Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? "Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:13-18 NAS)This story is one of the most inspirational ones in all of scripture - not only because God did deliver them from the fire (in the furnace) but because of their stand in the face of intense intimidation.
Life has its way of intimidating us doesn't it. Nebuchadnezzar can show up in all sorts of ways. Sometimes he shows up overtly demanding that we bow to the things that we know we should not bow to, but sometimes he shows up so subtly intimidating us to bow in thoughts and attitudes. This is where I am challenged today as I watch my wife back in a wheelchair and struggling physically from MS. I find Nebuchadnezzar standing over me today intimidating me ... telling me to bow to a subtle worship of fear, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. I find something rising within me saying, like the guys in Babylon:
O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of Multiple Sclerosis; and He will eventually deliver us. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not bow to feelings of fear, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.Isn't it interesting that God let them be thrown into the furnace but He did not allow the fire to consume them. It is written that a man who looked like 'a son of the gods' was in the furnace with them. Isn't that just like God to send help in the form of one who looked like His son? The story is still true today. God shows up in ways that we can't imagine when we face down Nebuchadnezzar.