There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a successful general, leader, and builder. As king he ruled with power and through fear. So it’s not surprising to read about people complying with his whims. There have always been, and certainly always will be, those that exalt leaders and never question their conduct or commands.
The problem with following people is that they might be wrong. And if they are incorrect, you will be too.
A Person May be Delusional
Not necessarily crazy but confused. Well, sometimes crazy. Anyway, King Nebuchadnezzar, being a person without knowledge of the LORD, probably believed there was nothing wrong with worshipping his golden image. Others bowed down. Why should these men be any different? He was not asking them to denounce their God. The king simply requested recognition of his power and authority in this world.
The king was confused. Nebuchadnezzar was not the ultimate authority in the world. He was a man. He was unworthy of worship. The young men knew that they were to only bow down in worship to the LORD. It mattered not what others thought, they remained faithful to God.
A delusional leader is a dangerous one because they will likely lead you away from God. Read God’s Word and follow His ways.
A Person May be Determined
There are those in this world that will have their way. Always. King Nebuchadnezzar was like this. It seems that the king was not used to being told ‘no’. Because of this he became enraged at the thought of these young men defying his decree. How dare they go against what he determined.
Most leaders expect to get their way. Over time this can produce pride in the heart, which results in the belief that their way is always the right way. A proud person refuses to believe they can fail.
There is nothing wrong with leadership or following leaders. The problem arises when someone resists God’s Word and demands others to do likewise. That’s what happened in Babylon. The king commanded them to worship the golden image, which was a direct violation of God’s Law.
Some are determined to have their way, even if that way opposes the LORD. These proud people are doomed for destruction. And those that follow after them will suffer the same fate.
Follow after the LORD and you will be led down the paths of righteousness.
A Person May be Dishonest
Some will say whatever is necessary in order to get what they desire. We’re not given all of the correspondence that took place between the king and his leaders but it appears that Nebuchadnezzar called them to a simple dedication and upon their arrival ordered them to bow down before the image. If so, he purposely withheld information.
He was dishonest. It would not be the first time, and far from the last, that a ruler used dishonesty to promote a personal agenda.
When you follow a dishonest person you will be led down the paths of their choosing. All will seem fine until the truth is made known. Some have spent a lifetime following a corrupt person, only to discover that they were wrong.
Truth is important. Seek after the truth and you will find yourself going the way of God. Which is far better than following after a person.
A Person May be Deceptive
There are those in the world that cleverly scheme to reach their goal. People like this will go to any lengths in order to get what they want. This was evident on the day of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dedication service. Much preparation went into the proceedings. There was a plan in place. The king drew the people in with music and drove them to their knees with the threat of death.
Since the people were given detailed direction, many of them went without question. Just because there is a plan in place does not mean the plan is correct. If it’s right then follow, if not, go the correct way!
Often, the ways of men are more popular than the Word of God. Because of this, people tend to exalt men and give them complete devotion. Be careful because people can be deceptive.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to follow God instead of the king. It did not matter to them that they were the only ones. Evidently these men were more interested in being right than being popular. In the end, they made a wise decision.
When you follow the LORD, you might be alone but you will never be in the wrong.