Daniel 3:8-15 – Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man…shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them…if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
When you see the exact same evil thing happening at various points in history, often it is because the same demonic spirit is at work behind the scenes. This is precisely the case as a godless dictator conquered nations and forced everyone to worship him. While perhaps 300,000 people bowed (including many who claimed to be worshippers of the One True God), three Jewish believers remained standing. Sticking out like a sore thumb, this infuriated the king who decided to throw the “Jews” into a fiery furnace.
Some things never change. The same demon that lived in Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar later moved to Germany with Hitler.
Some wonder where this fiery furnace appeared, even speculating that it shows the story is fictitious. But the context is the unveiling of 90-foot high golden statue to be worshipped. This project, of course, required a large smelting furnace somewhere nearby.
Curiously, Daniel is absent from this scene as his three friends stand alone. Perhaps he was away on state business, or maybe the king knew he’d never bow down so he let Daniel bow out. Either way, the test of real leadership is what happens after the leader is gone. In this case, his friends literally stood up for God in a godless culture.
At some point in life, someone turns up the heat on us and threatens to throw us in some sort of painful fire if we do not surrender. In those times, it’s helpful to remember that our God is a consuming fire, and as Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
God has a hotter fire that burns forever which is why we should not bow down until we see King Jesus, even if we get burned up for not bowing down.
Where is the heat getting turned up in your life?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
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