Imagine yourself at a crossroads with two paths. One lead towards certain immediate death but preserves your integrity; the other towards the postponement of death but requires compromise. In the end, both paths bring the traveler to the same end. The only difference is the journey. Which would you choose? The shorter life of integrity or the longer life of compromise?
That was the choice facing three young men many years ago. They were in a foreign land being ruled by a foreign king. In this land, the people worshiped pagan gods and built and served man-made idols.
The king? Nebuchadnezzar. The foreign land? Babylon. The three young men? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three brave friends chose the shorter path. Responding to the King’s threat of death by fire, they said this:
“Your Majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves. If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
They were dead men walking. Men like this possess more power than kings. They cared not for their own lives. Why? Because they lived for a higher calling, a divine purpose. Their brave actions display in living color the attitude of their hearts: life was all about God.
They were cast into the fire only to walk out a few moments later alive, unharmed. They eventually died as everyone does, but their story of courage remains. What a legacy!
The reality is that every day we stand at that pivotal crossroads of life and death, obedience and disobedience, blessings and curses. And with each choice we make, we compose our own legacies.
Lord, by your grace and mercy, make my life resemble the legacy of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Amen.