Dr. Rebekah McCloud
As a child, one of my favorite Bible stories was about the three Hebrew boys: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). Mom would read it to us with a dramatic flourish that always had us cheering for the boys by the end of the story. As an adult, I learned there is more to this story of triumph. The boys were all in, prepared, preserved, and promoted.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were prepared. They trusted God and were determined to serve God no matter what. Nebuchadnezzar threatened to punish them if they did not obey his will. “Who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered, “If our God whom we serve can deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up,” (Daniel 3:19). They were all in and prepared to go all the way.
The three boys were like Noah, he trusted God for rain and protection during the flood (Genesis 6:9 -8:22); like Job, he trusted God for salvation during his affliction (Job 13:15); like Deborah, she trusted God for victory at Mount Tabor (Judges 5); and like Gideon, he trusted God to be with him in the battle against the Midianites (Judges 7: 1-21). Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” Note the three boys trusted in God. They were all in, courageous, and prepared.
Are we all in and prepared to go all the way? Trust in God. Isaiah 43: 1-2 in part says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
God preserved the three boys. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and fully clothed when thrown into the fire. It was so hot that the raging flames killed the men who lifted them. When King Nebuchadnezzar investigated the furnace, he saw four men unbound, unhurt, walking in the middle of the fire. The fourth had the appearance of a god (Daniel 3:19-25). The Bible does not reveal the identity of the fourth man. Some say it was an angel, some say it was Jesus, and others say it was God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fervently believed that God would preserve them.
The Bible tells us that there will be a time of testing. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” Note the test and the testimony. Are we all in, prepared to go all the way, and trust God to preserve us?
Finally, the three boys were promoted. “Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God…for there is no other god who can deliver in this way.’ Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon,” (Daniel 3:28-30).
Often, we are driven by external pressures or internal principles. The three Hebrew boys operated by internal principles. They trusted God and prepared for come what may. They fervently believed in God and passed the test with a testimony. They glorified God through their actions and were promoted.
As we settle into this new year, consider if we are like the three Hebrew boys—prepared, preserved, and promoted—and ask ourselves some questions.
- In a time of challenge will we be prepared to trust in God?
- Will our actions preserve us through a time of testing?
- In all things, will we have triumph and a testimony?
- Will God always be glorified through our actions?
- In the end, will we be promoted?
Are we all in, prepared to go all the way, trust that God will preserve us, and are we situated to be promoted? I pray so.
Dr. Rebekah McCloud
More than 40 years of service in education (K-12 and higher education). Authored more than 100 publications , made more than 200 presentations, designed workshops, and facilitated training.
Rebekah McCloud is a retired faculty administrator who last served as the Executive Director of TRIO Programs at the University of Central Florida. She has one video in the C-SPAN Video Library; the first appearance was a 1999 Forum
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