Summary: God’s People Are A PERSECUTED People
1: God’s People Are A PERSECUTED People
from discrimination in the workplace ……….to government mandates against our beliefs…..
to imprisonment, physical torture and even execution.
1. The Reason For It.
(a) They were persecuted for their STANDARDS.
12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
King Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90 foot tall image of gold on the Plain of Dura, six miles southeast of the city of Babylon.
(b) They were persecuted for their SAVIOUR
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?
After Nebuchadnezzar found them out, he offered them a “second chance,”
“bow down to the image and you will live.”
1. Look at their COURAGE: 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
2. Look at their CONVICTION: 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.
3. Look at their CONFIDENCE: 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.
* In The SUFFICIENCY of God: 17 "Our God is able".
To Save:(Heb 7:25) able to Keep: (Jude 24) able to "do exceeding abundantly... "(Eph 3:20).
Sometimes God delivers us out of the fire, sometimes God delivers us through the fire.
* In The SOVEREIGNTY of God: 18 "But if not... "
* In The SUPREMACY of God: "we will not serve thy gods". (18) (c) They were persecuted for their STAND 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.
2. The Result Of It.
(a) Nebuchadnezzar’s FIRST COMMAND 19 therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
Scholars believe this is the same furnace used to melt the gold in the building of the image.
-Gold melts at a temperature of 1,064 degrees Fahrenheit.
-If this furnace was heated seven times hotter than normal about 7,448 degrees Fahrenheit.
-The average temperature used in the cremation of a body is between 1,600 to 1,800 degrees.
(b) Nebuchadnezzar’s SECOND COMMAND 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
They were Constrained - Bound, They were Clothed - Inflammable, They were Cast
21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
2: God’s People Are A PRESERVED People (vs. 24-27)
There were five things Nebuchadnezzar saw that startled him.
(a) Their Friend. There were FOUR persons instead of THREE.
(b) Their Freedom - not one of the four persons was BOUND.
(c) Their Form - not one of the four persons was BURNED
(d) Their Familiarity - all four persons were WALKING around in the FIRE.
(e) Their Fellowship - the fourth person looked like the SON of GOD.
A. The Fire Loosed them from the Prison of their Bonds
Fire Removes, Fire Reduces, Fire Refines, Fire Refreshes, Fire Refocuses.
Some Avoid the Fire, Some Evade the Fire, Some Relieve the Fire,
B. The Fire Put them in the Presence of Jesus 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
C. The Fire Brought Praise to their God 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
3: God’s People Are A PRAISED People 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.