Another example of God Buddies in the Bible is one of my favorites, mainly because I like to say the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!
God deeply desires that we find close friends who stand with us whenever we enter the fires of life that test in our faith. The relationship between Daniel and his three best friends helps us think about the real meaning of friendship. The three grew in their faith together, stood by each other during some trials, and never allowed their friendship to usurp God’s place in their lives; not even in the face of death.
God Buddies will also stand strong with you and support you, whereas casual acquaintances or friends of proximity usually won’t be there when things get really “hot”. Like Daniel and his buddies, it’s easier to trust in God with friends with shared convictions and beliefs.
The book of Daniel tells us about four Jewish boys who grew to become wise and respected high officials in Babylon. Daniel and his three buddies: Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were in early training but were determined to not defile themselvbes according to their customs by eating unacceptable foods given to him by the King of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel asked that they get tested with a different diet for ten days (Daniel 1). They trusted God would strengthen them if they stood strong in their beliefs. Based on their health differences and unusual wisdom afterward compared to those who ate the king’s food, the four best friends entered into the king’s royal court.
Later, Daniel was brought to hear Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams after the King did not like what the magicians, sorcerers, and astrologers had been telling him (Daniel 2: 2-12). Daniel had received a vision and praised God who awarded him a special gift of interpreting dreams, which pleased the King and eventually led to elevating Daniel to second-in-charge over all of Babylon.
This promotion had raised Daniel to a rank far above his friends but he remained true to them spiritually. Daniel loved his friends so after he was promoted, he convinced Nebuchadnezzar to appoint his friends as the King’s assistants.
Other Babylonian officials became so jealous of the three that they went to Nebuchadnezzar to command that all people bow down to the ninety feet tall and nine feet wide golden statue of the King (Daniel 3). But Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego refused to bow down since they were taught not to worship idols or other gods.
This enraged Nebuchadnezzar who had the three thrown into the fiery furnace, which was heated seven times hotter than normal. They had faith that God though would save them from this fiery ordeal.
When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the flames, he saw four men walking around in the furnace unharmed — Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, alongside the Son of God so the King praised God and promoted Daniel’s buddies to an even higher office in Babylon, then decreed that the God of Israel shall be worshipped.
The GB Lessons
God Buddies will make life more enjoyable when they do life together under shared convictions and common values. There is great strength that comes from real deep, authentic friendships since your buddies will remind you to stay firm in your faith and trust that God is there throughout life’s trials.
Notice, it was Nebuchadnezzar who saw the fourth man, who looked like the son of God walking around in the midst of the fire.
While having common values and shared religious beliefs with your God Buddy is not a requirement, it does help since we may not always perceive when God is in the midst of our trials, especially when you don’t get the outcome you wanted.
So whether its a compromising situation at work where you must stand firm in your convictions or while enduring tough circumstances that test your trust in God, lean on your God Buddies for prayer and support. It can help make the difficult times become more bearable and remind you to trust that Jesus “will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). It’s one of His many great promises!
Has there been a time when you have been asked to compromise your convictions in your career? How did you make it through that fiery furnace? What was the lesson(s) you learned in that situation? Feel free to comment below.