Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three young Jewish men, were taken into captivity when Babylon conquered Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, recognized the extraordinary potential in the three men and appointed them to important posts in his government. King Nebuchadnezzar had created a giant gold statue and commanded everyone in his kingdom to bow down and worship it. Anyone who didn’t bow down to the statue would be thrown into a fiery furnace. On the appointed day, the statue was unveiled, and everyone in Babylon bowed to it, save for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. This was the Babylonian advisers’ chance to do away with the Jews. They knew that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were forbidden by the God of Israel to bow down to any idols. So they alerted Nebuchadnezzar to the three Jews’ disobedience. Enraged, the king sent for them. He gave them one more chance to bow down to his idol and escape certain, painful death in the furnace. They politely declined his offer. No threat could make them disobey the God who had taken care of them throughout their captivity.
The essence of their faith is found in the words, “But even if he doesn’t.” They knew God could save them but didn’t know if that’s what he would do. It didn’t matter, though. What mattered was obedience.God did miraculously rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from their fiery fate. Yet that’s almost a coda to the real story. The point is that all three men stood ready to give their lives for what they believed in.
Perhaps you’ve never faced a life-or-death test of your faith. Perhaps you never will. You may, however, face tests that pull you out of your comfort zone. You may be asked to risk public embarrassment and vehement opposition for Jesus’ sake. You may be put in uncomfortable positions. How will you respond? Will you draw on the strength and courage that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego drew on to take your stand?