I Refuse To Bow!
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Sometimes, as believers we may have to suffer because of the mistakes and sins of others.
I believe that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were righteous young men who unfortunately had to suffer because of the sins of those around them. The Jews had worshipped idol gods and turned their backs on the only true God. God in his rich mercy pleaded and petitioned with the Jews for hundreds of years. However the Jews refused to believe God and they refused to obey the voice of the LORD. As a result, God allowed King Nebuchadnnezar to destroy Judah, the city of Jerusalem, and the Temple that Solomon had built. God allowed the wicked as well as the righteous to suffer not so much because he was mad or angry (which he was to an extent) but rather he allowed this to happen to purge them of their idolatry and to make them vessels of God (to make them better). I’M GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS BETTER!
Dearly beloved, we must understand and look to the scriptures in the times that we are currently living in so that we can have hope! We must understand that Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever more and what has been shall be again! Even right now, there are people all over the world that are dying and just because you have the Holy Ghost and you’re running for Jesus does not mean that you will be exempt from suffering. When we examine the scriptures we see that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are 4 perfect examples of righteous individuals who lived for God; yet they had to endure the wrath of God because of the sins of their country-men. This kinda feels like the time that we are living in right now doesn’t it?
These four young men from Jewish nobility, at approximately 16 years of age, saw families destroyed and separated from one another. Family and friends hauled off in chains and led captive back to a country they did not know. I believe that fear possibly gripped their hearts because they did not know what they were getting into and possibly did not know when or if they would make it out of this captivity alive. However, one thing that remained the same with them is their faith in God! Now is the time to fight for your faith!
So in chapter 1, consider everything that these young men faced and where they had come from. Some of us, if we had gone through what these 4 teenagers had went through, we would have thrown in the towel as soon as the Babylonians had besieged the city. Now here it is today, we have saints of God on the brink of giving up, on the brink of throwing in the towel, on the brink of losing their mind, because they have wrongly perceived that because things are bad that God is no longer with me......the devil is a liar! God will always be with you! These young men are taking from their wealthy backgrounds, imprisoned and made to serve this pagan king. Yet, in the midst of their their captivity God is blessing them! God can bless you in the middle of your trouble! The scriptures declare in verse 17 that God gives them an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom and that God gives Daniel the wisdom and ability to interpet dreams. It is here that we must see and understand that sometimes God has to take you out of your comfort zone, so that He can truly use you. He’ll take you out of your comfort zone and bring you to a place where you realize God, I have nothing and no one to depend on but you! Sometimes with God, extra-ordinary things are birthed out of trying situations!
While all of these blessings are coming from God, it is during this same time that we see that the 4 Hebrew boy’s faith and fidelity are being tested. King Nebuchaddnezar offered the 4 Hebrew boys food and drink from his table but because they believed that this food had possibly been offered unto idols, the made up in their mind that they would not bow down and eat the meat from the kings table. Daniel who was blessed with wisdom from God told the King’s men, give us pulse (vegetables) and water and come back in 10 days. When they came back, the Hebrew boys were in better shape then those who ate meat from the King’s table. If you take a stand for God.....God will bless you!
So now we get to chapter 2 and 3 where the King makes a golden image:
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command!
The three Hebrew boy’s faith and fidelity in God remained the same even with them being in hard times and enslaved in captivity and here it is thousands and thousands of years later this story resinates with us today and encourages us today that despite the suffering and the hard times that we may be encountering today, we can take encouragement in knowing that as God was with the 3 Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire, God is with us in the midst of the fire today! We can take courage in knowing that as saints of God, though we may not be exempt from suffering even though we may not be to blame that our suffering will: work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.