I have always loved this story about 4 young men Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah that taught all who read the Old Testament book of Daniel the importance of not allowing anyone no matter what their title is or what they control to control you. Our God is with us.
Daniel 1:1 KJV...Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took control of Jerusalem and beseiged it. The objective of this king was to take only certain children of Israel, Hebrews (verse 3) in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learned and the tongue of the Chaldeans. (verse 4). Verse 5...And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand befre the king.
Verse 6...Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: 7...Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave the names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
History teaches us about the spoils of war, the army or country that captures and defeats their enemy takes from that country everything that is perceived as valuable whether it is gold, silver, art money and people. In this case children but not any child, only certain children that could be indoctrinated into the victors plan for them.
But Daniel's integrity and belief in God did not allow him to compromise his belief just to become what this king wanted from those whoare now his captives. As you continue reading, Daniel offers the eunuchs a proposal in order to keep from eating and drinking what his belief told him to stay away from. The kings food may be good to the king but please allow us to eat pulse (vegetables and drink water) so our system is not defiled.
Verses 17-21...God gave the 4 children knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had undersanding in all visions and dreams.
The king communed with them and finds none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah finding their knowledge better, in fact 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his realm. When you have given yourself to God to use as he wants, the things we accomplish will leave others in awe. They will not understand how this level of undestanding and skill can be on the unlearned and unskilled...BUT GOD.
Chapter 2 contains Daniels interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams that proved to this king of just how Blessed Daniel was with his God given gift while suggesting to the king that he also promote his friends now called Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king...Daniel 2:49 KJV.
Chapter 3 is where the focus of this message can be found. Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, he sends for the princes, govenor's, captains, judges, the officials and rulers to come to his dedication of the image he has made. He then demands all of his folks to fall down and worship the golden image and anyone who does not will be cast into the midst of the firey furnace...chapter 3:6 KJV.
The kings people hear the sound of the instruments signaling it is time to bow and worship the gold image and certain Jews told the king that these Hebrews (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego) refused to bow and worship the image. The king issues the sentence on them, bow down or face the firey furnace. Verse 17 is their reply...If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning firey furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Verse 19...the king demands the furnce be heated 7 times hotter that it would have been in preparation for the Hebrew boys and they are thrown into the furnace...BUT...the men heating the furnace, taking Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to it and casting them into it were themselves killed by the heat but those 3 who were meant to burn are seen walking in the midst of the fire. The king asks, did we not throw 3 into the fire? His men replied True O king. Who then says I see 4 men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
The king calles for the 3 boys to come out of the furnace, when they did the king sees his furnace had no power over these boys. Their hair was not singed, nor their coats changed and they did not smell like smoke. The kings response? Verse 28 KJV...Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego who sent His angel and delivered his servants that trusted in Him and have changed the kings word so that they don't serve nor worship any god except their own GOD. Then the king promotes Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the province of babylon.
Oh, to have the courage of these young men who have become so close with God that knew, their faith told them don't waver in the midst of chaos...stand firm no matter what we face...knowing tho were are in a fight that seems hopeless...our God is with us and the fight is fixed. Our God is always with those who dare to trust Him, have Faith in Him, knowing He will never leave nor forsake us. Remember, the battle is not ours to fight its the Lords.
Thank you Father for your Word.