The trumpeters and the music began to sound, causing the people to immediately scurry to the place before the idol and bow in a fearful submission. These Chaldeans and many foreigners that had been taken in war-conquests fell to their faces out of fear of the king’s command. (Daniel 3:4-6) The consequences for those who remained standing would be thrown into the fiery furnace.
The scene was much like the game we grew up playing, “Musical Chairs” that when the music stopped everyone grabs a chair and sits down knowing that there aren’t enough chairs for everyone. The penalty for being left standing was you were cast out of the game.
In the same manner, in this historical story in Dan 3, which takes place during the 70 years of God’s people being in captivity, when the music started the people had to stop and drop, giving homage to the king’s idol.
We’re introduced to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three young Hebrew boys were growing up in a society polar opposite of their families and culture. It was a strategy of the conquering army to take the best specimen from a culture and transform them into the beliefs and customs of the new kingdom.
But these three young Hebrew boys were so impacted by their belief in their God and the daily rehearsing of the stories that it firmly grounded them to live a devoted life, even in the midst of the one they were now being forced to live.
Therefore it was no surprise when they would not bow to the Kings idol. For they knew their God had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) So in spite of the consequences, these young boys made a manly decision to not go along with the knee bending music! Their loyalty was to their God even if it cost them their life. Wow! That’s not easy to do.
The king was so outraged to the point of having the furnace turned up seven times, that it even killed the furnace keepers and the guards that threw the Hebrew boys in the furnace.
The weightiness of their decision, to obey God rather than what everyone else was doing, should shake each of us personally as we live our daily lives. With death sneering at them, they boldly and confidently replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, in Daniel 3:16-18 saying, “…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…”. And that’s exactly what happened!
The God of fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! Even with the added heat these three were alive and well in the midst of the fire with the Son of God!
The awe-struck King is watching this and is so impacted that his hard heart melts and turns to the true and only one God. They were bound going into the fire but came out unbound, blessed and not burnt or even smelling like smoke. Because these three dared to be devoted to their God in the midst of a corrupt society, not bowing to the pressures of the day. God was highly exalted and moved on their behalf as well as in the culture.
Let’s not be so quick to bow or follow the pied piper’s musical tone of our day. God has called us to be holy devoted at all cost.