Summary: Even in the fire, the presence of God was more overwheleming than a fire that had already killed 2 guards.
His Presence Brings Perspective
(Daniel 3 – NKJV)
This chapter opens with:
• The king making an image of gold (90 feet tall and 9 feet wide)
• King sent word, when the music is heard, everyone is to bow to it
• Not just bow to it … “fall down and worship” – verse 5
• If you don’t – right to the fire
• So when the music played, everyone complies, except …
v.8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
v.9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever!
v.10 "You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image;
v.11 "and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
v.12 "There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up."
v.13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.
v.14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?
v.15 "Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"
v.16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
v.17 "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
v.18 "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set
What a story!
So many themes to preach on here:
• Commitment to worshipping/serving God alone
• Not following the crowd
• Not submitting to the pressure of others
• Willingness to boldly proclaim the righteousness of God
• Faith in God to deliver – and to speak of this faith
• And an allegiance to God … even if He doesn’t come through the way we ask
In this one chapter alone … about 7 or 8 sermons, easy!
When I first started preparing this message, I went through very predictable themes (a combination of 2 or 3 of these). But then, I came to a small part of this passage that has always spoken to me.
• The boys tell the king they won’t bow
• The king gets furious and has them bound
• And then thrown into the fire
• The flame was so hot, it killed a couple of the guards standing by
• They fall down in the furnace
• The king looks in …
Daniel 3 (NKJV):
v.24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king."
v.25 "Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
v.26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.
In the midst of your deepest and most severe trials, the thing you need the most is the presence of God!
• His presence brings a relief
• His presence brings a sense of calm
• His presence can bring an ‘ok’ feeling
• His presence can help you focus on HIM, not the SITUATION
As the psalmist said (psalm 23), how many know that many of life’s trials and painful situations – you walk through, not around!
• They don’t all go away
• They’re not all taken away
The blessing is that, in the midst of the fire, His presence makes things more than bearable … He brings joy.