Summary: My life has been greatly influenced by worship. This influence was due, in part, to those who were willing to engage in genuine worship. Our worship should impact and influence the lives of others.
The Influence of Worship
Daniel 3: 1-30
Worship has impacted and influenced my life for many years now. I have been saved for over 36 years and I have been privileged with the opportunity to worship the Lord for all of those years. Many times, the worship experience has touched and affected my life. It was always a positive influence. Even when I felt conviction and had to repent, it was for my good.
We have read one of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture. We all know of the three Hebrews and their encounter with the fiery furnace. There is a strong sense of worship revealed in this passage. King Nebuchadnezzar had made an image of gold and demanded that all the people worship his image. All of those present that day did as he commanded except for these three men. Their worship was reserved for the true and living God. Worship had an influence on their lives as well as those around them.
As we continue our study on worship, I want to examine several aspects of worship and its influence on our lives. Let’s take a few moments to consider: The Influence of Worship.
I. The Obstacle of Worship (1-7) – In the beginning verses of this passage there is a lot of emphasis placed on worship, but it isn’t biblical worship. Anything that isn’t biblical worship is an obstacle to genuine worship. First, we discover:
A. An Idolatrous People (1) – King Nebuchadnezzar had made an image of gold and set it before the people so that they would worship his idol. The people of God had been taken to Babylon, an idolatrous land. The king had set up an idol of gold. It was literally an image of himself. It stood about 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. He desired the worship of the people. He wanted to deify himself through an image of gold. Nebuchadnezzar demanded they worship him.
I haven’t seen many idols of gold erected in America, but many have a defective desire when it comes to worship. We are spiritual beings, determined to worship something. Many, like the king, desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For Nebuchadnezzar it was power and prestige. For others it is simply the desire to satisfy themselves. If our desire is not to worship the Lord, then we are guilty of idolatry. Those desires are an obstacle to worship. We can’t worship the Lord if He isn’t preeminent in our lives.
B. An Indifferent People (2-3) – All of the people were brought forth to worship the king’s idol. Many of them were no doubt Babylonians, but there must’ve been some Jews present in the crowd. The majority was indifferent to the will of God. They were unconcerned about worshiping an image of gold, worship that is to be reserved for God alone.
The same spirit of indifference remains today. Many are indifferent to the things of God. Some refuse to acknowledge the Lord or honor Him. They have no problem worshiping the gods of the flesh. Churches are often empty on Sundays and yet the places of the world are filled to capacity. Even among the church there is a spirit of indifference. Some have no real desire to worship the Lord. It appears they are content to find their place, but never participate in worship. Many times, real worship is pushed aside for entertainment or things that satisfy the flesh.
C. An Influenced People (4-7) – The people were gathered, the command was given, the music began to play, and the people bowed in worship to the king’s idol. Now, I realize that they had been threatened with their lives if they didn’t worship, but it is clear that the people were influenced in their worship. There can be no doubt that the surroundings and culture of Babylon had begun to invade their lives.
Often within churches today, influenced people are a hindrance and obstacle to genuine worship. They are influenced by the world around them. They are influenced by those with whom they associate. Even in the worship services, folks are influenced by the fear of what someone might think. We tend to allow traditions to influence us rather than seeking to worship God. We need those who will set the standard and become a positive influence in worship. I was influenced by seeing the saints of God worship when I was a child. It reassured me that it was in order to worship the Lord and their worship created a hunger in me for worship.
II. The Observation of Worship (8-13) – As the Hebrews refused to bow, their actions were noticed by those around them. This reveals that:
A. Genuine Worship is Recognized (8-12) – I want us to get a mental picture of what is happening. Nebuchadnezzar had given the decree that all people must worship his image. No doubt thousands of people were gathered in the plain of Dura. As the music played the people bowed. As the king’s men surveyed the crowd, it appeared that his image worship was a success. But wait, in the midst of the crowd there are a few who have not bowed. They have refused to worship the king’s image. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had not bowed. They stood firm on their convictions to worship the Lord only and their worship was recognized.