Most of us have heard the Sunday school lesson about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, from the book of Daniel. And how that they were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow to an idol. What can we understand about this document as adults?
King Nebuchadnezzar built an image of gold to supplant all other gods. It was to be the new god for global worship. The dimensions are 6 x 60 (cubits), only 2 dimensions given. Under penalty of death, everyone was to drop to the worship position, head on the ground, butt in the air, after being prompted by the sound musical instruments. How they coordinated all of this without cell phones is another question. Immediately stop what you are doing where ever you are and hit the deck.
There are a number of references to this type of control through history, but we’ll save that for another day. Where else in the Bible do be find, under penalty of death, forced world-wide worship of an image? Where else do we see multiples of six associated with that image? Right, the Revelation.
What we see in Daniel are 3 conscientious objectors, we could say. We are given a detailed description of their predicament. First a new god is made and announced. Then a law imposed to guarantee compliant worship, because there would be a healthy percentage who would simply not. Fear of an awful death and the knowledge of ever-present informants, could even be family members (or tiny electronic gadgets today), brings all but a very few to capitulate. What you are left with is a remnant. We had a remnant in the book of Daniel. We have a remnant in the Revelation.
Use the examples of cause and effect pertaining to our 3 companions known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Some use the term, “red lines,” these days. Well, the law requiring worship of Nebuchadnezzar’s image was a red line. There must have been thoughts swirling about how well king Nebby had treated them, even placing them in his government. Effectively there could be no compromise. Today we might see colluding pastors deploy Romans 13 to help with the government initiative.
Our 3 companions were given space to reconsider, drop and worship and it will all be forgotten. What resulted was the ultimate act of trust. Set free or not, they would not comply with the king’s demands. Their response to authorities is precisely how we should model our own response, when our time comes. Courage, trust, fear- reverence toward Yah over what men may do to us. Our 3 were saved in the fire of the furnace. That point is very important.
We can also see the fiery furnace as a picture of our own refinement. Through our walk with Y’shua, the earthly trials we have faced and will continue to face, coax forth the pure gold which we are called to become. As we are in the furnace, we rest in Y’shua Messiah, King of kings as He has promised he will never leave us, he will never forsake us, even to the end of the age! He is my helper, and I will not fear what men will do to me.