Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
Daniel 3:1-6 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:12 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:13-15 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:17-18 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:19-20 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:21-23 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:24-25 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:26 (NKJV)
Daniel 3:28-29 (NKJV)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of my favorite miracles in the Bible!
I am so fond of this miracle that over the course of 40+ years I have named three of my dogs after the main characters. In 1974 I had a Schnauzer named Shadrach. In the 1990’s I had a Yorkie named Mechach. In 2013 I named my Schnoodle Abed-nego (his nickname is Auby). I know that’s crazy, but all my dogs have had Biblical names. (My other current wee shihtzu pup Zac is named after the wee little man Zaccheus.)
Okay, enough silliness...now to the story!
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abed-nego were taken into captivity after the Babylonian Empire invaded the southern Kingdom of Israel in 597 B.C.
In Daniel 3:1-6 King Nebuchadnezzar made a large statue of Gold and displayed it for all to see. Officials gathered to dedicate the statue. Then an announcement was made that everyone was ordered to bow down and worship the gold statue.
In Daniel 3:6 everyone was told, “whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Put into context, the king meant worship my little g gods and my golden statue.
Really? The golden statue thing yet again? So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had worshipped Yahweh all their lives and now you tell me we have to worship a gold statue? While they were considering the issue, they got reported to the King for not complying to his orders to worship the gold statue.
In Daniel 3:12 we learn “There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Apparently that didn’t go over well with the King. We read in Daniel 3:13-15, “Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Wow...the king did not waste any time or mince words about what would happen if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did not worship his gods and bow down to his golden statue. He even told them what their sentence would be if they did not comply AND he challenged the Hebrew Yahweh God. Hummm...apparently King Nebuchadnezzar did NOT know who he was messing with!
I have to admit, if it would have been me, I would have been praying about what God wanted here and I would be asking God how he was going to deliver me. I would be thinking about how to escape and make my way back to Israel.
That’s not quite how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego handled the situation. In Daniel 3:17-18 they said, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
So without hesitation, the three men basically said, so be it. We know our God (Yahweh God) is able to deliver us. BUT even if Yahweh does not choose to deliver us, we will not serve your gods or bow down to the golden image you have made.
When the king was first told that the three Hebrew men wouldn’t bow down to his gods and worship his golden statue, he went into a rage of fury. Now that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego told him to his face they refused to worship his gods, the king was all out furious. He was so mad that scripture says he was full of fury!
In Daniel 3:19-20 we read, “Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.”
The king was mad mad mad. He was so mad that he ordered his men to heat the furnace seven times hotter AND he ordered his men to bind up their clothing. I suppose he thought if they tried to get away that might slow them down? Regardless of the reason, the kings servants did as he ordered.
Daniel 3:21-23 says, “Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”
Here I think the kings plan backfired a bit. He hadn’t thought about the fire in the furnace being so hot it would kill his servants who escorted the three Hebrews to the door of the furnace. So, the men outside of the furnace got burned up while Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego seemed to be still standing...in the furnace.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:24-25).
Interesting use of words he used. The fourth man is LIKE the Son of God. I would have expected them to say, “the fourth is like a god.” So, without knowing it, King Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors acknowledged Yahweh God as the ONE true God!
In Daniel 3:26 we learn, “Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not have even a hair on their head singed and they did NOT smell of smoke. And once again, this time publicly King Nebuchadnezzer called the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego the Most High God. It sounds to me like the king had been converted!
In Daniel 3:28-29 that was confirmed: “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.”
They frustrated the king.
They refused to worship any other god.
They were willing to die for God.
The king admitted they were delivered by an agent of God.
And therefore, he recognized God as the true God and made it so no one could speak ill of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego or their God.
And the kings reason for that decree? “Because there is no other God who can deliver like this!”
Today’s Spiritual Practice: ONE True God
Confess with your mouth and your heart that God is the ONE true God!
In God, Deborah