When Daniel was deported from Jerusalem to Babylon, he was accompanied by three other Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These three guys were given the more memorable Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Along with Daniel, they rose to places of great responsibility and authority while in exile. Daniel served as “ruler over the entire province of Babylon and chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon ... and the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to manage the province of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48-49).
Daniel isn’t mentioned in the third chapter, where the story revolves around his three buddies. Here’s what happened... “King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to assemble ... all the rulers of the provinces to attend the dedication of the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So ... they stood before the statue Nebuchadnezzar had set up. A herald loudly proclaimed, ‘People of every nation and language, you are commanded: When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, you are to fall facedown and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire’ ” (Daniel 3:1-6).
When the tyrant king of Babylon learned that the three Hebrews refused to bow to his statue, “in a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar asked them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up? ... If you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?’ ” (Daniel 3:13-15).
They could have yielded to the king’s demands. Surrender or die! Bow before the statue or face an agonizingly painful execution. What would you do?
By God’s grace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood tall! They refused to bow to a dead god. “If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
God did not save them from the super-heated death-chamber. Rather, Jesus met them there. God doesn’t promise to keep us out of the furnace, or the storm, or from the valley of the shadow of death... He promises to be with us! (Psalm 23:4). “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and the rivers will not overwhelm you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched and the flame will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-2). “God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.