Today’s lesson is about a king named Nebuchadnezzar and three men with the funny-sounding names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The King had made a gold statue that was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. He had one of his men go out and tell the people, “Listen to the King’s command! When you hear the sound of the musical instruments, bow to the ground and worship the King’s gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
So, at the sound of the music, all the people bowed down and worshipped the gold statue. Everyone except three young Jewish men — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When the king heard about that, he was very angry and had the three brought to him.
The king asked them. “Is it true that you have refused to worship the gold statue that I have set up? If so, I will give you one more chance and if you still refuse, I will throw you into a blazing hot furnace.”
Do you know what the three men said to the King?
They answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar became furious and told his servants to tie the three up and throw them into the furnace.
Do you know what happened next?
When the King went back to check on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he saw four men walking around in the fire unharmed.
Who was that fourth that Nebuchadnezzar saw?
You are right! God was with them in the fire! Nebuchadnezzar released the three men and was amazed that they didn’t even smell like smoke! He said to all the people, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. No other god can save people this way.”
The three men chose to follow God even though they knew it meant they could be hurt or killed. They were not sure God would choose to save their lives, but they knew they had to do what was right regardless of the outcome. Only God could save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire and Jesus is the only one who can save us from our sins. His sacrifice on the cross provided the way for us to be saved and have eternal life.
Thank you to Claire Hannington for this week’s Sunday School Story.