I will be doing a series from the Book of Daniel. I believe it will be very useful to us at this time of a global health crisis.
Daniel & his friends/colleagues were caught up in a crisis of sorts back in their own day: the loss of their freedom & had to live & flourish under a different atmosphere.
Key Points from Chapter 3
- Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, which he set up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
- He then assembled the satraps, the deputies, governors, treasurers, counsellors, sheriffs and all provincial rulers, for its dedication. It was then commanded that everyone should fall down and worship the image when it was indicated to do so. And people did.
- The Jews [Daniel’s companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego] did not, because of their own religious beliefs and this was reported to the king, by the Chaldeans.
- The king summoned them in anger, investigated and gave them a chance to worship the image, failing which they would be cast into “burning fiery furnace”.
- They responded that they would not, which further enraged the king. He then commanded that the furnace be heated 7 times more.
- The Jews were cast into the furnace, but the fire did not hurt them, and Nebuchadnezzar saw a 4th person in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who looked “like a son of the gods”.
- The king asked them to come out of the furnace, praised their God and made a decree protecting the Jewish faith from persecution.
- Daniel does not seem to be part of this drama.
- Prior to this point, it seemed everyone had been free to worship whatever god[s] they preferred. The move to compel everyone, including the Jews, to worship an image was no doubt a result of the maneuverings of dark forces.
- If we are faced with such a problem today, would we stand for what we believe in, or would we comply and bow?
- Sometimes our “stand of faith” has lethal consequences: external persecution and torment.
- Nebuchadnezzar was given to some rash decisions: heating the furnace 7 times would not have increased the suffering of those to be thrown into it. In fact, the urgency of his command led to the death of those who were tasked with throwing the Jews into the furnace.
- God showed up strongly on behalf of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and delivered them. They did not even have the smell of smoke on them. God can deliver those that trust in him.
- This drama led to a further promotion for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
- We are beginning to see a pattern: solving tough problems, or the surmounting of tough challenges, with God on our side for sure, can lead to promotions.