You’ve probably read the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men bravely stood up for what they believed and as a result were thrown into a fiery furnace by the king, who was angry they wouldn’t worship him the way they worshipped their God.
Most of us have never faced persecution as extreme as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But that doesn’t mean we don’t understand what it is like to face resistance as we stand up for what we believe.
Maybe you’ve been socially snubbed.
Maybe you have lost a job.
Maybe you have received criticism or anger from family or friends.
Whatever kind of persecution you have faced for your faith—big or small—there are a few things we can learn from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
1. It is not intolerant to believe in the ultimate Truth
Many people would have you to believe that it is actually you who is being intolerant because you believe in the ultimate truth of Scripture. Don’t buy this.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego weren’t being intolerant simply because they wouldn’t bow down and worship the king’s false god.
They were being faithful. Obedient.
They were being secure in their faith. Not intolerant.
2. You don’t have to be judgmental to live differently
Notice that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t judge everybody else for worshipping the idol. They didn’t get the crowd all riled up against the king or try to lead a rebellion.
In fact, they didn’t say a thing against the King or the nation of Babylon.
The only way the King even found out about them refusing to bow is because jealous astrologers told on them. These guys weren’t mean spirited, they weren’t violent, they didn’t pull out a bullhorn and yell at the crowd or the king.
They simply lived out their faith with integrity and respect.
This is what God calls us to do as well, to live the truth in love and treat people with grace and respect.
3. Not everybody likes the truth or people who stand up for the truth
Nebuchadnezzar commanded the guards to bind the hands of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace. The furnace was so hot, the guards who threw them into the fire ended up dying themselves.
This is how much the king hated these three men.
When you are obedient to God, not everybody will like you. Not everybody will like the way you live your life. In fact, many people will hate you and the way you live your life. This doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.
In fact, it may mean you’re doing something right.
4. God honors obedience
It may seem like being obedient to God means you have to constantly give up something. You lose friends, lose opportunities, lose money, etc.
But the truth is God will always honor your obedience.
While you might lose something in the moment, you always gain when you stand up for what’s right.
Miraculously, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not die in that ridiculously hot furnace. In fact, the only thing that burned was the ropes binding their hands. And then, the fourth person showed up in the fire and rescued them.
Daniel 3:25,26 (NIV) “He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
Thanks to the witness of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the king declare the entire kingdom should worship God.
5. Your faithfulness is an incredible witness.
Whatever persecution you’re facing right now, remember that there are Christians all over the world who are facing the same, if not more persecution than you are. I say that not to make you feel guilty, but to remind you of the importance of your faithfulness.
Your faithfulness is an incredible witness.