In Daniel 3, we find the story of the fiery furnace. Here is an overview of this story and what we can learn from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
*This blog post is a summary from Mark Johnston’s sermon on 6/12/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
At the beginning of Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar creates and sets up a golden image. He orders everyone in the kingdom to fall down and worship the image any time they hear music. He adds that whoever will not follow this command will be immediately thrown into the fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to obey the order to worship the golden image. This refusal enrages the king. He asks the three friends: “And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” They respond with faith that God will deliver them from the king and the fiery furnace, concluding with this statement: “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They trust that they will be saved, but even if God chooses not to save them, they will obey him anyway.
The three friends are bound and thrown into the fiery furnace, which was heated “seven times more than it was usually heated.” The king is then astonished to see the men walking unbound and unhurt through the fire. He also sees a fourth man, whose appearance is “like a son of the gods” in the fire with them! After witnessing this miracle, Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the furnace and once again acknowledges the one true God.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s lives prepared them to stand firm when faced with the fiery furnace. They lived in a godless culture and were constantly challenged to compromise. But they had a strong foundation of faith that prepared them for what lay ahead.
The culture we find ourselves in today is not that different from Babylon. As believers and followers of Christ in this version of “Babylon,” we will also have times that we are tested. We will face our own “fiery furnaces.” But we can trust that God will be with us through all of these difficult trials.
If we want to be able to show courage like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and not cave under the world’s pressure, we must prepare ourselves before the tests begin. This preparation involves growing closer to God and to other believers in authentic community.
Here are some steps we can take:
Now is the time to grow closer to the Lord, not just before the fire. Sometimes, whether we like it or not, going through the fire is what we are called to do. But we can trust that God will be with us through it and that He will be glorified when we remain faithful.