We have been continued our look at Daniel this week with the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in chapter three. Below is the outline that was used.
We cannot know what influenced Nebuchadnezzar to build such an image of gold, it could have been his dream, a statue to his god or an obelisk but it was bad news for the three Hebrews. For Nebuchadnezzar it was probably a pragmatic decision intended to gain a pledge of allegiance from his officials. He knew that the Hebrews worshiped their own God and probably didn’t care so long as they bowed down to his image and therefore submitted to him. We had four headings;
- Faithful before men
- Faithful through a trail
- Faithful to God
- God is faithful to his people
Faithful before men
The three Hebrews faced opposition from the state
- When the music plays all bow down
- Three remain standing
- Being faithful to God meant opposing the state
- Will we ever have to oppose the state?
- The UK is in the process of making things more difficult for churches and large organisations
- Politicians compete to oppose the church
- “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29)
They also faced personal opposition which is sometimes more of a challenge
- The king is reasonable at first
- Sometimes it is more difficult to stand against a person
- The king is then furious
- The pressure to conform
Faithful through a trail
- Where was Daniel? He is the dominant character in the book and was their friend
- They had been faithful in the small things
- Trials can set you free, when they entered the furnace the only things consumed were their bonds
- Trials build faith
1Pe 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
1Pe 1:7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Jas 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Faithful to God
- An assault on the senses, the sight of the image and the forces of the state, the sound of the music and the furnace and the feel of the heat from the furnace
- They were faithful to one who could not be seen
- The believed in God’s power “the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.”
- Do we believe God when it seems to make no sense?
- They submitted to his will, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
- Do we trust God when he says no?
God is faithful to his people
- They were not alone
- The fourth person in the furnace seems to be the pre-existent Christ
- They may not have seen him
- The Lord stands at our side
- “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)