You know the story:
*paraphrased* King Nebuchadnezzar built this huge golden image. After having a dedication service for it, He ordered everyone in the province of Babylon to bow down and worship the golden image whenever they heard music playing. Nebuchadnezzar commanded that anyone who failed to adhere to his order to worship the golden image be immediately thrown into a fiery furnace.
Well, some snitches went running to the king to tell him that three of his leaders - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - were not following his orders, and would not serve his gods or bow down to the gold statue. King Nebuchadnezzar became furious and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought to him at once. He confronted the three, and gave them another chance to obey him, and escape the fiery furnace by bowing down in worship to the image. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey the king, or to explain to him why they refused, and basically told him "If you're going to throw us in the furnace, then so be it. But the God we serve is able to save and rescue us; and even if he doesn't, we'll still never serve your gods or worship your golden statue."
Nebuchadnezzar became outraged at the stance they took against him, and commanded the furnace be turned up seven times hotter, and that they be bound and thrown into the furnace. And so it was, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tied up and thrown into a furnace that was so hot, it instantly killed the men that threw them in. The king, who thought the furnace would kill the three of them, was amazed when he looked in to see them not only still alive, but walking around in the furnace. And he was further amazed when he saw a fourth image that appeared to him to be a god. In his astonishment, the king called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. When they came out, they were totally unharmed...their hair wasn't singed, their clothes weren't scorched, and they didn't even smell like smoke.
At the end of the day, King Nebuchadnezzar ended up acknowledging and giving praises to their God, and commanded that no one speak against the God that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego served, and the three of them were promoted to higher positions in the province of Babylon.
A three-word phrase came to mind as I finished my reading this morning: DON'T BOW OUT! That's the message I want to embed in your spirit today.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have easily chosen to go ahead and bow to golden image to avoid being thrown in the fiery furnace; however, because they trusted wholeheartedly in the God they served, they refused to bow when faced with opposition. They knew without a doubt that He was able to deliver them in their time of trouble, and would bring them out.
There are many situations that occur in life that cause us to want to take the easy way out. Sometimes challenges present themselves in such a fiery way, that bending seems to be the only alternative to avoid being burned by its flames. But I want to remind you that no matter how hot the fire, if you stand on what you believe and refuse to bow to your problems, the Lord will bring you out unharmed. In fact, He will purify you in the fire, and just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He will elevate you - whether naturally or spiritually - for standing flat-flooted on what you believe.
In the midst of adversity, don't bow out.
In the face of your enemies, don't bow out.
In the turbulence of life, don't bow out.
Stand tall...stand strong...stand on the power of your God, unwavering in your belief that He is able and will deliver you in your time of trouble. Just as He walked in the fiery furnace with the three of them, He will walk with you through the furnace of your affliction.
Don't break...don't bend...don't bow.
If you just have to bow, do so in prayer, praise and worship. And after you've done that, stand on your faith.
Allow the song below to minister to you.