When you think about some of the great heroes in the Old Testament (and the ones we often talk about the most), it is interesting to consider that certain ones of them did not do something supernatural or even all that hard. Yet, by their simple actions, they made a big impact. While some heroes did miraculous deeds through the power of God, other heroes did basically ordinary deeds on behalf of their God. Consider a great illustration of this.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were three young men who were out of their element. They did not look like, talk like, eat like, act like or worship like everyone else around them in Babylon. But they did not let that stop them (or even slow them) from honoring their God.
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold image that was 90 feet tall, and he set it up to be worshiped by all the people. He gave explicit instructions exactly how and when he wanted every person to “fall down and worship the gold image” (Dan. 3:1-5). He also warned that “whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (3:6). The expectations were clear. The consequences of disobedience were understood. What could an ordinary follower of God do in such a situation?
These men showed up. They likely knew what was coming and knew what the king was going to demand. But, they did not hide at home. They went where they were supposed to be. We must be “in” the world, just not “of” the world. The light of Christ must shine forth.
These men stood up. When everyone else bowed down to the king’s image in worship, these three men did not flinch. They made it very evident by their actions (and even their non-action in refusing to bow) that they did “not serve [idolatrous] gods or worship the gold image” (3:12). We must make an obvious difference between who we are and where we stand over against what everybody else is doing.
These men spoke up. They first stated their absolute trust in their God (3:17). Then they affirmed their complete devotion to righteousness and their utter disdain for ungodliness (3:18). We must not be ashamed to speak about our God, even when others do not share the same loyalty that we do.
These men stirred up. Pompous Nebuchadnezzar became the Praising Nebuchadnezzar at the end of the chapter. Due to these three men showing up, standing up and speaking up, the king’s heart was stirred up to bless God and to even exclaim, “…there is no other God who can deliver like this” (4:29). What they did was simple. The impact was big.