Read Daniel 1 – 3
Daniel as a teenage captive (1:1-3); Godly influence - will not defile himself (1:8-16); Wisdom from God (2:19-24); Friends share his faith (3:12-19).
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Dan. 3:16-18).
The nation of Israel had been conquered by Babylon. Many of the people of Israel had been taken captive and transported to Babylon to serve in various capacities. This number included many young men who were believed to possess qualities that could prove useful. These qualities ranged from mental strength and wisdom to superior occupational skills.
Four of these young men play a pivotal role in the Book of Daniel. One of these, of course, is Daniel, who was renamed Belteshazzar. The Babylonians also gave new names to his three friends. Hananiah had his named changed to Shadrach. The name of Mishael was changed to Meshach. Azariah was renamed Abednego.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, like Daniel, had remained faithful to the Lord even in the face of many challenges, including pressure to conform to the ungodly ways of the Babylonians. This, of course, would have involved worshipping idols in the form of graven images. They knew this was forbidden by the Word of God. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled (1 Cor. 8:7).
The king of Babylon, who was named Nebuchadnezzar, had a statue built as a tribute to himself. He made a decree that went out throughout the kingdom that all should bow before the image of the king. Most in the kingdom obediently worshiped before the statue.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow before the statue. They would not sin against God by committing this act of idolatry. There must have been great pressure to simply follow the crowd and bow, but these brave young Hebrews would not defile themselves. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27).
They knew they would be facing a death sentence. Reading the words of these young men in the face of death should encourage us to push forward for the cause of Christ. When the words were spoken, If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, they knew God would deliver them whether it would be in life or death.
The world has no hold on the believer who has their faith placed in Christ. He holds our lives, not man.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the LORD; and whether we die, we die unto the LORD: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the LORD's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be LORD both of the dead and living (Rom. 14:7-9).
Thought for Today:
Although life sometimes is bitter, earth's trials will seem small when we see Jesus.
As The Stone that smote the image (Dan. 2:35). The Stone is Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4-8).
1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, Young men who were strong and healthy; 2:1 his sleep brake from him, he was unable to sleep; 2:31 great image . . . was terrible, dreadful, awesome, frightening; 3:19 the form of his visage, his facial expression; 3:21 hosen, other garments.
Optional Reading: Revelation 20
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 145:10