Summary: This incident in Babylon shows us that Christians are justified in getting involved in politics, but also in resisting a government that compels obedience to what is contrary to the will of God.

Alfred North Whitehead said, "The key note of idolatry is

contentment with the prevalent gods." Nebuchadnezzar, as we saw

in the conclusion of chapter 2, had been convinced that Jehovah was

the God of gods. Even after this, however, he did not feel compelled

to forsake his lesser gods. Like many Oriental people today he added

the true God to his collection and went on in his allegiance to his old

gods. Here in chapter 3 we see him setting up an idol of gold to be


Commentators disagree as to how to interpret this idolatry. Dr.

Gill says it was due to his pride. In the dream and interpretation of

chapter 2 he was the head of gold, but he was going to do better than

that and be the whole image of gold. The image represents himself,

and it is his attempt to outwit the dream and make himself superior.

Whether or not he felt this image represented himself we do not

know, but we do know he was very serious about it being

worshipped, for he threatens immediate death to all who would bow

to it. what ever his motive he is determined to get all to worship his

golden image. It meant a great deal to him.

Joseph Seiss takes an opposite view of the matter. He says the

king is to be congratulated here for this noble act of reverence. He

says Nebuchadnezzar is building this image as a memorial of the

dream God gave him so as to never forget. The purpose then is to

glorify the God of heaven and not to detract from Him. It is

wonderful to be able to see such a noble motive, but the evidence is

opposed to this optimistic view. If it was true that he was honoring

Jehovah, why would the whole chapter be about the opposition of

God's men to the whole thing? In verse 18 they say they will not

serve his gods or worship the golden image. It is flying in the face of

the facts to suppose Nebuchadnezzar is doing anything here but

demanding idolatrous worship. It helps to know that chapter 3 does

not come immediately after chapter 2 in time. Nebuchadnezzar is not

to be pictured as getting up the next day and ordering the image to

be set up.

Since chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar has been to Jerusalem and has

destroyed the city, and so this is 19 years later. Possibly he is now no

longer impressed with the God of the Jews whose city he has

destroyed. He is feeling very supreme himself, and he says to the 3

Jewish friends in verse 15, "And who is the God that will deliver you

out of my hands?" If the God of the Jews could not deliver them in

their holy city, He will certainly be no threat in Babylon is what he

was thinking. Nebuchadnezzar had lost the impression he had when

the dream was interpreted. He settled back into his contentment

with the gods of Babylon. He was in the same frame of mind as king

Robert of Sicily. He heard the words of Scripture being chanted by

some priest. They were saying, "He hath put down the mighty from

their seats, and exalted them of low degree." His scornful response

of pride was-

Tis well that such seditious words are sung

Only by priests in the Latin tongue,

For unto priests and people be it known,

There is no power can push me from my throne.

It was in this spirit that Nebuchadnezzar raised his 90 foot high

golden image and expected all to bow down. Even if it did not

represent him, his ego was directly involved. We get an idea of his

attitude from the famous India House Inscription in which he tells us

how he renovated two great temples and built many others. Of one

of his palaces he says, "That house, for admiration I made it, for the

beholding of the hosts of men I filled it with magnificence.

Awe-inspiring glory, and dread of the splendor of my sovereignty

encompass it round about; the evil, unrighteous man cometh not

within it." He came very near to playing God with his great power.

Verse 2 says that he called all the officials together for the

dedication of his image. A tyrant always has a good crowd at his

formalities. It is a matter of survival to attend such a function.

Daniel is not present at this ceremony, and was likely on a trip of

some important government business. His three friends, who were

lesser officials, were not so fortunate, and they were forced into a

showdown. They had survived all these years as servants in a pagan

government, but now they faced a test of loyalty between God and

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