Summary: This account, recorded in Daniel, is one of the great Christian “bed time” stories we enjoy telling our kids. This familiarity with the account is both a positive and a negative. Positive in the sense that it is good to get down the biblical stories whi

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Faith and The Furnace

God’s Protection in times of Difficult Choice

Daniel 3

INTRODUCTION: This account, recorded in Daniel, is one of the great Christian “bed time” stories we enjoy telling our kids. This familiarity with the account is both a positive and a negative. Positive in the sense that it is good to get down the biblical stories which serve to enhance our faith in God. Negative in the sense that such a casual familiarity keeps us from discerning additional truths from what has occurred.

§ Nebuchadnezzar has had an image of gold erected

o Seems to have forgotten his acknowledgment of God in Chapter 2

Daniel 2:47 The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

o Statue follows the Babylonian form of numeric

§ Based on 6 and not ten

§ Our clocks and circle degrees are reminiscent of the Babylonian numerical system

o The awesomeness of the statue

§ 90 feet by nine feet

· as tall as an 8 story building

§ Prominently placed

· Dura

· Archeological excavation has unearthed a large square of brick some 6 miles southeast of Babylon in the center of a wide plain

o Why did Nebuchadnezzar build the statue?

§ Trying to change the future

§ Aware of the implications of his vision in Chapter two

Daniel 2:37-43 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

39"After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

· The downfall of the kingdom as a whole will be from the deterioration of the statue, ultimately ending in the inability of the people to max

· Nebuchadnezzar seeks to strengthen the statue by unifying the people

o Summons a variety of officials and people

o Event was a rallying point for national unity

o Event was also a rallying point for religious unity

· The statue was Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration that:

o He was the head of state – the political head

o He was the head of religion – the religious head

o Nebuchadnezzar was seeking to unify both politics and religion under him

NOTE: -- Possibly even Zedekiah, the last king of Judah was here – verse 3 (all) and ….

Isaiah 51:6-9 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

look at the earth beneath;

the heavens will vanish like smoke,

the earth will wear out like a garment

and its inhabitants die like flies.

But my salvation will last forever,

my righteousness will never fail.

7"Hear me, you who know what is right,

you people who have my law in your hearts:

Do not fear the reproach of men

or be terrified by their insults.

8For the moth will eat them up like a garment;

the worm will devour them like wool.

But my righteousness will last forever,

my salvation through all generations."

9Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength,

O arm of the LORD;

awake, as in days gone by,

as in generations of old.

Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,

who pierced that monster through?

§ Nebuchadnezzar’s Edict of worship

o Seems to be aimed at the Jews (divine intervention here as we will see later!)

o No other nation would have a problem here – Dan 6:7-9

Daniel 6:7-9 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 9So King Darius put the decree in writing.

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