1 Peter 2:19-23, Choose Wisely, Civil Disobedience, Daniel 1:8, Daniel 3:1-6, Daniel 3:16-18, Faithful service, Isaiah 52:7, Psalm 47:8, Revelation 19:6, Suffering, Suffering With Jesus, Trials, Uncivil behavior, Used Where They Were, Used where YOU are
Bible Ballistics: BBs #707 Used Where They Were? Really??
I would like to take some time today taking a preview look at Daniel chapter 3. Why, you might ask; and the answer would be that there is so much to consider besides the exciting story of the “fiery furnace” which is often missed when we just read the story and go on to the next chapter. I want to give you some homework, if you would, that I think will make our next session together of more benefit to you and me both!
“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold,
whose height was threescore cubits,
and the breadth thereof six cubits:
he set it up in the plain of Dura,
in the province of Babylon.
2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together
and the captains,
and all the rulers of the provinces,
to come to the dedication
of the image which Nebuchadnezzar
the king had set up.
and all the rulers of the provinces,
were gathered together
unto the dedication
of the image that Nebuchadnezzar
the king had set up;
and they stood before the image
that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then an herald cried aloud,
To you it is commanded,
5 That at what time ye hear the sound
of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer,
and all kinds of musick,
ye fall down and worship
the golden image
that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
6 And whoso falleth not down
shall the same hour
be cast into the midst
of a burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:1-6
Here we have an encounter that involved three of the four young men that we have been following; and I’ll just tell you up front, we don’t know where Daniel was, but he, at the very least, isn’t mentioned in this account; now whether he was away on government business or assigned to keep charge of the palace in the King’s absence, we just don’t know. But his three friends are the subject and the object of this account. If you take a few minutes to go back and review chapter 2’s prophetic part, you’ll find that the emphasis was on a statue, of which King Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the “head of gold”! No matter what else the king heard from this dream’s interpretation from Daniel, it would appear that his own “head” has been puffed up with the thought of this “head of gold”! So, he has built and erected a 90-foot-tall statue of “gold”! And I have no doubt that the likeness of this statue was very likely the likeness of King Nebuchadnezzar—a man of pride, and temper.
The king has not only built this giant statue, but he has also called everyone of import to the ‘reveal’ of the image of gold; and not only a ‘reveal’ but a call to “worship” this image he has set up! How ‘coincidental’ that he has called all the people to worship this image—including our three friends! What I want us to consider today is the fact that our three friends find themselves in a dilemma of choosing how to respond to the king’s command! There’s an old southern gospel song that sums it up: “They Wouldn’t Bend, They Wouldn’t Bow, They Wouldn’t Burn” (Written by Arthur Smith)! But when did these three choose? When will you choose?
“But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself
with the portion of the king’s meat,
nor with the wine which he drank:
therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8
Daniel and his friends made up their minds at the beginning to follow and serve their God no matter where they were! They knew God and they trusted HIM to care for them one way or another! Their faith and devotion was in their GOD not ‘religion’! They had already chosen to trust God and follow HIM no matter where it led; whether it was pleasant, convenient or fair—they determined before the crises came that they would not do anything to “defile” themselves; and remember they had already been ceremonially defiled by their captors! They weren’t filled with hate, but they were filled with love for and trust in the Almighty God of creation, their GOD, knowing that HE would use them whereever HE placed them. God can use YOU/ME right where we are (or where ever HE may lead us) if we will repent of our sin, turn to Jesus and give our lives to HIM for HIS service where ever we are! When we decide to follow Jesus any–where HE leads and to trust to HIS care, we will find that God will do amazing things—no matter whether the circumstances are pleasant or not—no matter if it is convenient or not—no matter if it seems ‘fair’ or not! Our God reigns in all! Here are some reminders for us to consider.
“God reigneth over the heathen:
God sitteth upon the throne
of his holiness.” Psalm 47:8
“How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him
that bringeth good tidings,
that bringeth good tidings
that saith unto Zion,
Thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52:7
“And I heard as it were
the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent
reigneth.” Revelation 19:6
So, as we wind down for today, I would like to ask you to spend some time this week reading through and pondering the content of Daniel chapter 3 and noting what these men did, how they did it, why they did it and in whom their trust was secured! How could they be so bold (never arrogant) as to face a raging king and respectfully stand fast trusting God!
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered
and said to the king,
we are not careful to answer thee
in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve
is able to deliver us
from the burning fiery furnace,
and he will deliver us
out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not,
be it known unto thee, O king,
that we will not serve thy gods,
nor worship the golden image
which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
How will you respond when you are under a Nebuchadnezzar who challenges your faith? If we are ever called to ‘civil dis-obedience’ will we behave with godly civility or be arrogantly uncivil. And if you need to see even more of an example ponder this with deep humility.
“For this is thankworthy,
if a man for conscience toward God
20 For what glory is it, if,
when ye be buffeted for your faults,
ye shall take it patiently?
but if, when ye do well,
and suffer for it,
ye take it patiently,
this is acceptable
21 For even hereunto
were ye called:
because Christ also suffered
leaving us an example,
that ye should follow
22 Who did no sin,
neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again;
when he suffered,
he threatened not;
but committed himself
that judgeth righteously:” 1 Peter 2:19-23
May you hear from God as you ponder these things. I pray that we will each bow before our God not the world!
Lord willing, we’ll take this back up Sunday!
Amen and Amen!!!