Summary: As Christians, we need to take a stand for God. It’s not always easy. During GOOD TIMES – When things are going right - We get complacent. During BAD TIMES – When everything seems to be going wrong – We get discouraged … blame God … look to ourselves for
Opening illustration: In her famous book and film, “The Hiding Place” Corrie ten Boom tells the story of a Dutch Christian family, her family, who had a heart for the Jewish people. Her grandfather Wilhelm started a weekly prayer group in 1844 in the city of Haarlem, near Amsterdam for the salvation of the Jews and this weekly prayer meeting continued uninterrupted until 1944 when the ten Boon family were sent to a concentration camp for helping Jews to flee from the Nazi persecution in Holland Corrie tells a curious story about her father Caspar ten Boon. When the Jews were forced to wear the “Star of David,” Casper lined up for one. He wore it because he wanted to identify himself with the people for whom he and his family had been praying for all those years. He was prepared to be so completely identified with the Jews that he was willing to wear a sign of shame and suffer persecution for the sake of the people he loved. He didn’t have to wear the Star but chose to.
Introduction: Nebuchadnezzar, having erected an image, whose height (including probably a very high pedestal) was sixty cubits, and the breadth six, ordered a numerous assembly, which he had convened, to fall down and worship it; threatening, at the same time, that whosoever refused should be cast into a fiery furnace, Dan_3:1-7; a punishment not uncommon in that country, (see Jer_29:22.) Daniel’s three companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who were present, being observed to refrain from this idolatrous worship, were accused before the king; who, in great wrath, commanded them to comply with his orders on pain of death, Dan_3:8-15. But these holy men, with the greatest composure and serenity, expressed their firm resolution not to worship his gods or his images, whatever might be the consequence, Dan_3:16-18. Upon which the king, unaccustomed to have his will opposed, in the height of his wrath, ordered the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and these men to be cast into it, bound by the most mighty of his army, who were killed by the flame in the execution of this service, Dan_3:19-23. On this occasion God literally performed his promise by Isaiah, (Isa_43:2 ): “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” for an angel of God, appearing in the furnace, protected these young men, and counteracted the natural violence of the fire; which, only consuming the cords with which they were bound, left them to walk at liberty, and in perfect safety, in the midst of the furnace. The king, astonished at this prodigy, called to them to come out of the furnace, and blessed God for sending an angel to deliver his servants; and commanded all his subjects, upon pain of death, not to speak irreverently of the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who were promoted to great power and honor, Dan_3:24-30. A striking example of the interposition of Providence in favor of true and inflexible piety.
What stand did these young men take for God?
1. They did not BEND (vs. 1 – 12): Under pretence of religion, and holiness in making an image to his idol Bel, he sought his own ambition and vain glory: and this declares that he was not touched with the true fear of God before, but that he confessed him on a sudden motion, as the wicked when they are overcome with the greatness of his works. The Greek interpreters write that this was done eighteen years after the dream, and as may appear, the King feared lest the Jews by their religion should have altered the state of his commonwealth: therefore he meant to bring all to one type of religion, and so rather sought his own peace than God’s glory.
It seems that they named not Daniel, because he was greatly in the king’s favor, thinking if these three had been destroyed, they might have had better occasion to accuse Daniel. And this declares that this policy of erecting this image was invented by the malicious flatterers who sought nothing but the destruction of the Jews, whom they accused of rebellion and ingratitude.
True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men’s passions. The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proud men are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord, that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life or death was not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin must not parley with temptation when that to which we are allured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pause about it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan. They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answer was expected. Those who make their duty their main care need not be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithful servants of God find him able to control and overrule all the powers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If He be for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God will deliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey God rather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must not do evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things moved them. Then saving them from sinful compliance, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of the fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and love of the world; especially want of faith, make men yield to temptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliver them from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to be meek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obey God rather than man.