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A BOLD FAITH
January 14, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 3:19-28
KEY VERSE: Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. (Daniel 3:28)
· Over the course of time, Daniel was promoted to the position of “ruler over the whole province of Babylon.”
At Daniel's request king Nebuchadnezzar appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, and Daniel remained at the royal court (see Daniel 2:48-49). At first everything seemed to be going well for Daniel and his friends.
· Then things changed dramatically at the beginning of Daniel chapter 3 after his interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a stunning statue, with king Nebuchadnezzar as its "head of gold" (Daniel 2:38).
Perhaps as a result of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
· The king then called Babylon’s officials to share in his dedication of this towering idol, perhaps representing the figure in the dream reported in Daniel 2 (see Daniel 3:1-3).
At a given signal everyone was to bow down before the idol, but Daniel’s three Hebrew friends would not (see Daniel 3:4-12). Enraged at this “disrespect” Nebuchadnezzar still gave the three Jews another chance to comply (see Daniel 3:13-15). Quietly expressing their commitment to the God of the Bible, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to comply (see Daniel 3:16-18).
I. INTO THE FIRE. (Daniel 3:19-23)
A. Full of fury.
(Daniel 3:19-20) Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
“Full of fury” -- Nebuchadnezzar had an uncontrollable temper. In an extreme outrage of emotionalism, Nebuchadnezzar vented his anger against these men whom he had previously favored. The fire in the fiery furnace was to be built up seven times larger and hotter than usual! This was not necessary, but it reveals what was in this man’s heart.
B. Dressed to kill.
(Daniel 3:21) Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were tied-up in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments. “Their hosen” means their stockings. In other words, they were in full dress for this trip to the fiery furnace.
C. Nebuchadnezzar’s urgent order.
(Daniel 3:22-23) Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind these three men and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments.
Because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men into the furnace. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
II. AFTER THE FIRE. (Daniel 3:24-28)
A. The Surprise: “There were four men in the furnace.”
(Daniel 3:24-25) Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
1. The furnace.
This furnace apparently was an open furnace, and Nebuchadnezzar (who expected these men to die at once) was amazed to see them alive and walking about in the fire.
Another amazing fact was to see a fourth Man whom Nebuchadnezzar described as being in the form “like the Son of God.” That should be translated “like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar had no knowledge of the living and true God at this time, although Daniel had spoken of Him. Having no spiritual perception, Nebuchadnezzar could only testify to His unusual appearance -- He looked like one of the sons of the gods. However, I DO believe that the fourth Man was the Son of God, the preincarnate Christ.
2. The deliverance.
The preservation of these faithful few in the fiery furnace was miraculous. There is no other explanation -- you either accept that or reject it. Either the Book of Daniel is misrepresenting things, or it is telling the truth. I believe that it IS telling the truth!
3. The truth.
You either believe this miracle or you don’t. No, three men cannot be thrown into a fiery furnace without being absolutely destroyed, unless A MIRACLE TAKES PLACE! I believe a miracle took place, and that the fourth Man present was none other than THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
B. The Miracle: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.”
(Daniel 3:26-27) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
C. The Testimony: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!”
(Daniel 3:28-29) Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel [actually, the angel was the Lord Jesus Christ] to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this God!”
D. The Promotion: “The king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”
(Daniel 3:30) Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that these three are “servants of the most high God” (see Daniel 3:28). I think he is getting a little closer to a knowledge of the God of the Bible. These men came forth with not a hair singed, nor the smell of smoke on their garments! This is a clear-cut miracle! Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
By Albert Lee
We do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. -- Daniel 3:18
I recall a Sunday school lesson from nearly 40 years ago in which we were taught to love God in spite of our circumstances. Loving God is easy when He grants our requests and provides what we desire. Loving Him in difficult circumstances tests our faith.
In Daniel 3, we read of the life-and-death decision Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had to make. If they chose to worship the golden image, they would live; if they refused, death was certain. They answered King Nebuchadnezzar: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace . . . . But if not, . . . we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego lacking in faith when they said “but if not”? No. They knew God was fully capable of delivering them from the fiery furnace.
There’s a lesson in this for all of us. Is God all-powerful? Yes. Is He able to deliver us from all our problems? Yes. Does God always deliver us from our difficulties? No.
We may not fully comprehend God’s purpose in our difficulty and suffering, but we must not cease to love Him. We must trust Him and hope in Him in spite of the trials that threaten to overwhelm us.
I have learned to love my Savior,
And I trust Him more each day;
For no matter what the trial,
He will always be my stay. -- Hess
-- Adapted from Albert Lee, Our Daily Bread, October 4, 2004
QUESTION ONE: Why do you think that Daniel was not mentioned in this chapter?
· To show us that these three young men were not just followers, but they also had some character.
· To show us that just because your leader is not around you still should hold to the same convictions
QUESTION TWO: Why do you think the king built this image?
· He was a heathen polytheist.
· He perhaps wished to strengthen his kingdom to prevent the prophecy of Daniel from coming true.
QUESTION THREE: Why do you think that the king had the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal?
· To make sure that they were destroyed because their confidence caused the king to think that perhaps they would be delivered.
QUESTION FOUR: Why do you think that the king made the decree in Daniel 3:29?
“Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Daniel 3:29).
· In attempt to please their God, out of respect for their God's power.
QUESTION FIVE: Why do you think the king promoted the Hebrews?
· So as to please their God (to sort of get on their God’s good side).
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Genuine faith stays strong when deliverance seems impossible.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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