Daniel and his friends acted with courage, not hesitation

Approximately 586 years before Christ, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, marched against the city of Jerusalem and conquered it. So impressed was he with the qualities and learning of the children of Israel that he had several of them brought to the king's court.

"Trouble came to the Israelites the day Nebuchadnezzar made a golden idol and commanded all in the province of Babylon to worship it, a command that the three young Israelites - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego - quietly refused," said President Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve at the April 1990 general conference. "The king was full of rage and fury' and demanded that they be brought before him. (Dan. 3:13.) He informed them that if they did not fall down before the golden image at the appointed moment,ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.' Then with some self-satisfaction he asked, `And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?' (Dan. 3:15.)"The three young men responded courteously but without hesitation:

" If it be so,' they said,

that you threaten us with death,T our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

" `But if not [ if for whatever reason he chooses not to save us from the fire], be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' (Dan. 3:17-18.)

"Of course, Nebuchadnezzar was more furious than ever and ordered that one of the furnaces be heated to seven times its normal temperature. Then he commanded that these three valiant young men be thrown fully clothed into the midst of the fire. Indeed, the king was so insistent and the flame so hot that the soldiers who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell dead from the heat of the furnace as they cast their captives forward.

"Then transpired one of those great miracles to which the faithful are entitled according to the will of God. These three young men stood and walked about calmly in the midst of the furnace and were not burned."

President Hunter said: "The ability to stand by one's principles, to live with integrity and faith according to one's belief - that is what matters, that is the difference between a contribution and a commitment. That devotion to true principle - in our individual lives, in our homes and families, and in all places where we meet and influence other people - that devotion is what God is ultimately requesting of us."

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