“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’” -Daniel 3:16-18
Conviction is a deeply held belief. As Christians, it is what enables us to take risks for the gospel. All throughout Scripture and the church’s history, we see examples of conviction– the apostles being martyred for their faith, prophets willing to die in order to tell a godless king what God has instructed them to say, and the above example from the book of Daniel.
The Christians with the biggest impact are those with the deepest convictions.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon. They were extremely gifted (see Daniel 1:3-7), but more importantly, had stayed loyal to their God. They had not compromised, even though the culture around them emphasized immorality and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Babylon was a wicked place.
The king, Nebuchadnezzar, had decreed that all the officials in the kingdom were to bow down to a golden image. But these faithful Jews knew their Scripture: God had said to flee from idolatry.
So, they refused to bow down.
When the king found out, he was very upset. He gave them one more chance, threatening them with death should they disobey again. Here is the response he received:
O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.
They had the conviction to stand strong in the midst of immense testing. . .peer pressure that is probably worse than anything we will ever experience!
The king tossed them into the fiery furnace, but amazingly, the three Jews did not die– they weren’t even singed (Daniel 3:27). God used them to mightily display His power. King Nebuchadnezzar took notice!
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” -Daniel 3:28-29
Because of their conviction, God was magnified in the midst of an extremely pagan culture. Because they refused to back down, God was glorified.
We will be tempted to back down due to peer pressure. The culture around us is becoming less God-fearing every day. But that should have no impact on our lives as believers. We are to be characterized by a deep-rooted conviction to follow the Lord, whatever the cost.