In studying the Book of Daniel I have posted notes of chapters 1 & 2 on Facebook. I finally woke up to the fact that I have this blog and it is better suited for my reflections on the Book of Daniel study. My hope is that you would join with me in studying God's Word to us through the Book of Daniel. Please offer any insight God reveals to you as we look through the pages of Daniel together.
Chapter 3 - Daniel refuses to bow down to the golden image of the King Nebuchadnezzar. I want to refer back to lessons learned in Chapter two just for a minute.
In chapter 2 Daniel was able to translate the dream for the King. In doing so the King fell prostrate down and worshiped Daniel.
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men" (Daniel 2:46-48).
Daniel had approached the King and told him not to kill the astrologers and wise men, to allow him to interpret the dream. He went back to his friends and explained the urgency of which they were to pray. Pray that they would not parish along with the wise men of Babylon at the hand of the King. That night God revealed to Daniel in his dreams the meaning of the king's dream. Daniel was able to return to King Nebuchadnezzar and share the meaning of the King's dream. It was then that the king fell down and worshiped Daniel. The Word says, "he lavished many gifts on him and made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon." Daniel accepted the praise and worship of the king. He never stopped King Nebuchadnezzar to give honor to his God who it was due.
Chapter 3 Daniel finds himself and his friends being thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar has commanded.
"King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon" (Daniel 3:1).
"Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace" (Daniel 3:6).
Note: The question is often asked, "where was Daniel during this entire episode?" Most of the commentators neatly tuck him away on an out of town mission or some such thing. But according to (Dan. 2:49), Daniel sat in the gate of the king. That means he was at his right hand, as his constant companion and advisor. What seems to be nearer the truth is Daniel was probably there, next to the king, and unable to protest because he had accepted worship of himself in (Dan. 2:46-48). - Yea verily "all have sinned." (http://www.thebiblestudypage.com/daniel3.shtml)
I find this very interesting. Daniel failed to give honor to God for revealing the King's dream...and next he finds himself unable to avoid the fiery furnace for failure to bow down to the golden image.
How many times have we stood up for something in protest, yet we ourselves have sinned in God's eyes in doing very close to the same thing. It could be as simple as cutting someone off in traffic...yet we yell out or lash out at someone for cutting us off just minutes before. (This is my confession people...I find myself doing this very thing.) We are outraged that we take precious farm land or green space to build more houses in sub-divisions, as we live in one established the same way. Yea we have all sinned and fall short from the glory of God!
The praise in this chapter is Daniel's complete trust and faith in his God! In verse 16 & 17 they tell the King, "...we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand" (Daniel 3:16-17).
God rewarded their actions with His protection and (vs. 18) company with the Son of God (vs. 25).
The furnace was so hot that the men that tied up Daniel and his friends perished. When the king watched, he saw 4 men walking around in the furnace, no longer tied and unharmed.
Hell (found in type in the furnace) has no power over those who put their trust in the Lord.
Trust, complete unwavering trust. The kind of trust that you don't even have to think about, you know without a doubt it's real! Daniel didn't have to ask the King to let him stop to pray, fast, or meditate on what was about to happen. His trust and faith in what his God could do is the witness!
Daniel's replied with (verse 18), "But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel knew there was a possibility he would die in the flames. Probably more so he was about to die...than God saving him. But he stood on the faith and knowledge that God could do just that! Having a trust and belief that the Lord can do all things.
I love the description the King gives as he witnesses the 3 men in the furnace.
He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
If we could witness Christ walking right beside us in times of our troubles...
"But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." (Romans 8:10 & 11).
Would our answers be as quick as Daniels...no need to stop and pray...just act, act and trust!
In closing the study today gave me Psalm 46 to reference:
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
Peace is in Him...our Mighty Fortress!