The Bible is full of fascinating stories about human relationships, including friendships. In fact, stories of friendships are demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testaments. God wants us to have relationships — not just of the marital and familial kind but deep and abiding friendships as well. True friendship provides us with support, love and enjoyment and is nothing short of a gift from God.
In the Book of Daniel, we learn of four Jewish boys who grew to become wise and respected high officials in Babylon. Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were determined to stay true to their beliefs and to each other despite the ungodliness of the king. The king of Babylon at the time was Nebuchadnezzar.
At one point, 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 had received a vision and God granted Daniel a special gift of interpreting dreams. This pleased the king and eventually led Daniel to become second-in-charge over all of Babylon.
Although Daniel was high ranking, he remained true to his friends and convinced Nebuchadnezzar to appoint his friends as the king’s assistants.
Other Babylonian officials became jealous and devised a plot against them. They convinced the king to command all people bow down to an enormous golden statue of the king, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down, as they only would worship the true God.
This infuriated Nebuchadnezzar, who had them thrown into a fiery furnace. When cast into the furnace, they began lifting their voices in praise and prayer to God. When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the flames, he saw four men walking around in the furnace unharmed — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, alongside the Son of God. The king could hardly believe what he was seeing; he ordered them out and declared that their God be the one true God to be worshipped throughout the nation.
God blesses close friends who stand together whenever the fires of life test our faith. The relationship between Daniel and his three best friends demonstrates the true real meaning of friendship. The four grew in their faith together, stood by each other during trials and even in the face of death.