Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” – Daniel 3: 16-18
For some still unknown reason, King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon insisted upon erecting a golden image and then demanded that everyone in his kingdom bow down to that image. As an added incentive, the King declared that anyone who did not bow would immediately be subject to death in a fiery furnace. Therefore, most of the subjects of the King got down on their knees with a quickness!
However, word got back to the King that he had three Hebrew men in his employ who refused to bow to the King’s new golden god. Eventually, the King personally confronted these men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and what they told him in effect was: “Even if it means the fire, we have decided to stand!” Some may ask: “What’s the big deal? Just bow and go on with your life!” Yet, these three men decided to stand. Why?
1. Somebody has to stand if everyone else is bowing. These three men actually did not decide to stand. They simply refused to bow. If ten men are lined up in a row and seven drop to the ground, it looks like the three remaining men are taking a stand when, in fact, what they are doing is refusing to fall. The old adage is right: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
2. Somebody has to stand against a King who stands against God. These Hebrew men did not just decide to stand. They stood against the most powerful man in the world. Yet, because what this man did was contrary to the principles and practices of God, they felt compelled to disobey the King. They did not defy him in a corner. They did it publicly in his face! The people of God are not required to keep commands of kings, governments, corporations or others who demand that they blatantly disobey God. Like these men, they too are obligated to peacefully refuse to bow and be willing to suffer the consequences.
3. Somebody has to stand to give God a chance to get greater glory. Although, the Hebrew men knew that God had the power to deliver them from the fiery furnace, not even they expected it to happen. That’s why they said: “if not…” However, no one imagined them to be delivered without a hair on their head being singed or the smell of smoke on their clothes. What was intended to humiliate and annihilate these men, ended up giving them the victory and God the glory.
4. Somebody has to stand to save Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. When the three Hebrews were thrown in the furnace, it looked like the King had won and they had lost. But, when the King looked in the fire and saw four instead of three, he called them out of the fire and said this:
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” – Daniel 3: 28-29
Deciding to stand is about far more than protesting an unjust and irrational King. It is ultimately about saving a nation and leading it to the true and living God.