Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”Daniel 3:14–18
In a recent devotional, we read the words of Jeremiah declaring nothing is too hard for God, and here we see those words in action. At the time of this passage, Israel had been conquered, their brightest and finest young men carried away captive to Babylon and trained in the ways of the Babylonians in order to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court.
But the king asked the men of Israel to do the very thing that had led to Jerusalem’s destruction: bow to an idol. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, along with Daniel, were truly of the brightest and best of Israel because they knew something about their God that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t. They knew their God could certainly deliver them from the furnace, but even if He didn’t, He was still the only God worthy to be praised or bowed to.
We do not have to bow to the world’s demands, friends. Their demands for us to relinquish the exclusive claims of the Christian message must never be obeyed. Our response must be the same as was the response of the three Hebrew boys to Nebuchadnezzar: “We have no need to answer you, for you can do nothing to us apart from God’s will. God can deliver from the flame, or He can deliver from this life by the flame. Either way, we’re not bowing!” Now that’s living what you say you believe! The world is asking us to bow to many things today, to allow some latitude in what we believe. We are urged to be more tolerant and encouraged to coexist and acknowledge that one person’s truth is as valid as another’s. But God calls this idolatry—even spiritual adultery. We have no need to answer these things other than by serving our God who is able to deliver, whether from death or through death. Our God alone is the only one we must bow before!
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