Do not bow.
“Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.
All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them!
We live in a modern-day Babylonian culture that says do this and that or else you’ll suffer consequences. Consequences of which it seems the majority decides. Consequences, that if we are not careful can leave their mark on us. If we do not fit into the box that society has imagined one to fit in, then you are faced with the repercussion of the decision you made. You decide to do what is right and in return you find yourself being mocked, abandoned, persecuted and rejected by this culture. You, have now become society’s outcast.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the voice of a cultures influence all too well. There was a King by the name of Nebuchadnezzar who had built a gold statue. He demanded that every race, color and creed fall down and worship this idol at the sound of the band playing. And, if you didn’t? Well, he would graciously give you a second chance to change your mind, obey his command and worship the statue. If you chose again to not bow down to the idol he created then it was a death sentence by fire. The band played and everyone-every race, color and creed fell to their knees and worshiped the gold statue except these three men. These three men decided to make a decision twice against the desire of a man of great influence and rank no matter the consequences. They understood the King’s decree was turn or burn. They would choose to burn, placing their confidence in God Almighty. They trusted God would deliver them from death or to death.
These men were men of God. Men who deeply loved God. These men purposed in their heart that they were not going to bow a knee to this idol no matter who did or what the consequence was. These were men who knew they had to obey God over man. They were established in their faith and love for the Lord. Not even a death sentence by fire would cause them to waiver in their conviction, affection and adoration for the Lord. Their firm resolution to adhere to their principles, whatever the consequence was admirable.
While we do not have gold statues erected all throughout our cities we do have things that are an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. It is this thing called an idol. An idol is anything that takes the place of God himself. (Exodus 20:3-6) Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we too are faced with a voice that is telling us to bow our hearts. That voice says bow and worship this statue of addiction, lust, gluttony, weariness, anger, envy, depression, anxiety, infidelity, fear, pornography to name a few. There are things right now in your life and mine that are beckoning us to bow our hearts and forsake The Living God. Providing opportunity for us to change our mind and to bow against our conviction. (Romans 14:23)
Our key verse offers us great hope! Because, they chose to not bow these men were bound up and thrown into a fire seven times hotter than normal. Shortly after being in the fire the King noticed a fourth man standing with them. He called them out, realizing their God had delivered them. But God’s providence ordered it for the increase of the miracle, not a hair on their head was singed, their clothes had not so much as scotch mark. Not even the smell of smoke.
Friends, we can live in a culture that worships idols and determine to not fall in line and bow our heart. We can have courage to say no to the voices of influence that want us to bow our hearts because greater is He who is in us than He who is of this world. (1 John 4:4) We must flee from idolatry. (1 Cor. 10:14) We were never called to conform to the pattern of this world. (Romans 12:2) God will provide a way of escape so that we can resist the pressure of temptation to serve idols. (1 Cor. 10:13) We can be fully persuaded that God will show up and show off on our behalf if we call on His name for help. (Romans 10:13) We can have confidence in God, knowing that whatever the consequences are for not compromising our faith, our God is with us and will deliver us from it or through it. We must take time to get in God’s Word and allow it to renew our minds. (Romans 12:2) We must spend time with Jesus daily so that we will be strong in our faith. Our audience will see the Son of God in our midst and that can draw the hearts of men to God. We can be like these three men, not one hair on our head will be singed. Our clothes will be untouched. It will be said of us, they had opportunity to bow their hearts and worship, but instead did not and they do not even smell like smoke.