Summary: By recognizing God’s ability and authority, and determining to obey Him, Christians today can refuse the sinful demands of a bowing world.
1. The bowing world (3:8-15)
a. The bowing world accused the Hebrew children (3:8-
b. The bowing world confronted the Hebrew children
2. The legs to stand on (3:16-18)
a. The Hebrew children stood on the leg of
b. The Hebrew children stood on the leg of
Studdard Kennedy was a military chaplain during World War II. Like all people who experience the front lines of combat, military chaplains have extremely dangerous jobs. I’ve heard of some pastors who come out of churches feeling as if they’ve been in combat, but chaplains are the only ones I know who actually get shot at with live ammunition. And they can’t shoot back, because according to the Geneva Convention, chaplains must be unarmed. But during World War II, Studdard Kennedy was enduring a particularly rough and violent campaign ministering to the front line troops across France. He sat down and wrote a letter to his 10-year old son. He wrote: “The first prayer I want my son to learn to say for me is not, ‘God keep Daddy safe,’ but, ‘God make Daddy brave. And if he has hard things to do, make him strong to do them.’ Son, life and death don’t matter. But right and wrong do. Daddy dead is Daddy still, but Daddy dishonored before God is something too awful for words. I suppose you would like to put in a bit about safety, too, and Mother would like that, I’m sure. Well, put it in afterwards, for it really doesn’t matter nearly as much as doing what is right.” Studdard Kennedy wanted his son to learn what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego showed us over 25 centuries ago. We know the story well. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were strangers in a strange land. Along with Daniel, they were taken captive and exiled when Babylon conquered Jerusalem around 600 years before Jesus was born. They now lived in the pagan country of Babylon, but their heart was in Jerusalem. They knew the Law. They loved God and purposed in their heart to serve Him no matter what the people around them were doing. Like Studdard Kennedy, they believed that right and wrong mattered. The sinful world around them demanded that they bow their knee and worship the god of the age. They refused. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Christians today live in a land that is not our home. The world demands we bow our knee and worship the god of the age. But by recognizing God’s ability and authority, and determining to obey Him, Christians today can refuse the sinful demands of a bowing world and stand when the whole world bows. A little bit later we’ll look at the two legs the Hebrew children were able to stand on, but first, let’s look at the world which was bowing around them. First, the bowing world accused the Hebrew children. Let’s back up and look at verses 8-12.
Let’s set the scene. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. Babylon had conquered Jerusalem several times. Each time they did, they would carry the best and brightest off with them to serve the king. They would send them through some pretty intense training and provide them with an excellent education. As they were going through this training, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had impressed their captors so much that they gave them positions of authority within the kingdom. Of course, it helped that their friend Daniel interpreted a dream for the king that no one else could. So things were going pretty well for them. They had gone from slaves to governors in just a few years. But just like anyone who lives captive in a land that is not their home, they ran into a problem. The king set up a golden statue of himself. Then he declared “national worship my image day” throughout the kingdom. Of course, being good, God-fearing Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused. Isn’t it interesting how anytime God’s people do something different than the crowd, someone is always there to accuse us? That’s what happened to them. Look at verse 8.
The Chaldeans that brought the accusation were probably jealous of the fact that the Hebrew children had government positions they wanted. They were looking for anything they could find to bring them down and destroy them. In the world today, we as Christians are living in a land that is not our home. God has blessed us with positions of favor and authority by giving us jobs, homes, classrooms, friends, and family. But this is still not our home. Just because we may be comfortable in Babylon, doesn’t mean the temporary prince of this world isn’t trying to make us bow. You see, verse 8 says the Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. That word “accused” is translated from an Aramaic word that literally means, “to eat the flesh of,” or “chew someone up.” The Chaldeans were attempting to chew the Hebrew children up and spit them out. Isn’t that the same thing Satan tries to do with us? The Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” How does he try to devour us? One way is by constantly feeding our lusts with immoral temptation and then telling us how weak we are and we just can’t help ourselves. Another way is by puffing up our pride and then telling us that it’s OK to be selfish because we deserve it or we’ve earned the right. Another way is by playing on our laziness by making us complacent to sin around us. Another way is by sowing seeds of petty discord among us so we battle against one another instead of against him. Look out! Satan is using the bowing Chaldeans of the world to accuse you and chew you up! Not only did the bowing world accuse them, the bowing world confronted the Hebrew children. Look at verses 13-15.