When God rewarded the faithfulness of the three Jewish boys by delivering them from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), little did they know their stand and God’s actions would transform, albeit temporarily, the Babylonians’ worship practices.
According to the narrative, after the boys’ miraculous deliverance, “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own 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'”(Daniel 3:28-29, NKJV). In addition, like an afterthought, we learn that the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, in the province of Babylon (v. 30).
Have you ever wondered what transformation would take place in our homes, our schools, our churches, our businesses, and our nations, if Christians everywhere stood firm on their convictions? Being a Christian can sometimes feel like swimming upstream while everybody and everything else is going downstream. It would be great if God would somehow steer us away from those situations that require having to make those seemingly tough decisions to be fair and honest; to stand up for what is right, just, and true. As societies become more secular and unashamedly opposed to absolute values of right and wrong, Christians are called upon to stay the course, to lift Jesus even higher. To sacrifice all, even one’s life if necessary.
However, God does not always steer or deliver us from challenging situations. As He did with Shadrach and his friends, He allows us to walk these difficult paths to demonstrate His power and His glory in and through us. As someone so rightly puts it, “Sometimes God calms the storm. At other times, He calms the sailor. And sometimes He makes us swim.” One thing we are assured of is that when He makes us swim, as the fourth man in the fiery furnace was with the boys, we are never alone.
Indian social reformer Pandita Ramabai was right when she said, “A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.” The Jewish boys’ unwavering faithfulness produced results – their deliverance, their promotion, and a change in Babylon’s worship practices. What changes does God have in store when you and I take a stand in our sphere of influence? Do you trust Him enough to find out even if you are the only one left standing?