Daniel 3, Psalm 80
Yesterday, I pointed out that Israel’s difficult days in exile demonstrates hard times can be a great time of strengthening for God’s people. Today’s reading also shows us that persecution with great opportunities. This story of Jewish exiles threatened with a fiery furnace if they refuse to bow down to the Babylonian KIng’s idol demonstrates the opportunity to reflect God’s light in dark times. When threatened one last time with execution, these three men confidently says to Nebuchadnezzar that they will not bow down because they are confident God would rescue them. It doesn’t matter if God will not rescue, however, they will still not bow. These three gave great testimony to their confidence in God, and thus a great witness, even before we know what God will do. This is important, because not all that must make this choice are spared by God. But everyone that is mistreated for Jesus’ name can reflect God’s glorious greatness by refusing to bend the knee to false idols in spite of possible consequences. You see, these three men, who took on the Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to assimilate culturally, never assimilated religiously. They knew there was one God, and not matter what YHWH chose to do with their life, they were not going to back down and betray the King. Can we say the same?