Often, it takes intense persecution to reveal the genuineness of a person’s heart.
Such is the case with the example of these three men.
In a culture that worshiped any and everything but the one true and living God, Daniel, and his Hebrew companions walked in divine favor.
Nebuchadnezzar, the narcissist, was in power. He was so full of himself that he commissioned a giant statue. That was a structure made by the hands of men for idolatry.
This colossal statue was most likely made in the likeness of Nebuchadnezzar. Either that or one of his favorite demonic idols. Regardless, the objects of man’s hands are never to be worshipped.
And these three knew better than to bow down. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were men of noble character. It’s worth noting that Daniel 3 does not mention them originating a civil protest or organizing a demonstration. They simply chose not to participate in the worship of a madman’s idol.
When persecution comes because of their lack of participation, it only reveals the genuineness of their character. Take note of three characteristics of these three men.
1. These three men held strong convictions. So sure was their belief system that they knew instantly in their hearts what they would not do. They made simple statements, which demonstrated their free will was fully engaged.
“We have no need to answer you in this matter.” “We will not serve your gods or worship the golden image…”
Political favors or bargains were not suggested as a means of compromise. They merely stated that regardless of the outcome, here is what we are going to do!
2. These three men held sound theology. It’s incredible to me that Nebuchadnezzar brought up the subject of deliverance. Our godly trio affirmed their belief in God’s ability to deliver them.
However, they said “if that is the case” or “if this be so.” They did not sensationalize the situation and tell the madman what God was going to do. Honestly, they had no clue exactly how God would show up and show out on their behalf.
The soundness of their theology was shown in that they knew where their worship belonged. And it didn’t matter to them how crazy the culture around them had become. They were not about to be compromised!
3. These three men were held safe in God’s care. I trust you’ve read the chapter, and you know the outcome. Still, I have to describe some of it for you.
Despite them standing for themselves and God’s righteousness, they still went into the fiery furnace. But they were not alone. Even the madman recognized the presence of God with them!
They “came out from the fire,” and they didn’t even smell like they had been in the furnace of affliction. Grab ahold of this phrase which demonstrates who was really in control of the situation: “the fire had no power.” Yes, they were in God’s will and safe in His care.
Strong convictions based on sound theology always bring the assurance of God’s safety into every situation of life. Persecution for your faith is not always a bad thing. Often, persecution is the tool that God will use to reveal the genuineness of your faith and witness to the godless society around us.