One of the beautiful aspect of a Christian life is that there is either right or wrong, nothing in between. Either White or Black, no grey areas in between!
Though it simplifies the life of a Christian however in these times it also raises quite a few situations in which a Christian has to make a choice to either follow the Bible or compromise publicly or privately.
For today’s meditation we would look at the lives of Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego and learn how never to compromise no matter what is infront of us.
Let’s read about them in the book of Daniel, Chapter 1,verses 3-7: “ Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—  young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.  The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.  Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.  The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
Here we see the first management class mentioned in the Bible getting formed. There were four Israelite friends, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were part of this management class.
Since they were defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar and hence for these four individuals this was an opportunity of a lifetime to live as princes live, eat what they eat while learning about the Babylonian culture and then rule as part of their kingdom.
But they did not wanted to defile themselves with the food served at the King’s table. Hence though they were from a servant nation yet they requested the official in charge to give them vegetables and water instead of the King’s food. The in charge tested them for ten days before agreeing to their request and God had respect for their commitment and we read in Daniel 1:17-20 how they were elevated above all others, “ To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.  The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service.  In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.”
Life Note 1: God honors those who honor Him in front of the World.
They had all the reasons in the world to enjoy the luxuries granted by the King, afterall they were chosen by his team. They could have argued that they need to comply to all the King says so that they come in power and then only they would be able to cater to the welfare of the Israelites. They could have said that since everyone else is doing the same they also need to follow the rules defined! (how often have we heard that or said it ourselves!)
But they were willing to take that risk and took a stand because they knew that approval of God was more important than the approval of man.
Then one fine day when all was going well, King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue of himself and asked all to bow to that statue only else they would be thrown in the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not comply with the King’s diktat and as expected some of the other officials went and told the King about it.
Daniel 3, 13-23 tells us that, “ Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,  and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, King Nebuchadnezzar, 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us] from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.  Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual  and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.  So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.  The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,  and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace”
Life Note 2: You can be faced with a precarious situation where without any prior intimation infront of the world you would be called to be a witness. How would you react to it?
There was a choice again infront of these three men, either to comply to King’s command or die that day. Till now there was no miracle which had happened in their lives to which they could refer to, they would not have read anything about this happening to anyone. Not only their jobs but their lives were literally at stake!
We know what they did, but the question that I would want of all of to ask ourselves is, “what would we have done had we been in that place?” Also whether there has been any such incident in our lives where we have been ridiculed, punished, threatened because of our faith in Jesus Christ and how we responded to it.
The irony is that their response to the King infuriated him so much that he ordered the furnace to be made seven times hotter! As such the fiery furnace was a problem here but it just got compounded seven times!!
Has it ever happened to you that the moment we confessed our Christian beliefs the problems compounded? If yes, then you should really see what happened next.
Though Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego had put their trust in God and chose to follow Him instead of bowing down to the statue it did not save them from being thrown in fire.
Life Note 3: Confessing about our faith in Christ does not necessarily mean that we would not have to face the hardship / persecution in front of us.
You may think all is lost, but Daniel 3: 24-25 tells us otherwise, “ Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? They replied, Certainly, Your Majesty.  He said, Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Life Note 4: Even if you have to go through persecution because of your faith in Christ, He will never leave you but will be with you in midst of your storm walking with you and protecting you from its harm.
Though the Bible does not mention that Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego knew that Son of God was walking with them, but it does mention that the King saw him. Though he had never seen God yet when he saw the fourth person, he realized it had to be the Son of God.
Life Note 5: Though you may not be able to see, but the world around you would see the presence of God in your life even in your darkest hour.
Though they had to go through fire, yet their faith produced a testimony and changed the decree of the King as mentioned in Daniel 3:28-30, “ Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.  Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
What was meant to harm them only promoted them!
What is it that you are going through because of your faith in Jesus. Trust Him unwaveringly and He will not only get you out it but in such a way that you would be amazed.
Stay Strong in your faith, God Bless You!
Your Brother in Christ