Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."

25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Daniel 3:24-25

The three men in the title of today's post were cast into the the fire after refusing to bow down to a false god. King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered all of his people to worship a giant idol he made out of gold and Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego declined.

The king became furious and ordered the furnace to be heated seven times the normal temperature. It was so hot that the people who threw these men into the fire were consumed by the flames.

As the king was walking away, he heard the men singing God's praises while they were in the middle of the flames. He was astonished as he looked inside and saw the three men still alive. There was a fourth person who was also with the men and the king described Him as like the Son of God.

The king called the three out of the fire and they showed no signs of being burned. Their clothes were intact. When the king saw this, he decreed that anyone caught speaking out against the God of the Hebrews would be cut into pieces. Then he promoted the three men who survived the flames.

You can check out the full story in the third chapter of Daniel in the Old Testament. These three men were regular people who remained obedient to God even when faced with death. They had obeyed God in small things prior to facing the biggest challenge of their lives. They knew that God was capable of rescuing them from the king and from the flames. They also knew that they must obey even if God did not rescue them.

I can think of many times in my life when I have encountered situations that required standing up for God. It was easier to live in a cave. Now that I am out of the cave, I see the evil that is gaining strength in our world. For example, if you are an opponent of abortion, you are not called "pro-life", you are called "anti-abortion". If you are for marriage between a man and a woman, you are labeled as against equal rights. If you favor prayer, then you are not "politically correct".

The biggest lesson I have learned from Jesus is to love everyone and not to judge. I no longer have any prejudice inside of me,however, if I am ever asked to disobey God, I will follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, even if it is not popular.

Remember this, if you find yourself in the fire, Jesus is there with you, even if you cannot see Him.

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