Hey guys welcome to my second installment of my biblical heroes series! Today I’d like to cover the lives and heroic acts of not just one – but three biblical heroes:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
If you went to Sunday school as a kid, I’m sure you have probably heard this story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their experience with blazing furnace numerous times. I know I had. But upon revisiting the narrative as an adult, I have a new appreciation for just how heroic these holy rebels truly were.
The trio shows up in the scriptures in the book of Daniel, set in the sixth century BC. At this time in history, God had lifted his hand of protection from Israel due to generation after generation of rebellion against him, thus, allowing the Israelites to be taken over and exiled in Babylon.
Formerly known as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah respectively (their names were changed when brought into Babylon, presumably to rob them of their Hebrew identity), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were brought into the palace to become servants of the king. They were described as young men without any physical defect, well informed, and quick to understand, thus, qualifying them to serve at the king’s table.
What the king had not taken into consideration when bringing these men into his service however, was their passion to serve God, their bold fearlessness, and their insane amount of discipline.
Into the blazing furnace
Under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, a 90 ft tall gold statue made to look like the King was erected. It was commanded to the captive Jews (as well as everyone else living in the land) that whenever they heard the sound of music, everyone was to fall down before this thing and worship. Refusal to do so would result in facing a gruesome death by being thrown alive into a blazing furnace.
So the music hits and driven by the fear of death everyone in the nation fell on their faces to worship this thing… everyone that is except for our heroes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
These guys stood their ground, disregarding the threat made on their lives, refusing to turn their backs on God and bow down to an image created by a mere man.
Nebuchadnezzar’s officials caught wind of this so word of these rebellious men got back to him. He had them summoned to his courts and gave them the same ultimatum as the rest of the nation – fall down and worship the image I made or be cast alive into a blazing furnace.
Their response to his threat is what landed them on my list of heroes of the bible and gets me pumped up every time I read it.
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
If there was ever a moment in history I’d say to “drop the mic,” this one would be it.
Much like Jason statham in any movie he’s ever been in, these guys feared absolutely nothing.
No they were not going to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol; God has the power to rescue them from death; and even if God decided that he wasn’t going to save them from the blazing furnace they still would not bow down to some man-made image.
Pretty heroic. They were willing to stand up for their beliefs even to the point of death and were utmost respectful in their way of telling the king so (which I’m sure set him off).
Now if you’ve read the rest of the story you’ll know that they were in fact thrown into the blazing furnace and that God did decide rescue them. He sent “one like a son of the gods” (which many believe to be a pre incarnate Christ) to protect them from the flames and the three men exited the fire without even burning a hair on their heads.
King Nebuchadnezzar whom obviously had to have been in shock from witnessing a supernatural event like this, praised God right along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego after they came out of the furnace. He was so moved by witnessing the power of God, that he went so far as to declaring a decree that anyone who spoke against the their God would be put to death because “no other god can save in this way.”
Not only were these guys saved from certain death, but seeing God’s miraculous power firsthand also caused King Nebuchadnezzar to change his outlook on God and even change his laws. Pretty awesome stuff! This is one story that wouldn’t have had such a great outcome if these three men hadn’t stood up for their beliefs and refused to do what they knew in their hearts was right.
What can we learn from all of this?
To me, I got two big lessons.
- God WILL save his people. This doesn’t necessarily that we will all be spared from death in some miraculous way like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were (though it’s not out of the realm of possibility), but he will save our souls. This was demonstrated with Jesus on the cross, taking up our sin and taking our punishment so that we have access to God, his Spirit, and eternal life.
- There are times in life where you have to go against everything else and stick to what you know is right. These guys knew that God was really in charge and they were strong enough to go against what was society was doing and stand up for what they believed in.
Train hard, eat right, and stay blessed💪🏻