It’s time to say NO
Daniel 3: 8-18
8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attentionto you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 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.”
One of the most popular Old Testament stories occurs in the third chapter of Daniel. We encounter an egoistical ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar, who constantly seeks adulation and praise likening himself to a god. He routinely made random and wild edicts that he expected his subjects to follow without question. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t just a tough ruler, he was a despot and a bully whose behavior was so bad the God literally banished him into the wild until he humbled himself and repented(Daniel 4:33). Nonetheless Daniel 3 occurs before his banishment. At this point Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior and abuse of power had never been challenged and he now has demanded that the entire nation literally bow down to statues of him. Finally, three young Jews stand up to him and say no. Bowing down to graven images was against their belief in the one true God and they refused to bow down. Hence, they were arrested and brought before the tyrannical king. Despite his death threats, they refused to bow down and were immediately thrown into a blazing furnace. They were delivered by God and the entire kingdom no longer had to bow down to false idols.
Unfortunately, Americans now find themselves living under rulers who also seem to be more concerned about congratulating and glorifying themselves than serving the people. The posting and cyber bullying of various leaders seem eerily similar to decrees of Nebuchadnezzar. Free speech is being challenged. Voting rights are being suppressed. Many Americans are asking, “What can be done?” Many Americans are looking for someone to do something. Yet the solution probably resides in what we will do as individuals. People are marching with torches, guns, and flags advocating racial division and hatred. What will we who call ourselves Christians chose to do?
Many Christians remember Daniel chapter 3 for three Hebrew boys dancing in a fire with Jesus. That is a great and amazing thing to remember. However, we should not forget Daniel 3:18, “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.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren’t focused on being saved. They were focused on doing the right thing. They collectively and individually said,”No, this is wrong.” Even if we die, we will not pretend that it is not wrong. Now more than ever, America needs its Christians to start saying, “NO!” NO to hatred and division. NO to fear and blame gaming. NO to prejudice and discrimination. NO to evil and spiritual wickedness in high places. Daniel chapter 3 gives us all hope. Three young men said NO and the entire kingdom was saved.