike Harry Potter, it really happened. Countless examples throughout history exist where men thought of themselves as gods, as above God. The Caesars, the Borgia pontiffs, Hitler, Stalin, President Xi and his ideological ancestor, Mao: you name it. Plenty of sinful men and women have sided with the devil and placed themselves about God. They’ve made idols of themselves. Is it any wonder that so many people feel alone through all this, alienated from God?
Take heart: there is strength in numbers believing in the salvation of our Lord. Perhaps we could all use a reminder that three terrified Jews in Babylon once cast their lives with the Lord who they believed would save them no matter what happened. There’s spectacular wonder in that because He did.
For further reading: Genesis 48:16, Exodus 1:17, Joshua 24:15, Job 5:19, Psalm 18:48, Jeremiah 1:8, Daniel 3:19
Saving Lord, forgive me for my sins. I put all my trust in You because only You can save me.
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