"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, your majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, your majesty that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)
1) We will fall down but not actually worship the idol
2) We won’t become idol worshipers, but will worship if this one time, and then ask God for forgiveness.
3) The king has absolute power, and we must obey him. God will understand.
4) The king appointed us – we owe this to him.
5) This is a foreign land, so God will excuse us for following the customs of the land.
6) Our ancestors set up idols in God’s temple! This isn’t half as bad!
7) We’re not hurting anybody
8) If we get ourselves killed and some pagans take our high positions, they won’t help our people in exile.
(Please feel free to add on if you have more thoughts …)
Although all these excuses sound sensible at first, they are dangerous rationalizations. To fall down and worship this image would violate God’s command in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.” It would also erase their testimony for God forever. Never again could they talk about the power of their God above all other gods.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured to deny God, but what made them choose to stay faithful to God no matter what happened? I believe it was because they were CONSISTENT in living a life that were intimately acquainted with and have a daily relationship with their GOD exhibited through OBEDIENCE. That was why they were able to trust God to deliver them and were determined to be faithful regardless of the consequences. This same exhibition of Faith, Obedience and Sacrifice could be seen throughout the Scriptures on the lives of many other “worshiper-saints” like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, King David, Queen Esther, Prophet Daniels and many more heroes of FAITH.
Hebrews 11 has been called faith’s hall of fame. But do bear in mind that while we do read of many being rescued by our faithful God for their faith; there were also many who were tortured, flogged, stoned, sawed in two, put to death by the sword for their faith (Hebrews 11: 35-40). True worshipers are those who are able to say like the three Hebrew children : “But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, your majesty that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."