Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Daniel: Faithful Witnesses

But even if He does not [rescue us], we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).

Nebuchadnezzar was a rather interesting conqueror. It was only after many provocations that he finally destroyed Jerusalem, and even then he did not kill all the people but deported them. Before this, he had resettled some of the most prominent Israelites in Babylon.

Babylon was a civilized nation, and it was easy for the resettled Jews to compromise with Babylonian culture. God raised up four men in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar whose lives demonstrated that God’s people should never compromise.

In Daniel 3 we read that Nebuchadnezzar set up a huge idol of gold and commanded that all his servants bow down and worship it. Perhaps he got this idea from the vision God gave him in Daniel 2, where he and his reign were portrayed as a head of gold. Maybe he thought this made him worthy of worship. He was very surprised when three young Jewish men, who were serving in his court, refused to go along with his plan.

When God appeared to men in the Bible, great sounds such as the rushing of wind, a trumpet blast, or earthquake noises usually accompanied Him. Likewise, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that a whole array of instruments were to blast sounds in order to call the people to worship. When the sound was heard, everybody bowed down, except for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Indignant, Nebuchadnezzar set up a fiery furnace, made it even hotter than usual and had the three men thrown into it. To his astonishment when he looked inside the furnace, he saw the three young men walking around, and a fourth man with them. Nebuchadnezzar’s comment was that the fourth looked like a son of the gods (Daniel 3:25).

Nebuchadnezzar realized that he had overstepped his bounds in setting up his idol. He welcomed the three young men back to his court and pronounced that the God of Israel was to be honored throughout his empire. Later on God continued His work in Nebuchadnezzar by humbling him with insanity for seven years and then restoring him (Daniel 4). Then Nebuchadnezzar realized that there was only one God and worshiped Him. It all began with the faithful witness of three young men.

We never know the impact our witness will have on other lives. Examine yourself today and see if you have been compromising in places where you should be standing firm. Ask God to give you the strength to stand for Him wherever He calls you to live and work.