Daniel 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 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.
The history of the three Hebrew boys shines radiantly with a steadfast adherence to godly principles, in the face of opposing circumstances that were obviously designed to coerce their consciences into deviating from God. In our passage for today, we observe their attitude toward issues that pertain to the worship of the true God. The Bible explicitly states that bowing down to graven images is a violation of the first and second commandments, and the prohibition does not stop there, for it also forbids the manufacture or service of all false gods. Let's read:
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
With this law written in their hearts, the three Hebrews could not with a clear conscience bow down to the king's golden image, even though the consequences might have been certain death. Christians are always to leave consequences with God, and our loyalty to Him should never be based on a guarantee of deliverance. This is what the three Hebrews did, and it set the template for their consequent experiences and exaltation in the city of Babylon.
In our day there are many false gods which we are called upon to worship, by authorities in different organizations and even by some governments. One of the issues we would have to stand firmly for, is that of true Sabbath-keeping, for the world in general is arrayed against the commandments of God, and therefore little consideration is given to those who choose to serve Him. That's why in all of our endeavors, we will need to manifest a determined and steadfast adherence to the truth, in every circumstance in which our faith comes into question.
God does not bless disobedience, and any conscious deviation from the principles of righteousness will put us at odds with His favor and blessings. When efforts are made to force us to "Bow down", we should remember the example of the three Hebrews, and like them, we should stand up for right in the face of daunting challenges, or even real danger.
We will be asked to bow to the god of employment, when Sabbath labor is required or made mandatory. We will be asked to bow to the god of money, when pecuniary advantages call for the use of fraud, deception, or extortion. We will be asked to bow to the graven image of education when cheating on tests are deemed necessary to achieving good grades, or when schedules, programs, and classes call for our attendance over the Sabbath hours. All of these and many more modern gods continually beckon the Sabbath-keeping Christian to deviate from the path of strict integrity, for no one subscribes to the true service of God without exciting the enmity of the dragon. Let's read:
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Our focus however is not on the dragon, but rather on the God who can restrict the activities of the dragon, for by a living faith in God all of the devil's fiery darts can be quenched. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that reminds us of the promises made to the faithful, and if we make the God of heaven our dependence and Sustainer, He will grant us grace and strength for every emergency that comes across our pathway. Let's read:
Isaiah 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
May standing firm for godly principles characterize our every move, for God shows Himself strong in behalf of those who trust in Him. God bless!