Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
Why We Should Stand Out for Christ
by Zack Howard
School is about to start, which marks a beginning of sorts for many of us. It is a beginning to a new grade, new material to learn or teach, the changing of seasons into autumn. However, as this change begins, the same expectations from God remain. Let’s look at a few examples of how God calls us to stand out for our faith.
In order to stand out for our faith, we must prepare for temptations before they come. Daniel and his friends purposed in their heart to do God’s will instead of the King’s. In this instance (Dan. 1.8-10), it meant not eating and drinking the King’s food and wine, but rather sticking to a less defiling regimen.
Daniel chooses to go straight to the Chief of the Eunuchs, rather than make a big scene about it. He shows his preparedness to handle this situation—something we all can learn from. Daniel asks for a test, that handles two issues: the preservation of the Chief Eunuch, and God’s way works better. Do we prepare for these situations like Daniel and his friends did? Do we prepare for Satan’s attempts at us like we need to? Satan will find ways to implement his willing our lives, in ways we won’t expect. If we are unprepared, we will have a higher susceptibility of falling to the temptations. However, if we prepare ourselves for the temptations that the new school year and change of things the autumn brings, we will find that Satan’s temptations will become easier to deal with.
Because of their choice to do God’s will over all else, God blesses the four friends with wisdom, understanding and skill, so that in verse 19 we read they were above the other eunuchs:
And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.
God will bless us for doing His will. He blessed these friends and put them in the service of the King, above all the other eunuchs, because they chose to obey His precepts. Just as these friends were called to be different, so are we. This doesn’t mean shoving our faith in the face of everyone, but rather humbly going about God’s will. We aren’t called to live differently for others to see us, but rather just for God to see us. However, if we are doing it properly, others will take notice of our differences from the world for the right reasons. Let us be lights in this world, to lead others to Christ and to do God’s will. We should be proud of our faith and of our love of Christ. We should be rejoicing and bursting to show His love for us. It should be showing itself in all aspects of our lives, so that others will see Christ in us—and want to learn more about Him.
In order to prepare for temptation, we should be prioritizing God first in our lives as well. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego specifically stand up for their faith in the face of adversity—showing the priority of God. King Nebuchadnezzar builds a golden image 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide, so that all would bow down and worship his gods. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobey the king’s decree—choosing to obey God instead. When the other Chaldeans and Eunuchs noticed this, they ran and told the king of the friends’ disobedience. When Nebuchadnezzar hears of this, he was enraged and calls them to see him. He gives them an ultimatum—bow down or burn in the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego choose (again) to obey God rather than the King. They choose to prioritize God over the rules of the King—giving us an example of what we should do. How do we prioritize our life? Do we put God first in it, or do other things pile up? As the school year starts, the temptation will be to put other things over God, because they are time pressing and stressful. We need to keep God first—even in the face of physical persecution. In our time, we may not be facing a fiery furnace, but we will face persecutions for our faith. As this happens, we can turn to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego once more to see how they handled this. They understood God would either save them or choose to not, but whatever God chose didn’t matter to them, because their faith would be the same.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (16-18)
Our faith needs to be just like this—without wavering, and understanding that God’s will will always be done, and we must be content with that. God chose to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace—proving that He is the only God to Nebuchadnezzar, and cementing faith in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
So as the school year begins and the seasons change, we must remember to prepare for temptations as Daniel and his friends did, and prioritize God first in our lives. If we do so, our walks as Christians will become easier and pleasing to God.