Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego
and the Fiery Furnace
When Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar about his dream, the heathen
king could see that Daniel’s God was powerful. Yet he still thought there were
many gods. The miracle from Daniel’s God just showed the Lord deserved a high
place of honor, along with the Babylonian gods. Nebuchadnezzar allowed the Jews
to continue worshipping the Lord and ordered his own people to honor Him, too.
But he soon showed he still expected everyone to bow down before important
Babylonian idols. A frightening clash came when Nebuchadnezzar set up a huge
golden statue of his god in the plains of Dura for all to worship. When it was
ready, He sent word for everyone to come bow down before the image.
People of all nations and languages were to fall down and
worship the golden statue when they heard the king’s special music, the
messengers cried aloud for everyone to hear.
A frightening warning was included for those who refused to bow
down before the image. “Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast
immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace,” the messenger
proclaimed. Of course this would not be a problem for most people. They did not
know about the true God and His command that people worship no other god beside
Him. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego knew. And they refused to follow the
king’s orders to bow down before the golden image.
Some of the men of Babylon seemed happy to report this to the
king. Perhaps they were just waiting for a chance to make these foreigners over
them look bad. The men told Nebuchadnezzar, “O King, live forever…there are
certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon:
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; these men, O king, …do not serve your gods or
worship the gold image which you have set up.”
The king was furious when he heard the words of the men. In a
rage he commanded that the youths from Judah be brought to him. “Is it true,
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the
gold image which I have set up?” he demanded angrily. He said he would give them
one more chance to obey - - if when they heard the music, they would fall down
and worship, god! But if not, he vowed they would be cast immediately into the
midst of a burning fiery furnace. “And who is the god who will deliver you from
my hands?” he boasted.
The three lads were not afraid. “Our God whom we serve is able
to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…,” they said calmly. “But if not,
let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we
worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Now Nebuchadnezzar was determined to carry out his threat.
Commanding that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual, he called
some of his bravest soldiers to throw the young men in. Imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s
horror when the intense heat killed his own men! He was even more shocked when
he looked into the furnace. “Did we not cast three men into the midst of the
fire?” he asked those nearby. “True, O king,” they replied. “Look”, he ordered,
“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and the form of the
fourth is like a son of the gods.” Going near the furnace mouth, the disturbed
king shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the most high God,
come out and come here!”
To everyone’s amazement, the young men had not been affected at
all by the hot fire. When Nebuchadnezzar realized their clothes were not burned,
their hair was not singed, and there was no smell of fire about them, he praised
their courage and their God.
“Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or language
which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego
shall be cut in pieces and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there
is no other god who can deliver like this!” the mighty Nebuchadnezzar declared.
Talking it Over:
1. Read in Dan 3:21 how the king’s men tried to make sure the
boys could not escape. Talk about God’s protection for His people.
2. Would the boys have worshipped the image if they had known they would be
burned to death for doing so? (See Dan 16-18) Do God’s people ever have to
suffer for their faith? What about Jesus?
3. Talk about how the king and his people must have felt when they saw this
wonderful miracle. Do you think the Babylonians turned away from idols after
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according
to Your Word.” Psa 119:9
How is this advice important for young people today?
Text by Betty Belue Haynes, originally published in Bible Talk Times. /i>
Used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce
for use, but not for publication.