This is from Daniel 3; Daniel 6; Esther 4-5.
One day, King Nebuchadnezzar made a big statue made of gold. Everyone was supposed to bow down to it when the music started playing. (Daniel was obviously exempt for some reason, perhaps his high position.) Whoever didn’t bow would be thrown into a very hot furnace (likely the furnace used to make the idol).
Well, the music played and most people bowed down. However, some of Nebuchadnezzar’s officials pointed out that three Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (whom the king must have put in high places as the verses indicate such).
The king was really mad. He had them brought before them. He offered them a second chance (I think they must have been important and/or well-favored, because I think most people would have been fried right away for disobeying the order.) . If they bowed, they would be fine. If not, they’d be thrown quickly into the furnace. The king said that if that happened, no god would be able to save them from his power. Oh what to do?
They replied that God was able to save them. They also said, that, even if God did not save them, they were not going to bow down to his false gods. (Way to go guys!)
The king was REALLY mad now. He ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than normal. Soldiers went and threw them into the furnace. As the people were in a hurry (too much to take safety precautions apparently!), the soldiers who threw them in were killed by the strong heat. It seemed to be the end of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
However, it wasn’t. Also, despite being tied up (though I think the ropes burned), they were walking around, and there was a fourth guy in there (Jesus possibly). The king was astonished. The king asked them to come out, calling them servants of the Most High God. They came out.
Many people crowded around them. They were burnt and neither they nor their close smelled like smoke or fire. The king said that they had defied him and their God had saved them. He then decreed that anybody that spoke against God would be cut into pieces and their house made into a dunghill and that there was no god like God who could save people. They were elevated further in position after this. Their bravery got them rewarded and also caused glory to come to God.
Years later, under Persian rule, Daniel had a position of power under the Persian leader of Babylon (and possibly a Persian king) Darius was in charge. Daniel was in charge of a ton of people. He was one of the main supervisors. Daniel quickly became known as honest and upright, as he didn’t let cheats get away with anything. He soon made enemies. (Something tells me that Daniel would be very hated if he worked under this government.) His enemies tried to find a way to get hit brought down, but, he was so good that they couldn’t find anything to get him in trouble. They soon realized that they weren’t going to get him by finding a fault in him. They knew that he was very loyal to God and so concocted a scheme to try and use that to get rid of Daniel.
They went to the king and said “O King live forever!” (Butt-kissers!) (Maybe though, this was tradition as this line is used a lot in other places of the Bible.) They said that everyone should only pray to the king for 30 days. They said that anybody that doesn’t do this should be thrown into the lions’ den. They said that the king should sign the law so that it could not be undone. The king signed it.
They found Daniel, who knew about the law, praying to God anyway, as he did three times a day. They told the king about this. The king tried to think of a way to save Daniel and spent all day trying to think of a way to undo the law. They came and said that the law couldn’t be undone. Grudgingly, the king threw Daniel into the lions’ den. The king didn’t sleep that night. However, Daniel slept well, despite being in a lions’ den. God shut the mouths of the lions.
The king found Daniel, alive, the next morning. He took Daniel out. He then had the bad guys and their families thrown to the lions. The lions attacked them even before they hit the floor. Then the king sent out another decree saying that everyone had to fear and respect the God of Daniel, who saved him from the lions’ den. Daniel increased in favor of the king.
Things looked bad for Esther and her people. The evil Haman had gotten the king to issue a proclamation that practically allowed the mass genocide of the Jews. Esther saw that her cousin Mordecai was upset. She asked why and found out about the decree.
Mordecai asked her to go see the king. There was just one problem: unless somebody was called to see the king (apparently even Esther), they would be killed if they came in uninvited, unless the king held out his golden scepter to them. Esther hadn’t been called in 30 days.
Mordecai said that she shouldn’t think that she might escape if she doesn’t act, as deliverance could come from another, but that she and her family might be killed still. He told her that she could have come to be in her position for such a time as that.
Esther told Mordecai that she would do it and asked them to fast for three days to ask for God’s help. She said that if she died, she would die.
However, the king his golden scepter to her. She was able to eventually set events in motion that would bring about the downfall of Haman and the salvation of the Jews.
Facing death for Christ is hard. Sometime God lets people die. Other times he saves them. But it is always worth it to serve God rather than man.