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Episode Info: Did you know that Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, stood tall against the most powerful man in the world with no promise that God would spare them? Let’s take a few minutes to look at this amazing story. The events of Daniel and his three friends as they served under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon during the Babylonian captivity are some of the most interesting in all of Scripture. That includes how they got there in the first place. First prophesied by Jeremiah, the Israelites would be conquered by the Babylonians and held captive for 70 years. As was the custom of the Babylonians, they would take youngsters from their captured foes in order to brainwash them and train them for usefulness is running the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel and his friends were among those culled from the masses. They were well treated and well trained as they solidified their position in service to their new overlords. But Daniel and his friends became favorites of King Nebuchadnezzar so that, “The king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48). Daniel convinced the king to include his three friends and life moved on pretty favorably for young men who had been kidnapped from their homes. But there was a problem. While Daniel and his friends made the very best of a bad situation, they were certainly aware that King Nebuchadnezzar thought of himself as a god…and demanded worship as a god. For Daniel and his friends, this was a non-starter. The very first of the Ten Commandments clearly states that God is God, and that we should “have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). However, Nebuchadnezzar was making it increasingly difficult for Danial and his friends to keep that commandment. In fact, he ordered that a gold statue of himself be created and that whenever a cacophony of music was heard, all who heard it would, “fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up” (Daniel 3:4-5).  Knowing they could not do so, Daniel’s friends, in fact, did not do so. Local priests, obviously jealous of Daniel and his friends’ rise to power, alerted the King that the three friends of Daniel: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not bowing to or offering worship to the King’s statue (Daniel 3:12). The King would have none of that. Bringing the three young men to his presence, the king chided the young men and threatened that if they did not bow down during the appointed time, that they would be “cast immediately into the midst of a fiery furnace…and who is the god who will deliver you from my hands” (Daniel 3:15)? Faced with a grisly death, the three young men had a choice. They could bow down even if they didn’t mean it, or they could stand their ground while their God protected them or they could stand their ground whether their God would protect them ...
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