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Refusing to Bow

Statue of a North Korean leader

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were zealous for the Lord. The king in their land set up a giant statue of himself and commanded everyone to bow to the image. (See Daniel 3.)

But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God had said: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them…” (Exodus 20:4-5a).

The three friends were more zealous for the Lord than for their own safety. They refused to bow to the statue, even though the king threatened to throw them in a fiery furnace. In obedience to God and trusting in His wisdom, they went to the furnace. (Read what they said in Daniel 3:17-18.) God miraculously saved them from harm.

Sometimes God is glorified when martyrs die for their faith in Him. At other times He is glorified when He delivers people from the hands of their persecutors. Our lives are in His hands.

In the 1930s when Japan was ruling over Korea, the rulers ordered citizens to bow to Shinto idols. (Shinto is a Japanese religion that does not agree with the Bible.) The rulers said even students in Christian schools must bow. The leaders of the school, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to bow, and many Christian schools closed.

Today in North Korea, the people are expected to bow to statues of their leaders and to honor them as gods. Zealous North Korean Christians are in prison, trusting God with their future, because they honor God above all.

To Talk About
• Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego delivered from the flames because they had more faith than people who die for Christ? Or was their deliverance simply the way God wanted to use their testimony?
• Read Proverbs 3:5. Can you trust God when you don’t know what will happen as a result? Can you trust Him when you don’t always understand how He is working in others’ lives when they are having hard times?

(Source: The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available from


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