“Wonderful is the work which the Lord designs to accomplish through His church, that His name may be glorified. . . . From the beginning God has wrought through His people to bring blessing to the world. To the ancient Egyptian nation God made Joseph a fountain of life. Through the integrity of Joseph the life of that whole people was preserved. Through Daniel God saved the life of all the wise men of Babylon. And these deliverances are as object lessons; they illustrate the spiritual blessings offered to the world through connection with the God whom Joseph and Daniel worshiped.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 13
We have seen in previous articles how the Lord turned defeat into victory, in Daniel chapter one. Then in Daniel chapter two we read how the mighty God revealed the future to His people, helping them to get ready for His soon return. The kingdoms of this earth will soon come to an end and God’s kingdom will be set up for eternity. Daniel chapter three is about false worship and its enforcement upon those who diligently obey God’s voice and worship the Creator. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is a story we all know well. These three Hebrews were cast into the fiery furnace and came out alive. It is indeed a very well-known story in the Bible and when we read it again and again our faith grows as we become more acquainted with the Saviour who saved these three men.
In this article we will learn how a complete surrender to God will bring victory in our trials. The same God that saved the life of these three young, brave, and faithful Hebrews will save our life in the time of trouble that is coming soon. The promises in the Bible are for you if you believe them and take God’s word just as it reads in its simplicity, applying its teachings to your personal life and talking about the blessings you received from other people.
The heart of God is filled with love for you and me, and our eternal destiny hinges upon the choices we make in this life. God’s love is revealed in a gentle pleading to our heart, but it is also revealed in solemn warnings. A loving, compassionate God reaches out to us daily. He is coming again for us and will put an end to sickness, disease, sorrow, hunger, pain, and death. However, a crucial test is coming; the conflict will revolve around true and false worship. The central issue is God’s eternal law.
I cannot write about Daniel 3 without reminding you about Revelation 13 where the plans of God are revealed, and the delusions of the enemy are unmasked. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.” Revelation 13:12. In the Bible, a beast represents a kingdom. “And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast.” Here you have the beast—a powerful kingdom (the United States of America)—causing the earth to worship the first beast (the Papacy). In Daniel 3 there is compelled worship; in Revelation 13, there is compelled worship. In Daniel 3, there is a universal decree; in Revelation 13, there is a universal decree.
Every person has a choice to make who they will worship. The Creator or the Beast. I hope you
make the right choice in this life and worship the Creator. It is our faith that brings us victory, trusting God and His eternal word. There was trouble in Daniel’s day, and there will be trouble in the end times also. Once again, a powerful world ruler will pass a universal decree uniting church and state. First will come an economic crisis. Revelation 13 says that nobody can buy or sell unless he has the mark of the image of the beast. There will be a counterfeit image, a counterfeit sign or mark of the beast’s authority. The golden image on the plains of the Dura was a sign of the authority of Babylon, and worship of that image represented worship of Babylon. So also, there will be a sign, or mark, or symbol of the authority of Babylon that is connected to a state power. This will happen right at the time of the end. Those who do not go along with this church-state union, choosing to remain loyal and faithful to God, must have a faith that will face death and they must have unswerving loyalty to God. This is a faith similar to that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
In this chapter we read that Daniel’s three friends were faithful while facing death, but nothing is said about Daniel who wrote the story. The events of Daniel 3 occurred several years after those of chapter 2, when Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image and the king acknowledged Daniel’s God as a God of gods. Although chapter 2 ends with Nebuchadnezzar apparently beginning to follow the true God, chapter 3 provides evidence that he has not given up his false gods. Nebuchadnezzar, like many of us, had not given up his former idols, yet we see how patiently God bore with Nebuchadnezzar, until he finally submitted to the true God.
These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, took a strong stand for what was right. In Daniel 3:1 we read how Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits (about 90 feet), and the breadth thereof six cubit (about 9 feet): he set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Why would Nebuchadnezzar make an image of gold and put it in a place that everybody will see? What was behind that symbol? And why would the king invite the people of importance in the kingdom?
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, 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. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:2–6
Here we see the dedication of this image where Nebuchadnezzar commands all of his top officials in the empire to come fall down and worship the image. Notice here: A powerful world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, passes a universal decree of forced obedience: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages.” All are compelled to worship, and the central issue is worship. For the three Hebrews, this counterfeit image stands in direct opposition to the truth of God. This is a great time of trouble, greater than any they have ever experienced, because their lives are at stake. But these three Hebrews, as we shall see, have a very strong faith and they experience a miraculous deliverance.
Think about that in the context of worship. If we believe that all the commandments of God are important, we will take an example from them. While all are important, we will choose one of them as an example here. We will choose the fourth commandment. If you believe that the seventh-day Sabbath is still important to God and His people, but if everyone else is believing and teaching that it does not matter which day is the Sabbath, that God really does not care, and if you just remain eloquently silent, saying nothing, this is, in reality, a violation of your conscience. It does not make God happy. If we know what is right and do nothing about it, it brings us right under the shadow of sin.
“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.” Daniel 3:7
Those who failed to worship the image were to be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. That was a death decree. “Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 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? Now if ye be ready 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?” Verses 13–15
Nebuchadnezzar then said he would give them another chance. He gave them a chance once, and now he was willing to give them a second chance. When the music began, they would be expected to be bowing down this time. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter.” Verse 16. Some decisions in life must be settled in your mind before you are required to act. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego went as far as they could. They went to the dedication. But they had decided before the event even happened that they were not going to yield from their conscientious convictions. They would be loyal to God. So they said to the King that they do not need to talk about it. He would not have to give them time to think, as they had already thought about it and made up their minds. If it were not for those three young and brave men there, I would not have written this message today. Have you ever felt like compromising? Compromising your faith? If my life were in peril, I would hope before God that I would take a firm stand for the truth and nothing but the truth. It would have been so easy for those men to have compromised.
Let us think for a moment. The more truth that a person understands, and the greater his convictions, the more responsible he is before God. The trial of these three young men will soon be our trial, and what will be the outcome if we do not have a genuine faith in Christ? Some people have the idea that with faith, if you pray, you will never get sick, you will never be in debt, or you will never get discouraged. Their whole idea is that faith is like a little cloud that you sit on and ask God for whatever you want. But that is not the case. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego recognized that their faithfulness to God might lead them into the burning, fiery furnace. Faith does not deliver from the fire; it takes you through the fire. It is a strong belief in God, whether things go bad or good.
These three young and faithful Hebrews gave us a wonderful example of what faith means. They were committed to serving God, regardless of the consequences. May our faith be like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, so that we are committed to serving the Lord and demonstrating faith in the face of fire and death. Let us never forget when this happens, and you go through the flames of life, God is there. Jesus has a wonderful plan for us. When the time of trouble for you is not in the future but it is today, He is there. When you get a routine physical and discover that you have terminal cancer; when you are going through the flames of your life, and it seems that you are going to be consumed with discouragement and depression, look through your tears; because in the flames of your life, He is there. In the heartache of your life, He is there. In the disappointment of your life, He is there. What a great and mighty God we have my dear brothers, sisters, and friends.
Are you going through some flames in your life today? Are you going through some sorrow in your life? Are you going through some heartache or disappointment in your life? Let us never forget, when this happens and you go through the flames of life, God is there. Jesus has such a wonderful plan for us. He wants you to develop a loving, trusting, confident, obedient relationship with Him and He wants to help you with it. We cannot have this relationship unless He dwells in the heart. The first place to begin is to invite Him to come into your heart. And then as He comes into your heart, you begin to spend time with Him, in His Word, in prayer and with His people. I want to be ready for Jesus’ coming. I wish all of you would be ready for His coming. And we can be if we let the Savior enter our heart right now.