Illustrated by Jonathan Chong -@2008

Daniel 3: 14-18 is a very familiar story. King Nebuchadnezzar built a tall stature of gold and demanded all his people to bow down to the erected image instead of to their own gods. Daniel¡¦s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, did not obey the king's order and thus face the consequences of being thrown into the fiery furnace. The Bible tells us that God saved them and was with them even inside the furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and recognized that the God of Daniel is the one and true God.

It is a wonderful Old Testiment story. Many times it is told in the Sunday schools. However all the pictures and paintings I saw depicting this event are of the 3 friends inside the furnace with the 4th person with them. I have not seen a picture showing the 3 friends standing up to disobey the order of the King.

It is nice to tell others of how our God protects us in time of trouble and hardship. And our Lord does protect us in many ways. Yet I somehow feel the critical moment of this story is not when the 3 friends being thrown into the fiery furnace. Rather, it is when all the people were bowing down to the stature, they made the decision to stand up for their faith and face the consequence of the fiery heat.

We are happy to show God acted to protect His people. What if our God has other plan in our lives and not acted at all? Will we still stand up for our faith? The 3 friends had faith in God but they did not know if the Lord would save them from the fire. They were willing to give up their lives for their faith and make no compromise to the king¡¦s demand. That moment of the trumpet sounding, people all around are falling to their knees and bowing to the image is a critical moment indeed. If we face the same critical moment, are we going to stand or are we going to bow?

We, as Christians, are facing a lot of difficult decisions nowadays. Many dictators want to make Christians denounce their faith and worship their own ideology. Many college professors want their students to denounce their Creationist belief and to trust their evolutionary teaching. The media leaders want to lead us to worship their gods ¡V money, fame and power and not Jehovah. If we do not conform to their leading and demands, we may face difficulties, hardship or even lose our lives.

When the whole world bow down to their gods, who would still stand up for the one true God and make no compromise? I hope this drawing helps remind us to steadfast in faith and trust in the Lord however He acts in our lives.