Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king… “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know… that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar II excelled at grandiose expressions of anger, beauty, and pride. He was the unquestionable King of the Babylonian Empire. He had destroyed the majestic temple and nation of Israel. He built the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon and set up a nine-story image of gold to his god, Nabu. He commanded that everyone worship Nabu. When three Hebrew young men from Judah refused to bow down to the statue as ordered, the King became enraged and his authority was tested. He ordered them thrown into a furnace of fire. He sat to watch the execution of those who dared disobey him. But when the Lord Jehovah intervened to miraculously save the boys, the King quickly made a public profession of praise to the God of the young men who were delivered from the flames.
At first glance, it might sound like Nebuchadnezzar was convinced by the overwhelming evidence and converted from devotion to Nabu to Jehovah. But think about him. What other choice did he have? The entire kingdom saw what happened. How else could he save face? Had he tried to make an excuse for Nabu, he would appear weak to his people. He could be dethroned along with Nabu, replaced by Jehovah and these three young men. He did acknowledge God. However, his change of allegiance was motivated by circumstances, his fear of man and the threat of losing all that he had worked so hard to achieve in his world. He wanted to be sure he was on the winning side of life.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego reveal a true allegiance and trust in God. Our devotion to Jesus Christ should mirror theirs. Despite the risks, the consequences and the jeers from the world around us, we are to hold on to the God we serve. Christ is our evidence that our God is able to save us from eternal death and all the temptations the world can send our way.