Focal Passages: Daniel 3:1, 8-12, 15b-18, 24-25, 28
It seems like we value physical security and safety above nearly all else in our culture. Sadly, that mentality also creeps into ministry life. We worry about going on that mission trip to Africa or the Philippines. What will we eat? Is there running water? Do they have poisonous snakes? Is the region/area/nation safe? I am not suggesting these questions aren’t worth asking. I am suggesting the fact that we ask these questions first reveals something terribly wrong with our view of eternity.
If we are going to be faithful in fulfilling the Great Commission, we must adopt a mentality similar to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In Daniel 3 the king issued a decree requiring every person in Babylon to bow down to a statue or face a brutal death. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to do so, and their disobedience was reported (Daniel 3:8-12). The king ordered them brought before him with one final opportunity to obey or face the consequences.
They had no intention of doing so (v. 15-18). Rather, they let the king know that their God was capable of delivering them from the fiery furnace he threatened them with. More than that, even if he did not deliver them, he was still worth serving.
The king was enraged and ordered the furnace heated seven times its normal temperature. It was so hot that the guards taking Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to the edge were consumed by the heat; but they were unharmed. Indeed, they were even seen to be walking around in the furnace, with one who appeared to be “a son of the gods.” Many theologians believe that the fourth person in the furnace was, in fact, a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus. A great encouragement to us that Jesus is with us in the midst of the trouble that may result from our obedience.
The actions of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are a reminder to us that physical safety is not nearly as important as obedience to the revealed Word of God. They were willing to die before they would willingly disobey God. Are you?