Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego
and the Fiery Furnace     Review Activities

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 this?

Memory Verse:

“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.