Your Conviction Will Be Tested (2)
Like most idolatrous and occultic men, Nebuchadnezzar was not content to worship his idol alone, he must have others worship with him and share in his condemnation. If they would not fall down and worship the golden image voluntarily, he must coerce, threaten and compel them to sin! Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment for not worshipping his idol was severe but God’s judgment for worshipping idols is eternally and infinitely more severe. His threatened punishment for refusal to worship his idol is temporary suffering. “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:6).
God’s judgment for worshipping idols is infinitely greater. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the Abominable and Murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and IDOLATERS, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone,” and “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 21:8; 19:20; 20:10; 14:9-11). “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall be same hour be cast into the midst of a Burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:6).
This was not an empty threat, but a very serious danger for all dissenters. Idol worshippers did not put much value on human life. They could even throw their own children into the fire to sacrifice to their gods. “They have committed adultery and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have caused their sons, whom they bare unto Me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them” (Ezekiel 23:37; see also 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; 2 Chronicles 33:6). Those who did not feel any restraint or pain in throwing their own children into the fire would not find it difficult casting those who refuse their idolatry into the burning fiery furnace. Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar was well known for his cruelty and brutality in dealing with rebels. Even today, there are idolaters; occultists and false, fanatical religionists who would rather have someone die than see them live without worshipping false gods with them.
The threat was to force and compel everyone to sin against God through idol worship. Three believers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remained uncompromising. Some cowardly conspirators reported them to the King. The King was furious and in his rage, he repeated and re-emphasised his threat, but these three committed believers stood their ground. The greater the rage of the King, the greater the resolve of these godly men.
The situation was intimidating; the king was in a rage, very angry and furious; the Chaldeans were indignant, the accusers were bitter, other Jews already had bowed and worshipped the king’s idol, the multitudes were watching, yet these three uncompromising non-conformists were unshakable in their conviction. Without inner strength and internal principle, external pressure can crush our will. Those who have lost real Christian conviction and an internal principle of righteousness are easily intimidated. They bow to pressure in order to avoid burning in the furnace.
For these three conquerors, great was their affirmation of faith in God. They were absolutely committed to the Pure worship of the true and living God. They accepted God’s will, even if it meant death. They were resolved, if need be, to die for God’s holy cause. They had decided to serve the Almighty God and to worship no other god; they had known the truth and made up their minds to live for the truth and to die for the truth. Neither the promise nor the punishment of the king was going to change their mind. The pressure was great but their purpose of heart was greater. The demand was irreversible and their decision was irrevocable. They conquered the unrighteous demand with their unhesitating determination. They were resolved to suffer rather than sin and leave the outcome in God’s hands. The courage of conviction will always result in God’s glory and be rewarded by God.