...who through faith... stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire... Hebrews 11:33-34
You might be familiar with both of the stories today. Each one occurs during one period of exile, where only those of nobility and external value were taken into Babylon. Though these men were chosen for their status, their record in Scripture stands because of their hope in the living God.
Open up your Bible and read Daniel 3 and Daniel 6.
What descriptive phrase is repeated regarding the golden image?
In Daniel 3, what command was given to the people, nations, and languages, and what consequence was treated for disobedience?
What is the expression (evidence) of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith?
What did they have to lay aside in order to endure?
What was their hope—their belief in God?
What was the immediate reward for their faith? What effect did it have on others?
In Daniel 6, how is Daniel described (v. 1-3)?What kind of response did this provoke in those around him?
What injunction was created to be followed, and what was the consequence for disobedience?
What was the expression of Daniel’s faith?
What do you learn about Daniel’s hope in God? What was the effect of his faith?
Both Daniel and his friends chose to disregard the command of the king at their respective times. How did they discern that the expression of their faith might require disobedience to their civil authorities? Both kings made idolatrous demands on the people—to bow down to an image and pray to a mere man, demanding that the people of God transgress God’s law. Would they disobey the command of the king and face death? Their conviction in things unseen compelled them to do so.
Our societal demands for idolatry are more subtle than bowing down to a physical image or praying to a prominent person. In a culture prizing appearance, achievement, individual expression, and self-autonomy, our personal fears and insecurities may tempt us to give in to culture.
How do the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel challenge you?
Take some time today to humbly ask God to know him the way these men did. That in the long run your own faith would magnify God for others.