DO YOU remember hearing about these three young men? Yes, they are the friends of Daniel who refused to eat what was not good for them. The Babylonians called them Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach and A·bedʹne·go. But look at them now. Why aren’t they bowing down to this huge image like everyone else? Let’s find out.
Do you remember the laws that Jehovah himself wrote called the Ten Commandments? The first one of these is: ‘You must not worship any other gods except me.’ The young men here are obeying this law, even though it is not an easy thing to do.
Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, the king of Babylon, has called many important people to honor this image that he has set up. He has just finished saying to all the people: ‘When you hear the sound of the horns, the harps and the other musical instruments, you are to bow down and worship this gold image. Anyone who does not bow down and worship will be thrown into a burning hot furnace right away.’
When Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar learns that Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach and A·bedʹne·go have not bowed down, he is very angry. He has them brought to him. He gives them another chance to bow down. But the young men trust in Jehovah. ‘Our God whom we serve is able to save us,’ they tell Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar. ‘But even if he does not save us, we will not bow down to your image of gold.’
At hearing this, Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar is even more angry. There is a furnace nearby and he commands: ‘Heat the furnace seven times hotter than it was before!’ Then he has the strongest men in his army tie up Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach and A·bedʹne·go and throw them into the furnace. The furnace is so hot that the strong men are killed by the flames. But what about the three young men whom they threw in?
The king looks into the furnace, and becomes very much afraid. ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the burning hot furnace?’ he asks.
‘Yes, we did,’ his servants answer.
‘But I see four men walking around in the fire,’ he says. ‘They are not tied up, and the fire is not hurting them. And the fourth one looks like a god.’ The king goes closer to the door of the furnace and cries out: ‘Shaʹdrach! Meʹshach! A·bedʹne·go! Come on out, you servants of the Most High God!’
When they come out, everyone can see that they have not been hurt. Then the king says: ‘Let the God of Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach and A·bedʹne·go be praised! He has sent his angel and saved them because they would not bow down and worship any god except their own.’
Isn’t this a fine example of faithfulness to Jehovah for us to follow?