There’s a story in the book of Daniel.
I heard it as a child. And Sunday School’s all over the world teach this story to their little students. In fact, It’s so popular it was made into a veggie tales book and perhaps movie… These 3 they call Rack, Shack and Benny.
The Bible calls them Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego. 3 guys who were men of integrity. Men who stood when many, even their friends and neighbors did not. These guys were the inner circle of Daniel. He called on them to earnestly pray for him when the king was threatening to kill all his wise men for not being able to interpret his dream.
Well now the arrogant king decided to have all the people of the nation come together and by force they were all supposed to bow down to an image that he had made. A huge statue. I don’t get all their bowing down to idol stuff in the old testament but it seemed to be the trendy thing to do. And I think perhaps if we are honest there are many more options of things to bow to today then they had in the OT.
So the king has issued this command and these guys won’t do it. Now these 3 are actually high-ranking officials in the land. They aren’t just mere mortals. And people tend to follow people in higher ranks so this lack of bowing was even more of a threat to the king’s command.
Some people who saw this went to the king and reported this insubordinate attitude. And the king was FURIOUS! So he gave them another chance saying…” Now look guys, maybe you didn’t understand but if you are ready to fall down now excellent… But… if you don’t you will be burned alive. And no god will be able to save you.”
And this is the part that I love.
They replied… “O Nebuchandnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand., O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up”.
Is that not the coolest verse of faith ever?!
I love that they proclaimed God as being able to do whatever he wants… Whether to keep them alive here or take them but either way he is still God.
Nothing the king could do to them would deter their steadfast stand.
We could use some more Rack Shack and Benny’s today.
People who aren’t afraid to stand when everyone else is bowing.
Men and women who say… I am standing on this with no fear of what anyone will do or say of me.
Followers of Jesus who don’t compromise for the sake of being liked or popular.
The end of the story is great… In the furnace they are thrown. And what happens? Jesus does indeed come and save them from the flames. In fact the king sees 4 men walking around in that hot furnace. The furnace that had already killed the strong soldiers who threw them in. It was that hot. But these 3 guys came out totally unharmed! They didn’t even smell like campfire smoke! No scorched eyebrows no blazing trail or smell of rubber from their feet!
God had saved them and he still saves today.
There are choices we are making every day.
Will we stand or not?
Do we allow God to save us from the furnace or do we just bow so we never get to see him work his miraculous power?
Reasoning if I don’t bow now I may not get that promotion.
If I don’t go along with this shady thing… I won’t fit in.
If I can’t stand for the small things I will never be able to stand when the big test comes.
Every time we say no to sin, every time we turn away and look stupid or dull or old-fashioned in the eyes of the crowd…
we have stood.
These are the hero’s I want to stand beside.
Men of strong character.
Let it be said of us that we gave God a chance to be God.
That we stood for the right no matter the cost.
That we would not bow to idea’s, trends or anything that keeps us from being true followers of Jesus.
Today know that he is able to save you from your furnace.
Let him be your Savior today.