‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life.’ James 1:12a
A moving chapter! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were Jewish men who lived in exile in Babylon. They had been very successful in their exile for they were set over the affairs of the province of Babylon. They obeyed the king in everything, except in one thing: they refused to worship idols. Never they forgot they were different.
When it turned out they did not want to bow before the image of the king, they were called to account and with astonishing calm and certainty – in full knowledge of their fate - they stood up for the God of Israel. To them it did not matter if God would perform a miracle; they chose for Him and honored Him frankly in front of everyone. Did they find this courage in themselves? No, but they had learned to put their trust in God under all circumstances. And now, when they were put to the test, the choice was not difficult anymore.
Indeed they were thrown into the blazing furnace, but how miraculous, to the great amazement of the king, suddenly, there now were four men in the fire instead of three! What a message and also what an encouragement to us. When we are tried and tested, we may know that Jesus is with us in the struggle. Not as someone who watches passively how we perform, but as someone Who empathizes with us fully, because He has been tempted in every way, just as we are (Hebrews 4:15).
Let us honor Him, high above the visible and invisible world, since it is still a time of mercy. For it is not important at all if we return untarnished from battle, it is important that He receives - also from us - the honor He so fully deserves!