Summary: The 3 Hebrew children took a stand for God, Who didn’t save them FROM the fire, but saved them IN the fire. God has a purpose for every fiery trial that we go through.
“They Didn’t Bow, Bend, or Burn”
INTRODUCTION: The Babylonians invaded Palestine in 605 BC and carried away Jewish captives back to Babylon. They selected the educated, prominent and choice men and boys. Among this group was Daniel. Daniel 2:48-49 – all turn.
1.- CIRCUMSTANCES – 3:1-3- King Nebuchadnezzar sets up an image of gold 90’ high and 9’ wide … over 9 stories tall. He commands that, when the band begins to play, everyone will fall down and worship the statue … probably of himself.
2.- COMMAND – 3:4-5 – To defy the command of the King was a serious thing. Satan puts pressure on us every day … life is filled with conflicts … there’s a spiritual battle going on.
3.- COST – 3:6 – Anyone who refused to worship this image would be cast into the fiery furnace. We saw this morning, in the message on the pearl of great price, that there’s always a COST involved, if you want to follow God.
4.- CHOICE – 3:7 – When the band began to play, the people fell down and worshipped the image. That was a CHOICE they had. You & I are faced everyday with CHOICES. We can do what we know is right in God’s eyes … or we can disobey God and do what WE want to do. It’s your CHOICE. You have a CHOICE … to look good in the eyes of man … or in the eyes of God.
Joshua had the same decision to make. Joshua 24:15 – “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” They had a CHOICE … whether or not to take a stand.
5.- CONTROL – 3:8-12 – Nebuchadnezzar wanted complete CONTROL of his subjects. There were some in his court who were jealous of these 3 Hebrew children, and they wanted them exposed for their infidelity to the King. They point them out to Nebuchadnezzar … because they wanted to be in a place of CONTROL of the kingdom.
The spiritual battle we are in, is a battle for CONTROL. Who are you going to let CONTROL your life? Your friends … your boss … your own wants and desires … peer-pressure … or GOD? It’s a matter of CONTROL.
What’s happening to these 3 Hebrews is out of their CONTROL. They hadn’t done anything wrong. God wasn’t punishing them for something they had done. SOMETIMES, things happen to us which is beyond our CONTROL. It’s not our fault. What we need to remember is, God is in CONTROL. He knows what’s going on. He never allows anything into our lives that He’s not in CONTROL of.
6.- CHALLENGE - 3:13-15 – The King CHALLENGES them to change their mind … he gives them a 2nd chance. Nebuchadnezzar apparently thought very highly of them, and didn’t want to have to have them thrown into the furnace. “Opportunity may knock only once … but temptation will knock again and again.” The CHALLENGE here is whether to put GOD first … or THEMSELVES.
NOTICE 3:15b – Nebuchadnezzar even CHALLENGES the power of God. He says, “Even your God won’t be able to keep you out of the furnace, if I decide to put you there.”
He not only CHALLENGED God when he set up the image for all to worship him … he CHALLENGED God for His ability to do anything about it. Nebuchadnezzar is on dangerous grounds.
7.- CONFIDENCE – 3:16-18 – They didn’t even have to think about it! (3:16 – “we are not careful to answer thee”). It wasn’t even debatable in their minds. It wasn’t even a temptation. They had to answer to a much higher authority than the King.
NOTICE their CONFIDENCE in God. They know that God can deliver them from the fiery furnace. God could change Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. That’s easy for God to do … if He wants to. HOWEVER … if He wants them in the fiery furnace and be burned up … that’s OK too! It’s a win/win situation. God is in charge. If they die in the fire, then they are home with Him for eternity. How can they lose! God is in control. His will is best.
Either way, they won’t fall down and worship the idol.
8.- COMPROMISE – They could have COMPROMISED their faith … and justified it to themselves.
o Everybody else is doing it … I’ll just go along with the crowd.
o It won’t hurt if I do it just this 1 time.