My favorite story in the Book of Daniel is the story of the fiery furnace and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar had an image of himself made that was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. Nebuchadnezzar decreed that everyone in the Babylonian Empire must bow down and worship the image or else they would immediately be thrown into the fiery furnace.
The Book of Daniel is all about how the faithful Jewish remnant in Babylon refused to conform to the culture in which they lived and they worshiped and served only the Lord. Therefore Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's image. This news was reported to Nebuchadnezzar. He had the three men brought in and gave them an ultimatum to fall down and worship the image or be thrown into the furnace.
Needless to say they refused to worship the image. The three men were courageous. They say in Daniel 3:17-18, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Nebuchadnezzar was furious. He ordered the furnace turned up seven times hotter than normal. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were bound and thrown into the furnace, which was so hot, it killed some of the guards that threw them into the blazing furnace.
What Nebuchadnezzar saw next was amazing. Instead of being instantly killed, the men walked around in the furnace. When Nebuchadnezzar looked carefully, he saw not three men in the furnace, but four. God was with them and rescued them from the fire. Therefore Nebuchadnezzar called the three to come out of the furnace and he honored God saying that no other God is able to save His people in this way.
The point of the story is that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faithful to God even against the threats of Nebuchadnezzar. How many of us would have compromised and conformed to the edict of the king in order to save our lives? Probably more of us than we would care to admit. But God wants us to be faithful to Him and to the values and standards of our faith even though others may mock us and even harm us. We see in this story in Daniel 3 that when we are faithful, God is with us and He will help us through any trial we may have to endure. I don't know that God will save us from our trial like he did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They weren't sure either. They knew God could deliver them unharmed, but even if He didn't, they were going to stay true to their faith.
My prayer is that I will be true to my God and to my faith. I want to serve God and not be afraid, not because there isn't any danger, but because I trust God to see me through the trial. There is no greater example of this than Jesus Christ, whom God would not deliver from His suffering, but He faithfully did the Father's will and died for our sins. Let Jesus be our example. May we always be faithful to do whatever God asks us to do.