Daniel 3:1-30

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Text: Daniel 3

THE FIERY FURNACE

INTRODUCTION:

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he [i.e. the LORD] delighteth in his [i.e. the (good) man's] way.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

II Timothy 3:12 - Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

James 1:2-4 - 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I Peter 1:6-7 - 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:3-5 - 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

When we consider the episode of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace, what was God's will for them to do? It was clear. God allowed this circumstance to come to pass in their lives. It was not something they brought on themselves. It was something which came upon them in the course of their living for the Lord. Before it ever happened, they already knew what God's will was in this regard.

Exodus 20:3-5 - 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve [i.e. worship] them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Acts 5:29 - Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

I. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO WERE TESTED - 3:1-7

Daniel 3:1-7 - 1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits [i.e. 90 feet], and the breadth thereof six cubits [i.e. 9 feet]: he set it up in the plain of Dura [i.e. located 6 miles from Babylon], in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes [i.e. Leaders of the various provinces], the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs [i.e. minor judges], and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet [Ryrie Study Bible - a wind instrument], flute, harp, sackbut [a stringed musical instrument], psaltery [a stringed musical instrument], dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

This command to worship shows that this act had a religious significance in addition to being a test of loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar. It required the recognition of Nebuchadnezzar's gods.

7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

II. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO WERE ACCUSED - 3:8-12

Daniel 3:8-12 - 8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: 11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The accusation against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was that they did not serve Nebuchadnezzar's gods nor worship the golden image. Of course, both were strictly forbidden by the Law (Exodus 20:3-5 ).

Exodus 20:3-5 - 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve [i.e. worship] them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

III. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO WERE UNMOVED - 3:13-18

Daniel 3:13-18 - 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready [Nebuchadnezzar was giving them one more chance to comply with his command.] that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? [The implication of what Nebuchadnezzar was saying is that no god would be able to deliver them out of his hands.] 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to [i.e. we have no need to] answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand [whether from death or through death, i.e. whether through deliverance or through martyrdom], O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up [They did what was right and accepted the consequences of their action.].

IV. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO WERE DELIVERED - 3:19-25

Daniel 3:19-25 - 19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage [i.e. the expression (or look) on his face] was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be [i.e. seven times hotter than it was usually] heated. 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen [i.e. trousers or leggings], and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied [i.e. astonished], and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God [He had to be a divine being to be in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and deliver them from what appeared to be certain death.].

V. SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO WERE PROMOTED - 3:26-30

Daniel 3:26-30 - 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither [i.e. here]. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

CONCLUSION:

We learn from the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace that we should always do what is right and in a right manner and leave the consequences up to God.