Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up."
Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (NKJV)
The book of Daniel is a prophetic book that gives us a bird-side view into the origin and the conquests of 4 Gentile kingdoms. …4 world empires …3 that have come and gone….and the 4th one that's ongoing ...that is, for now will soon to come to past…and will be the last empire man will ever lead. God gave Daniel a prophetic “panoramic” view of their hierarchies… the kings that sat upon their thrones, how the 1st kingdom fell to the 2nd ….the 2nd kingdom fell to the 3rd. ..,that 3rd fell to the 4th and current kingdom… and ultimately how all these 4 combined world kingdoms would fall to God’s sovereign heavenly kingdom…a” kingdom…that Daniel calls the "stone kingdom"….
What is the Stone Kingdom?
It's "that stone" that was hewn out of the mountain; "that stone" that became "the chief corner stone;" that “omnipotent” stone; that "omniscient" stone, that "omnipresent" stone, that "immutable" never changing stone… "that stone" that's the same yesterday...today...and forevermore....whose kingdom shall have no end; whose kingdom that strikes all of the other kingdoms at their feet and breaks them up into pieces and then consumes them with the sword of His Mouth…and then sets up His heavenly kingdom- the Millennial kingdom right here on earth.
What Daniel wrote in the 3rd chapter this book earmarked the 2nd time in modern human history when the HAND OF GOD moved mightily in the affairs of nations and people. There are 3 other times in Bible history God moved mightily in this way...
God's Hand Moving Through History:
The 1st time was the time of the Exodus…. After 430 years of slavery, God used Moses and 10 plagues… to go and tell Pharoah to let His people go… God freed “His chosen people” from Egyptian bondage. He protected them with his divine presence, as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night…. And at the banks of the Red Sea…God caused the water to rolled up… on both side, and they crossed over to freedom on dry ground…
Then the 3rd time is the “historic axis” on which all time periods stand. The 3rd time in human history brought us the birth and ministry of our Messiah Jesus Christ. The 3rd time is that important time in the total annals of all history because the Word became human flesh and dwell among us and we beheld his glory as the only begotten of the father full of grace and truth. Concluding with
The 4th time is this present time, It started at the cross, where we first saw the light…. And the burden of our heart rolled away. It moved to Joseph’s new tomb, where in the underworld where the first paradise resided. He revealed himself to all of the saints of the Old Testament all of them, who looked for HIS day. Well, there had to be great joy in paradise because the Bible said that when Jesus died…the graves opened up… and all the dead saints got up from the graves and marched in the streets of Jerusalem, having a victory celebration…and from the resurrection from the grave to 120 people in the upper room, where in Acts 1:8, Jesus told the disciples to wait. You will receive power, after that the Holy Ghost will come upon them. And after the Holy Ghost empowers you, all of you will become witnesses, in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and then in the uttermost parts of the world…..
Now…in our text, this 2nd time in world history; 25 years later after the siege of Jerusalem and the desecration of Solomon’s temple and they have come face o face with Jeremiah’s 70 year captivity prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar builds a gold colossal image and placed it in the plain of Dura… a province of Babylon. This image was 3 SCORE CUBITS, in height…that is…it was 60 CUBITS high… when measured out in standard measures with one cubit being ,the equivalent of 18 inches it was 90 feet high) HIGH and 6 CUBITS in width or 9 feet wide. After the image was built, Nebuchadnezzar dedicated the image. Invitations were sent out. He invited: viceroys, governors, captains, judges, every treasurers, counselors, sheriffs, every rulers from each province was invited more like summoned to pay homage to that golden image. When all the invited guest arrived… the Bible said … a herald stepped forth …and made the following decree: O you people, nations and languages. At the time that you hear the music… when the music splits the air;…when you hear the sound of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, the dulcimer and all kind of music… all of you are to fall down… and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up…Anyone who refuses to fall down… and worship the image… shall be cast the same hour…into midst of a burning, fiery furnace…. What a pompous decree!
What Prompted Nebuchadnezzar to do this?
NOW, WHAT prompted Nebuchadnezzar to do SOMETHING LIKE THIS? If you remember, God used THIS KING… to fulfill the 70-year prophecy that caused a disobedient Southern kingdom to go into captivity in the first place. Not only that, THIS KING, on 2 PRIOR OCCASIONS saw the AWESOME POWER OF GOD at WORK… right before his very eyes. And yet, after all God showed him in power and in splendor, here it is 25 years later, he dared to do a thing like this? We, like this king in many ways fall into the same boat. How many times have we done something crazy after God did something great for us… God did one miracle after another for us… and even through us …How many times have God brought us from darkness to deliverance …from disgrace to amazing grace…from sickness to health ……to better from worse …and from poverty to prosperity….from the back of the bus to this day when they now leave the driving to us…and yet like this king … sooner of later…we end up doing something …off the wall…and completely in left field… in disobedience to God and lift ourselves up in pride…looking for praise instead of giving God the praise!
The FIRST TIME he saw the power of God was in what God did with these Daniel and these 3 men as they were going through THAT 3-YEAR brainwashing course. Everybody in that school was required to eat the SAME meat that the king ate and drink the SAME WINE that the king drank. DANIEL had PURPOSED in his heart that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE would he or would the 3 Hebrew boys eat the king’s meat or drink the king’s drink..The point in the decision Daniel made applies to us in the following manner...My brothers and sisters……we got to live this life with a godly purpose in our heart! …Our HEARTS must be fixed,… and our minds must be MADE UP that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES… will we DEFILE OURSELVES with the meat and drink of this sinful world……As an individual you got to be persuaded… that YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LET NOTHING… SEPARATE YOU FROM THE LOVE OF GOD… nor LET NOBODY turn you away from God's way!
Well, after Daniel cut a deal for a different diet The 4 of them ate PULSE… MASHED BEANS and drank water… for 10 days.…After the 10 days…they were brought before he king… when the king looked at them… they looked healthier, better and fairer… their minds were keener …they were smarter than everybody else that ate what the king said eat ….and drank what the king said drink. I stopped by here to tell you that GOD WILL BLESS you and give you favor!…God blesses faithfulness!…! If you will stand for what is right and stay steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord …..LOOK AT WHAT GOD DID! GOD GAVE ALL 4 of them SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE… SUPERIOR WISDOM and SUPERIOR SKILL… in EVERY AREA OF LEARNING AND WISDOM…WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE! They were able to do all things through their God who gave them strength!
The SECOND TIME the king experienced God's power in his presence is the basis of why he had the image built in the first place. Nebuchadnezzar had that troubling dream … couldn’t remember what he dreamt or remember what the dream meant. He had put out a decree to all of the wise men of Babylon. He told them if they could tell him what the dream was and what the dream meant, all of them would receive gifts, rewards and great honor, but if they didn’t, all of them would be killed.
The wise men tried to reason with the king and said to the king…King, if you could just tell us what was you dreamt about… and give us some time, we could then interpret this dream. The king said angrily, I told you I forgot the dream!! Why are you trying to bide for time for… anyway…You’re all supposed to be wise men … either you tell me… what the dream is…. and tell me what it meant without lying to me… or I will kill all of you. The Chaldeans then told the king; what you are asking us to do is a rare thing. ..Nobody in the flesh could this… only the gods whose dwelling…. is not in flesh could do such a thing! Well…, after the king sent out an angry decree… to kill all of the wise men in Babylon….. Daniel got wind of what had happened and told the officer…. let me have a hearing with the king. In situations like this, we have to recognize when God opens a "witness door" and give us the opportunity to use the "spiritual gifts" he’s given us to men to see the good works in us but give God the glory.
Daniel's Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
At that hearing, I can hear Daniel saying Oh Nebuchadnezzar…the God that I serve and he alone… told me what it was you dreamed about…. and it was he that gave me the interpretation of your dream , My GOD is the only one that can gives TRUE AND ACCURATE DISCERNMENT . Daniel then told the king not only exactly what he dreamed, but also he told him what the vision meant. The king fell on his face and said Daniel you’re right! That’s exactly what I dreamt. It is of a truth that Your God is a God of gods, and a Lords of kings and a revealer of secrets because you are the only one that was able to reveal the secret….So you can see that after all that this king had already seen God do before his eyes, it didn’t make since for the king do build this image so why did he do it in the first place. Well there are 2 reasons why he did this!
The first reason is the king got arrogant and full of himself….It wasn’t enough that Daniel told the king that the head of gold represented the kingdom he already had! But it became apparent this wasn’t enough for the king. The fact that the image that he had made was all gold lets us know… THE KING really got full of himself …and thought his kingdom was to reign forever!… HE forgot that he was mortal …. He forgot that he had no control of how the future kingdoms were to take place. He forgot that the stone that was hurled at the feet of the image he saw in his dream was the one who controls the destiny of nations and people which included him! There are a lot of people like that in many of our churches. and in today's society. They are privileged to have a position of power and given charge over a group or a project… but before too long, some of them… soon get full of themselves and now think that they should be in charge of everything at all the times!… Some people are so insatiable…that means hard to satisfy! ….It doesn’t matter what you do or let them do…for some people…ENOUGH IS NEVER ENOUGH!
The 2nd reason was prophetic and historic LITTLE did the king know… that his actions…in making this decree for the people to bow down and worship of this golden image …marked the 2nd time of what will become 3 failed attempts in biblical and modern history that the devil has tricked man into consolidating all nations and people into a one-world government and a one-world religious system in an attempt to live live devoid of the influences of Almighty God… The 1st time happened in ‘Genesis 11 at the tower of Babel. The people got together in the land of Shinar, in defiance to God’s command to scatter out over the "4 corners" of the earth after God had empowered and instructed them to spread out over the face of the earth and replenish it and share the Oracles of God with those they came in contact with. In defiance, the people got together and declared "Lest we become scattered over the face of the earth, let us make us a name and let us.. build us a city and a tower and let us build the top of that tower in such a way that it will reach up into the heavens"
Well, the Bible said God came down, looked at what they were doing and God said: They have become as one people…. They have one language…. and this thing they begin to do…. Now they won’t be restrained from whatever they imagine to. It was as if God was saying..."If we don’t do something; if we don’t confound their language, and scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth, there is no telling what they might do! I don’t know about you but…I ‘M SO GLAD THAT GOD HAS PLACED LIMITS on WHAT WE CAN and CANNOT DO, because, it is painfully obvious if GOD DIDN’T confound and confuse us sometimes…..If we weren’t challenged sometimes…if God didn’t force us in situations where we had no alternative but to scrap our plans and change directions, even scatter us sometime…."Ain’t no telling" what we might do…I’ll come back to the 2nd time in a minute….! WELL….
THE 3RD and final attempt to consolidate world into a new world order and a one- world religion is going on right now…look at everything that is going on…everything’s global: global government…global economy…global churches…global corporations…pictured global identification cards… world councils of churches…one church in multiple locations…home land security or is it home land surveillance…big brother has his eye on us.. everywhere we go…and nearly everything we do…in the streets…. Inside our homes…in the bathrooms…..on our jobs…military flying high over head…is it for security or is it for surveillance…. What God once scattered and confused at the tower of Babel…now…the internet has consolidated and brought scattered people of all language right INTO OUR VERY HOMES…on a computer screen…at the click of a mouse...In many cases…we no longer have real church… we are now doing our own worldly brand of church! We are living in the last days…Listen to the music of this life…
What happened to the Hebrew Boys?
Well, the music played. The cornet played. The flute played. The harp played. The sackbut played. The dulcimer played and the bible said that everybody began to bow down, but 3 young men: Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego. Well, the bible said some nosy Chaldeans who would have head their heads bowed down look around and noticed that these Hebrew young men were still standing and because they were jealous of them anyway they started sucking up and tattle-tailing to the king can’t you hear them saying…. Oh King live forever. King, didn’t you make a decree that every man that heard the sound of the music and the instruments play was to bow down and worship the image? Didn’t you also say that whosoever didn’t bow down would be placed at that moment in the midst of a burning fiery furnace? Well king, when we bowed, we looked around and we noticed that those three Hebrew men Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego that didn’t bow to the music, nor bow to the sound of the instruments, neither did they worship the image. King, they don’t have any regard to your decree. They won’t even serve your gods nor give worship to the image! …Not only this, but king ...this looks real bad… because you made all three of them rulers in your kingdom …..and it’s an insult to your kingship to have non-conformers in the kingdom…. ruling in the kingdom….
Boy did this make the king mad, and in his raging fury he commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego be brought to him immediately! They came before th king… the king asked them while still burning with rage….is it true O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego ….that you do not serve my gods ….nor worship the golden image that I have set up? Maybe you didn’t understand the decree… and maybe this is why you didn’t bow down…so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt …and I am going to spell it out for you… I’m going to give it to you straight from the king’s mouth…. Now if you are ready…the next time you hear the sound of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, then dulcimer and all kinds of music…. And you fall down and worship the golden image that I have set up…. then I will forget about what I heard about you…. But if you don’t fall down and worship the image….. you will be cast at the same hour into a burning, fiery furnace and who is that god that will deliver you out of my hand?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego looked the king in the face and said Oh King, we have no need to answer you in this manner. If what you say is true… and this is what will happen… we now will tell you that our God,… whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace …and He will deliver us out of you hand O king!… But even if he doesn’t… let it be known to you… that under no circumstances will we serve your gods,…nor will we worship… the golden image that you sat up..
Making a "public stance"
The time has come when we as the saints of God need to make a public stand on our profession of our faith and God centered convictions and declare to the world… no matter what! I doesn’t matter if our jobs are on the line. It doesn’t matter if our belief in Jesus Christ might land us in jail. It doesn’t matter if the government seize all of our assets and Satan himself unleash all the hounds of hell upon us, we have got to tell this world and all the people of the world the same thing that Job said: Yet though he slay me, I will still serve Him. You can persecute us all you want to! We serve a God that is able to deliver us from the fiery trials of this life and even if He chooses not to deliver us, we will NEVER NEVER…NO…NOT EVER bow down and serve the god of this world!!
The king is really mad now the bible says that he called for his most mighty men out of his army to seize these three men, bind them, and throw in the fiery furnace. Before he threw them in, he told them to heat the fire seven times as hot.as it was… The number seven is the number of completion. This meant the king told them to heat the fire as high as it could be heated. The king also ordered that all of their garments that they owned be place on their bodies from head to toe. so there wouldn’t be any trace of their existence left in his kingdom. The fire was so hot, that the men that had bound Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego and threw them into this fiery furnace were burned up and died from the heat of the fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego fell down, bound in the fiery furnace. But look ahere! As Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego stood unbound in the midst of this scorching fire, walking around in the fire. The king then noticed something strange going on! The bible said He became astonished and ran over to the fiery furnace to see what was going on. What he noticed was so strange, that he called over his counselors and asked them: Didn’t we throw 3 men into this fire? Well I see the three men and they are walking around in the fire. THE FIRE hasn’t burned them…
Freed from the Burning Furnace:
WELL I’VE GOT TO GO NOW BUT, BEFORE I GO, and take my seat LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT 2 OTHER times written in the bible WHEN SOMETHING or someone WAS ENGULPED IN FIRE but the fire,,, didn’t burn them up! On Mount Sinai when Moses went up into the mountain of God saw a burning bush in the mountain. The bush was on fire, but the bush didn’t burn up. When Moses approached that bush I heard… the voice of God say….Moses ….before you can come any closer…take the sandals off your feet for the ground you stand on is holy ground…..The other time happened in the upper room on the day when Pentecost had fully come120 people were waiting in that room for the power of the Holy Ghost! All of a sudden they heard a sound come from heaven …like a rushing mighty wind …And that sound filled the whole room…the next thing they knew…. something appeared before them that looked like cloven tongues of fire …this same tongues of fire lit on each one of them…The next thing they knew…the Holy Ghost fire had set their souls on holy fire…..It was like fire…shut up in their bones…. The common denominator in all 3 cases is in every case in that fire was the presence…. of Almighty God….I’m so glad that when we are thrown in the fiery furnace of trials and tribulation, God will stand in the fire and shield us from hurt harm or danger… I heard the king say: I see the three men walking around in the fire, but wait a minute! I don’t see 3 men! I see 4 men walking around in the fire and the forth man is like the Son of God! Let me tell you! Let the lightning flash! Let the thunder roll! Let the waves beat up against the seas of life! All you got to do is hold on to God'’ unchanging hand and everything will be alright!
Conclusion: Who is that God: A "Deliverer and a Savior"
Once the king recognized the presence of the Son of God...he realized that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego were protected by their God and no hurt, harm or danger would come to them. He realized that their God is God over all gods, the Lord over all lords. and the KIng over all kings. Nebuchadnezzar called to them in the midst of the fiery furnace.."Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king's counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this." Finally, Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego again in the province of Babylon. What good news can we take from their experience?
What this really means is when you place your life in God's Holy and Protective hands, you can still praise him in the midst of all of your troubles, all of your trials even in the midst of all times of tribulations....The songwriter once said: "Time is filled with swift transition...None on earth can stand....Build your hopes on things eternal...hold to God's unchanging hand! Be not dismayed whatever betides....God will take care of you...Let me ask you: Do you know Him? Have you tried him? The Lord we serve will meet you in all of your fiery trials and make everything alright... Yes he will!
Who is that God that will deliver us …Well he is the lilly of the valley….He’s the bright and morning star…He’s a battleaxe in the time of war…He's a very present help in the time of trouble...He’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother…He is that bridge over troubled water…..he is the King of Kings and Lord of lords… He is the Rose of Sharon.. He is that God that God is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding Joy… he is that God that can do exceedingly and abundantly whatever we ask or think to ask… He is that God that so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son into the world that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He is Jesus …THE ONE who died on the cross to save you and me! …Yes…He died! Yes He did! He died until the earth started rocking and reeling! He died until the mountain skipped like lambs! He died until the sun refused to shine because the Son was dying! He died until the graves open up and all the dead saints got up and march in the streets of Jerusalem and staged a victory celebration praising God for their deliverance He died until the centurion gave a one- line eulogy; You want to know what he said? Surely this must have been the Son of God! Jesus stop dying long enough to open the doors of the church to let a wayward sinner in telling him that this day that he would be with Him in paradise! He died! They buried him in a borrowed tomb, but early, early on Sunday morning, He got up with all power in His Hands Power to deliver! Power to make your enemies leave you alone! Power to put food on the table, clothes on your back! I don't know how you feel about it all I can say to you is : All in His hands...I put it all in His hands...All of my troubles...my trials...without any questions....All in His hands... yes I put it all...I put it all in his hands...In His hands...IN HIS HANDS!
Dr. William Edward Boddie