(Dan 3:14-20, 24-25, 28; Jn 8:31-42)
Today we meditate on the beautiful and powerful story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These faithful men resisted the persuasion of King Nebuchadnezzar to worship the golden image he set up. We see in the developing story our battle with temptation and sin.
Nebuchadnezzar was full of himself; his pride was all over him. “But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” In his voice, we hear the AUDACITY of evil; the pomposity with which temptation floods our hearts and minds. The voice of sin is always self-confident; giving assurance without hope! Refer back to the audacity with which the serpent addressed Eve (Gen 3:1-5). “Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart…” (Ps 36:1). Imagine the roaring voice of the King as he tried to convince the three young men. Compare it with the relentless attraction with which temptation pulls us to sin! This roaring voice gives the impression that resisting its suggestion would lead one to unnecessary pain and agony. It takes one with a burning fiery faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to resist the self-imposing influence and empty promises.
The audacity of faith is tested as it stands firm against the pomposity of evil. Such a faith hopes completely in God, surrendering itself fully to the will of God. “If it is so, our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But if not, be it known to you, O King that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” The King was angry and threw the men into the furnace. Sin and temptation always try to prove a point as you resist them, which is part of the trick to convince you, even at the last minute, to give in. The fury of evil always attempts to take away the freedom and life of the children of God.
But faith in God wins! The silent power of faith silences the roaring voice of evil. At that moment, sin and temptation vanish like smoke. The faithful are saved; the evildoers testify. Hence, Jesus declared, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Jesus’ word anchors us on His person so that we might follow Him in faith. Therefore, our Christian faith becomes the way we surrender totally to Jesus, in whom we fulfill the will of God. In this way, we do not surrender to the audacity of an alluring evil and we fear no threat of any burning furnace. Jesus said, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house forever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Amen.