Summary: Having the courage to stand for your convictions can be difficult, especially in a foreign land, yet 3 young men mentioned in Daniel 3 were able to stand when everyone else was willing to bow
Introduction: Life is a series of choices. Constantly we are making choices about what to do from one minute to the next. You made the choice to come to service this morning; you choose what you are wearing. In a few moments you will make a choice regarding the restaurant for lunch. The new work week will begin tomorrow, and you will make choices based on priorities and demands. While many choices have very little impact in our daily life, there are times the choices we make carry with them a set of consequences. It is those choices, the difficult choices that at times place us in a tight spot.
We have been in a series of messages entitled ¡§When you are in a Tight Spot¡¨ We have looked at several OT Examples of men who have made choices in their life and in turn have placed them in places of jeopardy. Yet in each message we have learned that God is faithful, and he has delivered his faithful followers from their tight spots.
David, Joshua and Elijah could all give glowing testimonies of how God worked in their lives. Each of our Old Testament heroes faced a different challenge, and yet each man had the conviction to put their trust in god and not in the things of man.
„_ David placed his trust in a sling and stone rather than the king¡¦s armor
„_ Joshua believed God¡¦s strategy was best way to defeat Jericho rather then trust in military plans and weapons
„_ Elijah was willing to face overwhelming odds because he trusted in the One who could control the elements of nature
Today we come to the end of our series and we note once again God¡¦s people are in a tight spot.
The year is approximately 575 B.C. Israel is no longer a major player on the world scene. In fact Israel is now just one more conquered nation in the vast empire of Babylon. Having walked away from God for a number of years, Israel is being punished for their sins. Their punishment comes at the hands of the Babylonians (Chaldeans)
The Babylonians have destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but instead of occupying Israel the Babylonians take the Israel¡¦s best and brightest back to Babylon in exile. For the first time in 900 years the Hebrew Nation is away from their beloved Promise Land.
„_ The Land Joshua had conquered
„_ David had Protected
„_ And God had Prospered
Babylon was 500 miles away from Jerusalem, while the physical difference had to be great, it was nothing compared to the spiritual distance that separated God from his people.
With no temple, there was no place for sacrifice
With no temple, there was very little focus on the priesthood
The Babylonians had a king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar, who had an appetite for world domination and he satisfied that appetite by conquering nations and forcing them to swear an allegiance to him.
Many nations did, including many of the Israelites but there was 3 young men who refused to bow, even in the face of overwhelming pressure and threats to their lives.
Today we will see how these young men refused to bow and took a stand for their convictions.
1. The Test
Daniel 3:1-7, King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
A. Nebuchadnezzar¡¦s arrogance
It was not enough for Nebuchadnezzar to conquer the world he also wanted to be worshipped. And he wanted that worship to be seen in very public way. He erects a tall statue on the plane, and when everyone heard the royal orchestra, they were to stop what they were doing and bow down to the statue, acknowledging Nebuchadnezzar was god!