Team Talk

Daniel 3

 

King Nebuchadnezzar built a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet thick. He set it up on the Dura plain in the province of Babylon….A herald then proclaimed ’When you hear the band strike up... fall to your knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Anyone who does not kneel and worship shall be thrown immediately into a roaring furnace.’...Just then, some Babylonian fortunetellers stepped up and accused the Jews….There are some Jews here—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have placed in high positions in the province of Babylon. These men are ignoring you, O king. They don’t respect your gods and they won’t worship the gold statue you set up.”  Furious, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought in. When the men were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar asked, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t respect my gods and refuse to worship the gold statue that I have set up?...If you don’t worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” 

 

The command made by the king has put Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a very tough position.  Either they go against their conscience and go along with what everyone else is doing or they take a stand for their beliefs and die.  I don’t think anyone would have blamed them if they had obeyed the king - after all, everyone else did!  But they decided to do something different.  Even in the face of certain death they decided to stand their ground and fight for what  they believed in.  How often are we put in a position where we have to make a choice between going with the crowd or making a moral decision?  Pretty much every day, I’d guess.  They may not have the same dramatic consequences as being thrown into a fiery furnace but on a daily basis we have to make decisions and moral choices.  What are your thoughts on drug abuse?  Alcohol abuse?  Sex before marriage?  Pornography?  Are we being put in a position where our friends are encouraging or pressurising us to do things which we know are wrong or unhelpful?  Life is full of choices and it is important that we make consistently good decisions.  Sometimes this requires real sacrifice and courage.  It can be very easy to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing.  It would have been easy for these three friends to worship the statue just like everyone else.  By standing up for their beliefs, however, they unleashed a chain of unlikely events.  The first unlikely event was that they were thrown into the furnace but survived!  Secondly, the king was so amazed by what he had witnessed that he reversed the law and declared that everyone should follow the God of these young men.  By taking a stand these men had changed the mind of a King!  Sometimes our good example can have a bigger impact than we realise.  By standing up for our beliefs and principles we make good decisions and we also make it easier for others to follow our example in future

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