If the president of the United States signed into law a bill stating that worshiping God and being a Christian was illegal, would you obey the law? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were faced with just that decision when Nebuchadnezzar, who was the King of Babylon at the time, commanded every person in the land to bow down and worship his image (see Daniel chapter 3). Previously, King Nebuchadnezzar had built a large statue out of gold that measured sixty cubits high (ninety feet) and six cubits wide (nine feet), which is about one-third the size of the Statue of Liberty. Wow, that was a huge statue in ancient times! Then, he had the statue placed on the plain of Dura in Babylon and declared that people of every nation should bow down to the gold idol or they would be thrown into a blazing furnace.
In response, most all people bowed down and praised the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar—except for three brave men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the king’s idol. When he was told about this, King Nebuchadnezzar then called for the three Jewish men and asked them if it was true that they refused to bow down to the statue as commanded. Each agreed that they refused to worship the idol, even knowing the consequences. Then they said, “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 will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17–18 NIV).
Of course, it’s important that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew they would be thrown into the fiery furnace for their actions and trusted that God was able to save them from it. But more importantly, they accepted that even if their God didn’t choose to save them, they would still not bow down or worship anyone or anything besides their God. Wow! These men had so much faith and trust in God that even if he did not choose to save them, they would still trust in him wholeheartedly.
A new song came out recently called “Even If,” by MercyMe, which discusses this type of faith in a way very personal to the singer. The song was written by band member Bart Millard, whose oldest son has type 1 diabetes. In discussing how the song came about, he explains that diabetes, like all chronic illnesses, has its good and bad days. Millard continues: “Deep down part of me wrestles with the fact that I know God can heal him, but for whatever reason he is not.”
This concept—knowing God can heal or fix a situation but may choose not to—can be one of the hardest things for Christians to accept about God. All Christians believe in God and know He is all powerful and therefore has the power to heal a disease or fix a situation. But what if he doesn’t? What if he decides not to heal Millard’s son who has type 1 diabetes? Or if he doesn’t deliver us or a family member from an illness or fix a painful situation? Again, Millard wisely concludes, “Sam (his diabetic son) is going to change the world as a diabetic.” Millard goes on to explain that he wants to be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, having the courage to stand in front of the fire without fear and without knowing the outcome. He wants to be able to say that he knows God is able to heal his precious son, but even if he doesn’t, he will still trust the Lord and accept the outcome.
I challenge everyone to trust in God through the trials. In dealing with trials, Jesus promises, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The earth is a place filled with sin, imperfection, pain, and struggles. Every single person in this world will go through trials in their lives and will at times struggle, but Jesus promises us in this verse that he has overcome the world. If that isn’t comforting, then I don’t know what is. I find peace in knowing that God has overcome the world, and He has control over my life and yours. This takes a lot of pressure off me. It also reminds me that God has a plan for each of our lives. The prophet Jeremiah received this word from God: “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
For this promise to come true, though, we have to fully trust God and submit to his plan. Therefore, the decision each of us has to make is whether we’re going to trust God even if his plan for our lives is not the exact same as what we think it should be.
Extras!Daniel 3 word search
Daniel 3 crossword puzzle