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The Pastor's Blog

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Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were three young Hebrew boys captured by the Babylonian army, deported from Israel to Babylon, and made slaves of that foreign empire. As their individual freedoms were stolen, so were their names. Their captors gave them the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.


The ruler the world’s superpower was Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. His empire stretched from northern Africa to modern-day Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and through Israel and Syria into modern-day Turkey. The world was ruled by Babylon.


As the Babylonians conquered their enemies, they enslaved them, gave them new names, and demanded that they worship only Babylonian gods.


When Nebuchadnezzar constructed a statue, presumably a likeness of himself, he built it big enough to be seen from a great distance. Standing on the plains of Dura, the towering golden idol stood “ninety feet high and nine feet wide” (Daniel 3:1). Every soul in the Babylonian world was required to worship the statue.


“King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces to attend the dedication of the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Daniel 3:2). The tyrant-king’s “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 3:4–6).


Everyone obeyed… except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.


“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 3:14–15).


“Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual…. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?’ ‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,’ they replied. ‘Look!’ Nebuchadnezzar shouted. ‘I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!’ ” (Daniel 3:19–25, NLT). When the three faithful Hebrew boys, unharmed by the fierce flames, stepped out of the industrial-sized furnace, the hard-hearted king exclaimed, “praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!” (Daniel 3:28).


The inspired words of Isaiah are true! “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, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3).


Glory to the one true God … “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!”


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