Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
When Daniel took his first stand against the king of Babylon, it was concerning his diet. That might seem like no big deal on its face, but his protest against eating the king’s choice foods was with the goal of spiritual purity for God’s pleasure. It was a risky request of the king’s steward, but Daniel had support from his fellow sons of Judah. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego would join him, and they all would impress the king. This led to Daniel’s promotion and his request for their promotions, and that legacy of defying man’s authority for the sake of honoring God’s would be put to a greater test. Unknown to all of them, those positions placed the three in the glow of the fiery furnace.
The positions of these three men put them in places of prominence and attention. Being members of the authority over Babylon, their obedience or disobedience of the king’s edict would be noticed. They could not hide their faith and their lack of allegiance to the image made of gold. Their station made their stand even more compelling before a king who required unquestioned obedience from those he placed in power under his government. Not only did he decide to make them examples by burning them alive, but he commanded that the furnace be made seven times hotter than usual. And to think this all began by supporting Daniel in his commitment to remain pure before the Lord by avoiding wine and delicacies.
The legacy I see passed down from Daniel to those three men is one of not only obedience but support for the brethren in the face of the enemy. Their small step of partaking in his diet, not an extreme step in comparison to their staunch defiance of the king’s edict to bow to the image of gold, is what helped prepare them to face the furnace without fear or doubt. Daniel passed down to these men faith and peace in the face of incredibly difficult decisions, and that made those decisions easy. The biblical account indicates no wavering, no question. They simply gathered their strength together and honored God regardless of the penalty. Father, thank You for the examples of faith and strength You provide in our lives and for making us those examples for the ones who will come after us.