When the Heat Gets Turned Up...

Pray: Ask God to give you wisdom and insight to understand the Scripture that you are reading and the faith to live what He reveals to you.

Read: Daniel 3

This week, we come to one of the more famous biblical accounts in the Old Testament: The three amigos! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in their attempted torturous murder in King Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. Sometimes it’s harder to fully engage with a passage we’ve read many times, but there is a lot here for us to consider. First, King Neb issues an order that all Babylonians, including Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, must bow and worship the 90-foot tall golden statue he has had erected, or they will be burned to death. While this may seem outlandish to us today, consider that this really amounts to a choice between idolatry and death — spiritual treason against God or national treason against the King. We too live in this tension, where we must constantly and daily choose between friendship with the world (which is hostility toward God, James 4:4), or faithfulness to Christ.

Second, we see true biblical faith exhibited here. These three men exhibited active trust in God. True faith isn’t just intellectual agreement or belief – it is trust in action. It’s not a leap, but a step that should flow naturally from what we know about God, as he has revealed it through his word and through the work of the Spirit in our lives.

Since Jesus “humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8), surely we must not count our physical lives and comfort as more important than faithful living for our sacrificial and sovereign Savior.

Lastly, while we are indeed faced with individual, small, daily choices of holiness over idolatry, many in the world and in our own country have had to choose either renouncing Christ or facing death. As unpleasant as this is, we need to consider how we should respond if we are ever in that circumstance.

Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood that biblical faith requires dying to self, so that God may be glorified through us. May it be so in our lives as well!

Reflection Questions:

  1. What do I value more on any given day...my life and comfort or the advancement of God’s Kingdom and glory? What changes do I need to make in my life based on my reaction to that question?
  2. How should an understanding of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith, and the faith of other potential martyrs today, influence how we share and present the gospel in our city?
  3. What is success? What if God did not rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace? Would the world or even the church still consider them successful?

Memorize: Daniel 3:28