We know that the Old Testament saints were required to perform sacrifices as part of their obedience & worship… those sacrifices were all pictures of what Christ saved us from and a hands-on constant reminder of our dependence on Christ’s work.
As I read Daniel 3 again today I realized God didn’t want an animal sacrifice this time. It wasn’t a sheep or a bull that was going to cover what was necessary for the true worship of almighty God in these circumstances.
It’s easy to feel godly as you perfectly execute the letter of the law when it only requires your animal to be placed on the altar, the animal’s blood pouring out, not yours. The animal’s flesh licked by the flames, not your own.
What about when God asks you to take it to a whole new level? We know who we truly treasure and worship then. That moment when you have to choose whether you’ll climb on the altar yourself or not, because there’s no animal in sight to cover this sacrifice for you. God wants you. All of you.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t choose a lesser sacrifice. Self-preservation wasn’t what God was asking for. They gave Him their reasonable and acceptable sacrifice (Romans 12:1), the ultimate form of worship.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. ~Psalm 51:16,17