This week I want to start with some verses from God’s word, “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:18-30
Right before this passage, King Nebuchadnezzar made a decree that you have to worship his golden image whenever the music plays, and when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not, that is how they were sent to the King. There are so many takeaways from this passage. I think the one we should focus on is, persecution will come, and when it does, what will we do? Will we run and hide our faith or will we stand. Now, I am not going to tell you that when you stand your story will have an ending like this one. But, there is one thing that will remain the same and that is the fact that Jesus will stand right there with you. As a result of His faithfulness, we see it all throughout history, when there is persecution, there are more people reached. See so many times we are called hypocrites, but when they see us living the way we were called to even through persecution, then they will believe. I will tell you, that it will not be easy to stand, but we must not fold, because we know that our Savior wins and we need to share Him with others.
We see that a king who was just shouting threats against them has a change of heart when fire can not consume them and there was a fourth person in the fire. He went from no one can worship anyone but me, to no one can worship anyone but the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. See, when God shows up the one who is persecuting us has no choice, but to see Him. Just like in this story, God will be there in our trials, hardships, and when we are persecuted. It may not always be so clear to the persecutors, but it will be clear to the Christian. But, if we decide not to stand for God in these times of less persecution in America, we will never stand when we are persecuted more.
So, this week know that He will always be right there with you. Also, decide to stand for God now, because if you cannot stand now, then you will not be able to stand later when persecution comes.