Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Hebrew young men who were Daniel’s companions while in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. The specifications given by the king confirmed these Jews were exceptional young men as regards physical and mental capabilities. Dan 1:4 'Young men who were healthy and handsome, intelligent and well-educated, good prospects for leadership positions in the government, perfect specimens!-and indoctrinate them in the Babylonian language and the lore of magic and fortunetelling.' (Message Bible).
Beyond these physical and mental potentials, the three Hebrew boys were deeply spiritual, and this was the basis of their success in a foreign land that was hostile to the statutes of their God.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not their names originally. It was the prince of the eunuchs that changed their names. Dan 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
Their original names showed their identities with their God. Hananiah means "God is gracious to me"; Mishael is the same as Michael, "he who is God", or "as God" or "asked of God", and Azariah could be interpreted as "God is my help", or "helps me". The names given to them by the prince of the eunuchs sought to change their roots in God of Israel to that of the gods of Babylon. Shadrach can be interpreted as "the messenger of the sun"; Meshach means "of Shach", which was the identity of a god or goddess of the Chaldeans; Abednego can be taken to mean "a servant, or worshipper of Nego".
This change of name is instructive of the fact that the world will try to change the identities of the saints. Note that their names were changed but their worship unto the Almighty did not change.
These young men alongside Daniel made up their mind not to defile themselves with the king’s portion of the meat. There have been many theological explanations to their stance but the underlying truth is that the fear of God and not the dread of the world is the beginning of wisdom. It was their quest for purity that conferred that grace of exceeding excellence on them that made them ten times better than their mates.
These boys were also very prayerful. When the king had a dream that he could not interpret and would not tell the astrologers, they were part of the people that were to be executed. They prayed together and God gave Daniel the interpretation of the dream. Daniel eventually recommended them for promotion in the Kingdom. This means that whenever you find yourself in an privileged position, you should endaveour to elevate the righteous and qualified people around you.
The zenith of their exploits in Babylon was when they refused to bow to the king’s idol. The king threatened them but they stood by their decision to remain steadfast not to bow unto any other God but Jehovah. There are countless assaults on the Christian faith but Peter's admonition - remain steadfast - comes to mind readily. 1Pe 5:9 Whom resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
They declined to bow to the king’s image, and God came to their rescue in the fiery furnace. God is never late; He will always come to the aid of those that trust in Him.