The Fiery Trial: Daniel Study (Part 3)

When have you been pressured to do something you did not want to do? Standing firm under pressure can be hard – especially if the pressure is coming from an authority figure. We might experience times when a boss, teacher, or coach has expectations that go against what we believe. There's a balance we have to find between listening to earthly authority figures and faithfully following God's ultimate authority. In this month's blog, we're going to look at how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stayed obedient to God even when being pressured by their worldly authority figure, King Nebuchadnezzar.

In the previous blogs, we've seen Daniel and his friends remain faithfully obedient to God in difficult situations. However, in Daniel 3, we're going to see them face a life-or-death decision while trying to decide to stay obedient to God. As you read, you'll see that they had two choices: remain faithfully obedient to God (resulting in losing their influence and their lives) or turn their backs on God.

Nebuchadnezzar's Golden Image

Daniel 3:1-7

As you're reading this, it might sound familiar to you because it's a very well-known story, for both kids and adults. King Nebuchadnezzar had his workers build a giant golden statue then commanded everyone to worship that statue. If someone refused to worship the golden statue, they would be sent to the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are now in a life-or-death situation. They could remain faithful to God and die in the furnace, or turn away from God and worship King Nebuchadnezzar's god.

While most, if not all, of us haven't actually faced a life-or-death scenario in regards to our faith, we have probably faced a situation where we had to risk our job, reputation, friendships, etc. in order to remain faithful to God. It can be difficult to remain faithful when we face pressure in a secular world. Hopefully this story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can be encouraging as they're devout followers of God living and working in a secular environment.

The Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:8-14

King Nebuchadnezzar hears that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not bowing down and worshiping the golden statue. He confronts the trio and gives them another chance to obey his command saying,

"Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?" verse 15

While King Nebuchadnezzar was trying to scare them, it did not work. This is their response:

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be 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 that you have set up." (16-18)

They are so faithful to God that regardless of the outcome, they were going to continue to obey God – even if that meant dying. What I find incredible about their response is that they knew that God could save them, He was powerful enough; however, they understood if God chose not to save them, that they would still remain faithful to Him! Would you have remained faithful like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

Obviously this response infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar. He ordered the furnace be made hotter than normal and sent the three of them into the furnace. You probably already know what happens, but let's take a look:

Daniel 3:19-27

Not only did the furnace not kill Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it did kill the soldiers that were ordered to throw them into the furnace (because it was hotter than it normally was). This shows that God is able to protect his servants better than King Nebuchadnezzar could protect his. When the three were thrown into the furnace, everyone was able to see a fourth individual inside with them demonstrating God's presence with His people. After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were released from the furnace, they walked out completely unharmed. You'd expect King Nebuchadnezzar to be angry, but this is how he responded:

28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar appreciates the integrity these three men have. While his heart doesn't change – he still refers to God as "their God" or "the God of…", he does show his appreciation for them and provides protection for them.

Most of us probably won't face an actual life-or-death situation like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did in this story. But we probably will face different circumstances where we have to choose between following the world or remaining faithful to God. We have to be willing to put everything on the line (our reputation, influence, or even our life) to remain obedient to God. The faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego showed here was able to change the hearts of those around them; the same can be true in your life when you step out in faith to God! As we wrap up this month’s blog, I want to leave you with some reflection questions:

  • What are you willing to give up in order to be faithful to God?
  • Have you had circumstances where you've had to choose between your faith and worldly success?
  • How do you remain committed to God over worldly favor?

Cornerstone Impact Update

At the beginning of the year, we started a brand new series: Objections of BRI. Through this series, we will be talking about some of the common objections people give us with Biblically Responsible Investing and our Cornerstone Portfolios. We will talk about an objection each month and the rebuttal or how we respond when we receive these objections.

Last month, we focused on a larger objection, which isn't necessarily related to Cornerstone; however, it relates to having people refuse to do business with us simply because we are Christian. If you haven't read the blog yet, you can read it here and find out how we respond to this.

I don’t want to work with those people
It seems like our world becomes more divided every day. Everything becomes political whether it’s justified or not. We’ve faced some push back since openly sharing our Christian faith as a firm. Last month, we started a series going through some of the objections we’ve received since starting our Cornerstone


Eventide's Finny Kuruvilla shared in a blog how Christians can bring hope through investing in the biotech industry. In it he says, "As Christians, we have this amazing opportunity to come together and allocate our investment dollars toward companies that have an enormous impact on some of the most vulnerable people in the world --- giving them a taste of God's redemption."

Check out the full blog for more:

Investing toward healing: How Christians can bring hope through biotech
Being a biotech investor is especially important as we invest in companies dealing with the human body, and inevitably, one s own view of human life impacts ethical standards from research and…


One of the mandates for BRI is "engage". One of our partners, Inspire, does a great job in this sector! They recently provided an update on an engagement they've been working on:

Corporate Engagement Update: It’s Working! And We Need Your Help Again
Inspire and coalition partners work with ISS to provide new proxy voting options. Now we need your help again!
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West Point, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.