Men of Great Faith

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, chapter 3, we find Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three young men of great faith. When faith is mentioned, Abraham always comes to mind, but there are many other men of great faith in the Bible and also women of great faith in the Bible. In this message I want to talk about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Daniel to be ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. Perhaps we will tell Daniel’s story at another time, but now we are going to tell the story about the three Hebrew children as they are known. Why they are called children, I don’t know, because they were not children, but young men appointed, at Daniel’s request, to be his assistants. They were to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, as Daniel served as chief magistrate in the king’s court. (Dan. 2:48-49 LB).

During this time King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue ninety feet high and nine feet wide and set it up on the Plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then word went out to all princes, governors, captains, judges, treasurers, counselors, sheriffs and rulers of the provinces of his empire, to come to the dedication of his statue. Upon their arrival an announcement was made that when the music starts they are all to fall down on their face and worship the golden statue.

The king had made a law that anyone who refuses to bow down to the statue would be thrown into the flaming furnace. These three men of great faith, only served the true God of heaven and would not bow down before the golden statue. When the king discovered this he was in a terrible rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be brought to him.

The king asked them if it were true, that they would not bow down to his statue and then offered to give them one more chance. Of course, you know the story, they refused. They replied in Daniel 3:16-18 Living Bible.

  • “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not worried about what will happen to us. If we are thrown into the flaming furnace, our God is able to deliver us; and he will deliver us out of your hand, Your Majesty. But if he doesn’t, please understand, sir, that even then we will never under any circumstance serve your gods or worship the golden statue you have erected.”
  • The king was so angry he commanded the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. Men came and bound Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego tight with ropes and threw them in the furnace. The furnace was so hot it killed the soldiers that threw them in and the three young men fell down bound into the roaring flames.

    Now here is the part I really like. Suddenly, as the king was watching, he jumped up and said, “Did we throw three men in the furnace?” His advisors said, “Yes, we did indeed, Your Majesty.”

    Then the Bible says in Daniel 3:24-25,

  • 24. “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and Said unto the king, True, O king. 25. He answered and said, Lo, I see four 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.”
  • Then the king called to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to come out, so these three men of great faith stepped out of the fire. The Scripture goes on to say that the fire hadn’t touched them. There clothes were not scorched and did not even smell like smoke. Nebuchadnezzar did not know anything about the Son of God, so we don’t know for a fact that it was Jesus walking around in the fire with them. In fact, verse 28 says it was an angel. But whether it was an angel or Jesus, Himself, it was a great miracle and with some other happenings in the kings life he was turned to worshipping the only true God. (See Dan. 4:34).

    They were men of great faith. But what I want to point out is this. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not know God was going to send Jesus or an angel to walk around in the furnace with them. The only thing they were sure of was that God, somehow, would deliver them from the authority of the king. I am sure they thought they were going to die, for they said, “God is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and he will, one way or another, deliver us out of your hands, O King.”

    These three young men had great faith in the face, of what they must have thought, was death. And you know what? They did not even have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Sometimes, when I read or hear about the great faith that many of the people in the Bible had I feel ashamed. When I hear of the men of great faith and women of powerful faith that have gone before me and those still living, I feel like I am a failure concerning faith. Yet, in the past 30 years the Lord has brought me a long way and taught me faith as we, together, went through many tests and trials.

    Faith is trust in God, and we never get to the place where we no longer have room for more. This trusting God is a life long growing process. I am sure that each person reading this message has faith and has more faith than they think they have. But no matter the faith we possess today, tomorrow will bring other circumstances or situations where we are given the opportunity to grow in more faith. I think God for that. That we just keep trusting in God and growing in faith is what pleases our Lord.

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