FAITH FOR THE FIERY TRIAL DANIEL 3:14-30 INTRODUCTION: I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. I. THE DILEMMA THEY FACED (BOW OR BURN) 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had set up a golden image on the plain of Dura. The image was 90 ft. high and 9 ft. wide. Everyone in the kingdom was commanded to be present at the dedication of this image. A. It Was Devilish In Its Origin v. 8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. The term translated "accused" literally means "to eat the pieces of." "to maliciously accuse with the intent to harm someone." These accusations may well have been motivated by jealousy of the Jews? standing with Nebuchadnezzar. Behind Nebuchadnezzar and the accusers, and energizing them was the devil. James 4:8 instructs us to "Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Matthew 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. B. It Was Deceptive In Its Operation To bow down to the image may have seemed like a small thing.To bow down to this image, however, in reality would have been a denial of the one true God and a violation of the first two commandments. Exodus 20:3-4, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow thyself down unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God. C. It Was Deadly In Its Objective The three Hebrew men knew that it would be devastating for them to bow down to the image. Devastating (a) Personally Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
(b) Spiritually Their bowing down would have hindered their own fellowship with the LORD. Sin breaks our fellowship with God. (c) Socially It would have harmed the faith of many people who would have seen them bow down. II. THE DECISION THEY FORMED (STAND NOT FALL) A. Their Decision came from Consecration not Contemplation.16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. they meant, "There is no need to say more for we have made up our minds." Ch 1 v 6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. 8 ¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Their consecration to God had occurred prior to the problem they now faced. They started right (Already Consecrated To God's Will) B. The Decision came from Confidence not Conjecture.17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Nebuchadnezzar's declaration that God could not deliver them out of his hands did not bother Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the least. They Knew :- (a) God Should Deliver Them "our God whom we serve" (b) God Could Deliver Them "our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace," (c) God Would Deliver Them from the King "and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." ie. by death or deliverance C. Their Decision evidenced Courage not Cowardice. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Resting in The Blesser not The Blessing Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.