Summary: Trust that God will rescue you, but even if He doesn’t believe in Him and His ways! Trust that God’s will is absolutely the best path for you! When life that is burns down around us, maintain our absolute faith in God!
“Even If He Don’t”
READ TOGETHER DANIEL 3:16-18 (NIV 1984)
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 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."
ILLUSTRATION… Will God Come Through (p)
Tom and his new wife loved each other dearly. They had made such grand promises to each other at their wedding ceremony and the ceremony was absolute perfection and storybook. Life was good the first month, but then Tom lost his job and his wife was going to school full-time and could only work part-time. They moved to a small studio apartment and bumped into each other often and tempers flared more than they wished. Then Tom’s father grew ill. Then the car started making a warping sound every time it turned left. Then a bike which was a wedding gift got stolen. Then the TV started showing everything with a greenish hue. Tom had been out of work for six months and they were now using up the last of their wedding gift money to live. They had even taken back some wedding gifts for gift cards to buy groceries. The stress level was making Tom physically sick and he could not sleep.
It was some time in the third month that Tom decided to begin each day praying for his new bride and the tsunami of horror that was their life. Bad things kept happening. Things kept breaking. Bills came in they could not pay. Credit cards were maxed. Every day Tom prayed that God would make a way. It was after they decided to pawn their wedding rings in the sixth month that Tom found it difficult to pray.
Where was God in all of this?
It had been three months of faithful praying; would God come through in providing him a job?
Why was life so hard all of a sudden?
It was the morning that he was to go and pawn their wedding rings that Tom knelt by the bedside as usual and felt like he had a choice. Would he pray once more? Would he continue to pray or give up? Would he just let out a curse at God and forget his faith or stick with the faith he knew was in his heart? What would he do? Would God come through?
BACKGROUND OF DANIEL 3:16-18
Our passage this morning has some interesting background to it which includes a huge statue and a huge command to do something wrong. Daniel 3:1-6 creates for us the background for verses 16-18 which are the verses we read together this morning. Daniel 3 begins with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon making an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide. I can imagine that the image is of him, but we don’t actually know. He then summons all of his government officials and all his musicians to dedicate the image to his glory and I can only assume to his false idol gods. The dedication involved bowing down to an idol and worshipping it. The message from the king went out in verses 5-6: “As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (the three men mentioned in verses 16-18) were among the government officials summoned. As believers in God Almighty, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a choice as they stood there on the plain in the crowd of people. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could bow down to the huge statue and betray their God, their faith, and their heritage (Exodus 20:4-5, Leviticus 26:1). Bowing down was something that they could do if they so chose. The king commanded all the officials to do it and made no exception for them. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could also with great integrity refuse to bow down and maintain their faith in God (Joshua 23:16). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were commanded to do something morally wrong against God. What would they do? As the story goes, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego decided not to bow down to the huge golden statue and faced the fiery furnace consequence.
READ TOGETHER DANIEL 3:16-18 (MSG)
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."