When Faith Foiled Fire (Daniel 3)

WHEN FAITH FOILED FIRE (Daniel 3) v.1. A. Nebuchadnezzar had just been shown a vision of a great image, in which he and his kingdom were depicted by a head of gold. DAN 2:32, 38. B. As if that were a cue, he here erected a monstrous golden image of worship. C. Ironically, the vision he had seen spoke of the overthrow of idol empires. D. Consider the vain responses and conclusions carnal men arrive at from superficial exposure to true religion. ACT 8:18-20; 19:11-16. E. It was the nature of demigods to erect images of themselves for worship since the belief in divine political authority was the cement of the system. In pagan Rome, a Christian needed only to burn a little incense to the bust of Caesar to spare his life. 1. The one true God Who only is worthy of worship took pains to prevent such folly. DEU 4:15-19. 2. The one image which God allowed the Israelites to have later became a snare of idolatry. NUM 21:8-9 c/w 2KI 18:4. 3. Images do NOT help men to remember God. PSA 106:19-21. 4. Mind that the gospel accounts give no description of the Savior's countenance. God knew what men would do. vs.2-7. A. Nebuchadnezzar forced his religion on the masses. His arrogation of deity is typical of beast empires. 2TH 2:3-4; REV 13:15. 1. State-regulated religion is the certain path to tyranny. 2. The gospel kingdom is advanced by persuasion, not force. 2CO 10:3-6. B. Note the instrumental music which is so prevalent in world religions. 1. God has ordained congregational singing in His worship in the N.T. church. EPH 5:19. 2. N.T. church music is meant to be instructional (COL 3:16). Instruments cannot teach. 3. When Christ set forth New Testament form, they sang a hymn. MAT 26:30. 4. Christ fulfilled prophecy by singing praise to God in the church. HEB 2:12. 5. When God's will is expressed in any area, it admits of no additions or diminutions. DEU 4:2; 1CO 11:1-2. 6. By virtue of a New Testament which disannulled the Old, former orders of worship are set aside. To drag instruments from the O.T. service into the N.T. church is to drag also incense, burnt offerings, priestly vestments, etc. 7. By precept and example, congregational singing is the N.T. church's order. 8. There is only one church in the N.T. where musical instruments are utilized: Mystery Babylon! REV 18:22. D. The people readily complied with the king's command. v.7. 1. To the Gentiles, one idol was as good as another. They were carried and led to such. 1CO 12:2. 2. Political power depended on the deluded masses believing that the king held the power of eternal life/death in his hand. 3. Jesus Christ, through His resurrection and the preaching of the gospel, set men free from the fear of death. HEB 2:15. vs.8-12. A. The Chaldeans, whose lives had been spared as a result of these Hebrews' intercession (DAN 2:5, 17-23), conveniently forgot that and then became their betrayers. B. People who idolize civil government cannot be relied upon when antiChrist laws are codified. Allegiances and past kindnesses seem to fly away when the godly do not conform to ungodly laws. C. Note how that all that is required to invoke the censures of the ungodly is to simply not partake of their errors. D. As alluring or frightening as any temptation may be, it must be resisted. The greater the vice, the more drastic must be the response. 1CO 10:14. vs.13-15. A. As before (DAN 2:12) Nebuchadnezzar flew into a foolish rage. B. He gave the three Hebrews opportunity to answer for themselves, a just principle of law. JOH 7:51. C. Like Pharaoh, he considered himself to be above the correction of God. EXO 5:2. D. He foolishly placed God on the level of the ineffectual vanities of the heathen as did the Assyrian king whose reign then shortly ended. 2KI 18:33-35; 19:35-37. vs.16-18. A. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, like Moses, "...feared not the wrath of the king" (HEB 11:27). B. They respectfully resisted the civil authority and did not speak evil of dignities but gave greater dignity to God. 2PE 2:10. C. These men deemed only the true God worthy of worship. MAT 4:10 ct/w 1CO 10:20. D. In an area where they clearly would have been required to break a law of God these men were adamant. Christians should be reasonably tolerant when personal interests are infringed upon but unmoving where plain obedience to God is challenged. MAT 7:27 ct/w ACT 4:19; 5:28-29. E. These men bravely resisted the terror of the king to keep one law of God, which seems insane to the carnal mind. 1PE 3:13-14; PHIL 1:28. F. They yielded their bodies rather than fear man. PRO 29:25; LUK 12:4-5. G. They were willing to glorify God by submission even unto death. PHIL 1:20. vs.19-23. A. Nebuchadnezzar, extremist that he was, wanted to make a rapid, fierce example of these "insurgents." B. He made sure that the mightiest men of his army bound these humble servants, since, after all, a good public display of force against such dangerous "enemies of the state" would surely make the rest to fear. c/w ACT 4:17. vs.24-25. A. The faithful know that they are not alone in the valley of the shadow of death. PSA 23:4. B. Note that the only thing that the fire consumed were the bonds that restricted their service. God sometimes uses the fires of affliction to burn off those areas of our life which hinder our walk with Him. PRO 25:4; ISA 48:9-11. C. The adversary may bind the servants of God from time to time, but that does not hinder the gospel. 2TI 2:9; PHIL 1:12. D. We ought not to think it strange when we are allowed to face fiery trials which are for our glory & joy in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1PE1:7; 4:12-13. E. Should our faith demand our death, then are we truly freed from the hindrances to the Savior's service. 2CO 5:6-8 c/w ROM 8:18. vs.26-27. A. Observe how God makes the offending ruler to be the one to fetch out His innocent servants. ACT 16:37-39. B. Their faith quenched the violence of fire. HEB 11:34. vs.28-30. A. These men waited patiently on the Lord Who delivered them and won glory for Himself. PSA 40:1-3. B. Observe how Christian integrity can result in political reform though the pathway be difficult. C. God saw to it that they were promoted in the presence of the very men who had risen up against them. ISA 66:5.
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