Excerpts from Genesis 18 & 19: The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor′rah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom.
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, and said, “My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the street.” But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
We shouldn’t expect to delivered by an angel if we suffer the consequences of civil disobedience and failure to honor the dictates of an unjust or patently evil law, nor should we feel obligated to pretend that it is in any way good, not for the sake of maintaining friendships or even in the face of great loss as we are not in any way constrained to be pleasers of men, but instead we are to be pleasers of God in whom we trust just as the three young men in the following story who are shining examples.
(Daniel 3: 8 - 27) Certain Chalde′ans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnez′zar, “O king, live for ever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. These men, O king, pay no heed to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnez′zar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego be brought. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnez′zar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnez′zar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnez′zar was full of fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he ordered certain mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their mantles, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were cast into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was strict and the furnace very hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnez′zar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He answered, “But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Then Nebuchadnez′zar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their mantles were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.
This is a great example of total commitment, we are either committed to God or to man, there is no middle ground!