Everyone knows the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were three young men who were taken captive along with Daniel and stayed faithful to God just like Daniel. For some reason, everyone remembers their pagan names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Anyway, after Daniel revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a giant statue made of different materials, Nebuchadnezzar apparently thought that he could overcome the message of the dream by creating a giant statue made out of gold and making everyone worship it. He had the Babylonian praise band play the call to worship which was the signal for everyone to fall down and worship. Everyone did…everyone except the three young Jewish men. When others told Nebuchadnezzar about this, he was angry. He did give them a second chance to go along with the crowd, but their response to his generosity did not please Nebuchadnezzar: “Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.'” (Daniel 3:16-18) There are consequences for following the crowd. Life is easier. No one singles you out for ridicule. You are acccepted. If you follow God, though, you most likely won’t be following the crowd and there are consequences for doing that. Life is not easy then. You make others mad as you reveal the error of their ways by staying true to God. Ridicule comes. In this case, and in many situations around the world today, a death sentence is handed down. How hot was the furnacefor these three? The men who carried them to the furnace died from the heat. God protected these three, though and they walked out unsinged. The consequences of that became protection from further persecution and a promotion. God won’t always deliver us from physical or emotional persecution, but He will always be with us in the midst of it. People may not even remember our names when we stay true to God, but staying true to God will cause some to turn to Him. That’s the call we have.
O Lord, how easily I follow the crowd. Give me the strength to resist the crowd when they are doing something contrary to Your will. Give me the strength to follow You no matter what the earthly consequences may be.