Standing before king Nebuchadnezzar and facing his wrath for their refusal to worship the image according to the instructions heralded to all (Daniel 3:4), the three Jewish boys were offered a deal that would spare them being thrown into the burning fiery furnace. To compound the severity of their non-compliance, certain Chaldeans accused them before the king of having “not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (v. 12, KJV).
There was no ambiguity to the deal. When they heard the sound of the music, “Now if . . . ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In other words, dance or die. However, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not intimidated. They knew that this was a bad deal and so “answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (vv. 16-18). In other words, no deal! Thanks, but no thanks! The fiery furnace is nothing for our God to deliver us from and even if He doesn’t, we will not compromise our beliefs or turn our backs on the God we serve.
What tremendous commitment! One could argue that such commitment is lacking among some professed believers who time and time again dance to the music and worship various images in an attempt to preserve popularity, their relationships, and personal ambitions. Instead of standing firmly for Christ regardless of cost, it is often easier to compromise our beliefs and values. Who wants to be ridiculed? To be ostracized?
What we know is that after being thrown in the furnace, heated seven times more than it was initially, the boys’ faith in God was rewarded and they were delivered (vv. 19-30). Miraculously, “the fire had no power [upon their bodies], nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (v.27). God rewarded their faithfulness and their testimony was of such that it transformed the worship practices of the Babylonians (vv. 28-29). We should never discount the power of individuals standing for Christ and what He is able to do in and through them in those difficult circumstances.
Christians everywhere are in somewhat similar positions today. Compromise or be ridiculed? Stand for Christ or be scorned? Oh, lest I forget, we get to choose. We must choose. Deal or no deal? How do you choose?