Everyone faces pressure in life on some level or another and standing strong against the pressures of other people is a difficult challenge for many, and even more so when you are a person of faith in the Lord. The account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3 is just one of many examples of how the fallen world and its systems stand in opposition to the Kingdom of God.
The choice will never go away as long as you live: Bow down to “the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”, (Ephesians 6:12) or kneel before the King of Kings.
You were created to worship God – all humankind was. That means that everyone worships something or someone whether or not they realize it. But the fallen world is ruled by their “father, the devil”. (John 8:44)
So, “..do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you…” (1 Peter 4:12)
The enemy wants to keep you living under constant pressure and anxiety to try and force you to “bow down” to him and he will tempt you to fear the consequences of standing for the Lord.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced literal death by fire, but if you don’t bow down before the world’s idols of pride, lust, politics, and every kind of sin, the world will cast you into all kinds of fire to watch you burn. But guess what? God wants you to burn too- for Him!
The Real Fire of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was for the Lord
Is your fear of people stronger than your fear of the Lord? That is a question all believers must ask themselves every time the world tries to cast them into the fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Adebnego burned for the Great King Above All Gods (Psalm 95:3), that is why they didn’t fear fire any other kind!
But their inner fire wasn’t because they were brave – they burned because they were true believers.
1. Remember Who Your True King is
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (as well as Daniel) were captives in the pagan country of Babylon. They had witnessed the murders of their entire family, the sacking of their beloved city, the obliteration of their people and then they’d been taken captive, yet in spite of it all they never lost their faith in the Lord.
In Daniel 3:18, Nebuchadnezzar demanded they worship him as the king, but their response showed clearly that there was only one King when they said, “…be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” (MEV)
Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as God, but God wanted to show him the truth too, and He used his own captives to do it.~Alicia Purdy
After all they’d been through, they were not bitter. They were better. They were not weaker, they were stronger! (Daniel 1:11-15) The pressure to bow before the ‘kings’ of the world will come – in your family, at your work, in your heart and mind, in your habits.
You must choose and then stand and make your choice know – to whom will you bow? This is really hard at times. You’ll need a foundation of testimony and faith to stand upon.
King Nebuchadnezzar turned the pressure up even more and said this to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: “Is it true that you do not serve my god? … and who is the god that would deliver you from MY hand?” (Daniel 3:14-15) Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as God, but God wanted to show him the truth too, and He used his own captives to do it.
If you are not firmly convinced of who the true King of Glory is, how will the lost and dying world ever know?
2. Look at the Fire Through the Eyes of Faith
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not so filled with faith that they were ignorant to reality. They were in an immediately deadly situation, facing a very public life or death decision – to betray the Lord and bow before an idol for the king’s approval or stand before the Lord and face the king’s wrath.
If they had allowed themselves to think about the pain of burning, or had focused on the rage of the king, or if they had let their minds become overwhelmed with fear, they would have bowed to the pressure.
You’ve already seen that in this world, tribulations will come, as Jesus said. (John 16:33) And you’ve seen that sometimes it is the will of God for you to face them, walk through them or fight back while He goes with you.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego saw their fire through the eyes of faith, which means the promises of God that what you can’t see in the natural are true, when you look through the eyes of the spirit.
Their response was, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
Their words were never about whether or not God would deliver them from the fire. They trusted that whatever happened, even if they died, God would still have the victory even if they didn’t see it with their own eyes.
3. Live a Life of Spiritual Fire Before the World’s Fire Comes
The Lord wants you to burn for Him. A lifestyle of praise and worship keep you connected to His Spirit and with His presence surrounding you, the world’s fires will rage and you’ll never get burned, even if you’re thrown into the furnace because you’re already on fire!
A lifestyle of worship means you are committed, open and grateful to the Lord and it frames everything in your life. Give God the glory at every moment. Entering into God’s presence with thanksgiving will keep your spirit strong to face the world’s fire.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not alone in the fire because they walked with God, and when the world threw them into the furnace, God walked with them.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not alone in the fire because they walked with God, and when the world threw them into the furnace, God walked with them.~Alicia Purdy
So often believers become terrified of the consequences of speaking up, and of getting thrown into the “fires” of life or being judged or losing something they hold dear that they cave to the pressure and bow to the world, conforming, compromising and remaining silent when the truth is that a supernatural manifestation of the Great King Above All Gods is in the fire with you.
4. Remember that You Were Never Meant to Fit in
In Acts 4, even the religious leaders commanded the apostles to stop using Jesus’ name, the Apostle’s reply was, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot help but declare what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19) and when it happened again? They said, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Peter said that believers are, “aliens and refugees” in the world, a “strange people” to the world’s way of thinking and behaving. (1 Peter 2:9, 11) Because you walk in the light, you’ll always stand out in the darkness. Don’t hide that light, Jesus said. (Matthew 5:15) The truth is, if you’re not daily bowing before the Lord in worship, you’ll eventually bow before someone else under pressure.
The truth is, if you’re not daily bowing before the Lord in worship, you’ll eventually bow before someone else under pressure.~Alicia Purdy
Worship is the ultimate form of submission to the Lord, and expresses the willing obedience that He has asked for. (Psalm 50:23) It is that dynamic connection with His presence that will reframe your thinking, give you courage, remind of who you really are and provide you with the weapons you need to fight the enemy.
Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of Babylon never forgot their true identities as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah of Jerusalem, sons of the tribe of Judah. (Daniel 1:6-7) It is only through a life rooted in the Word of God, worship and prayer that you will understand your true self, and even though the world will call you names, remember who you really and and whose you really are.
5. Choose This Day for Whom You Will Burn
Not every fiery furnace in your life will be as black and white as bowing before an idol. In fact, Stephen, the first martyr (Acts 6-7) was a man of great faith and love for the Lord who stood before an infuriated Sanhedrin, as Jesus once had, and spoke strong words of truth about the trap of religion that ensnared them. He was killed for speaking the truth.
There is a cost to serving only the Lord and you’ll need a strong faith to stand firm. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” (John 15:18-19) But no matter how hard the choice is – you still have one. The world will put its pressures on you to force you to bow and if you don’t, they’ll definitely toss you into the fiery furnace.
You may one day be faced with the choice to bow emotionally to someone or socially or politically or even in boldly standing to speak about your faith to people who hate you, as Stephen was faced with. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego put it this way: “O king, we have no need to answer you…we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 4:16, 18)
The refusal to justify your actions is a powerful, strong response that the world will hate, but you serve the King above Kings and He will take what the enemy meant for evil and work it out for good. (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28)
Through worship, the Lord puts His peace on you as you bow before only Him and if you burn for Him- He’ll walk with you through the fire and you won’t get burned!
Find Strength to Face the Fiery Furnace in Your Life:
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