God uses many different types of stories to drive home points He wants us to learn. I think one of my favorite Bible Stories of all time is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the lessons He has taught me through that. I want to dive deeper into the theme that has thoroughly changed how I look at life.
If at this point you have no idea what am I talking about, asking yourself “Who are these random people with silly names??” I would invite you to read Daniel 3 to gain better background knowledge.
For a quick recap, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were living in Babylon, which was currently being ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold and commanded everyone in Babylon to bow down and worship it when the music played. Since Shadrach, Meshack and Abendigo loved the Lord and sought to honor and glorify Him with their lives, they chose not to bow down and worship the idol. Worshipping would have gone against the 10 commandments God had given his people to live by. They did this not knowing what would happen to them, but trusting that they were following what the Lord wanted.
They were brought to King Nebuchadnezzar and he gave them an ultimatum: either they bow down and worship or be thrown into a fiery furnace. I do not know about the rest of you, but if I was given that option I am pretty sure I would be so scared and I would pretend to worship that idol pretty quick! But our three friends stood fast in their faith and told the King:
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
I love that line! It speaks leaps and bounds about the character of Shadrach, Meshack and Abendigo, showing they were willing to trust God and that His plan is best whether or not He chooses to let them die. They accept that they know God could choose to save them if he wanted to. Their true goal in life was to glorify God the best way they could.
I think the next part of the story is my absolute favorite. In verse 23 it says “and these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.” I am personally so quick to beg God to save me from the “fires” in my life. When friendships get hard, when someone gets sick, when I feel down, I am quick to ask God to take it away – to fix it. I love that He let them go into the furnace, I love that He did not swoop down and save them, but the thing I love most is that He was with them the whole time in the fire! “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods,” (Daniel 3:25). I adore how reassuring it is to have that hope. So often I can feel like God is not hearing my prayers simply because He is not answering them the way I wanted, but the truth is He is still right there, walking beside me using my trial to bring Himself glory.
This theme is shown again in Daniel 6 when Daniel is tried for his faith and later thrown into the lion’s den. Again, God could have changed the king’s mind or the law, but He let Daniel be thrown in the den to bring Him glory. At the end of both Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s stories, the king’s faith had been radically changed and overflowed to the people in his kingdom as he sought to spread it in response.
God can use the hardest of times, the “fires” of our lives to show His glory. He may let us go through them, but He is never not walking beside us. This has changed my prayer life where instead of praying for God to take the problem away I pray that He would be able to use it to glorify the Him as best as He can. I hope next time something hard comes up in your life, you will take a second, think back to our friends and pray that prayer as well. Remember, He is always walking right beside you.
About the Author: Katie Boda is a Junior at Union, learning God has a knack for using people right where they are. She has heart for sharing Christ with girls her age whether it be through social media or coffee dates. Katie is a lover of the little things, a cheerleader for the underdog, and a sunset and snail mail enthusiast. She can not wait to see what God has in store for the rest of her years.