Daniel 3:1-30 - Standing Firm In Worship
A. The Testing Of the Fire.
Last time we looked at Daniel and his three friends and we seen how they were taken from their homeland (being teen’s) and placed into a culture totally contrary to what they raised in.
1. They had been given news home, textbooks, education, a new diet, & received new names.
a) Even though they changed all these things, they could not change Daniels heart (1:8).
b) Daniel did not change his heart because he already had a purpose of heart and that was that “he would not defile himself,” Daniel had a Shameless courage to Stand Firm!
2. We looked at how a person’s lifelong, voluntary; self-denial is the ultimate act of devotion to God.
a) We have to make up our minds that we are going Stand Firm & set ourselves apart to God.
b) Daniel also persisted in doing what was right, and that led to God’s protection and blessings because of his uncompromising life.
3. The result of all this was that God honored Daniel for his faith and He raised up Daniel in the Babylonian Kingdom.
In the study today we see will see how they are confronted by a far more serious dilemma than the first one. Regarding diet, idolatry was a secondary issue; this time idolatry was the issue. These three young men (they are no longer teenagers by this time) knew that God’s law said idolatry was a sin:
The Lord said to the children of Israel, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them (Exodus 20:2-6)
The Lord says in Deuteronomy, Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them (Deuteronomy 4:15-19, NKJV)
1. Their Shameless Courage Was Challenged (3:1-7)
a) This all began with Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (2:1-13)
(1) Consulted & Sought God First & Foremost In This Matter (2:17-18)
This is why we are to Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Uzziah… sought God in the days of Zechariah… and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper" (2 Chronicles 26:3-5)
Jeremiah wrote Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3)
(a) God Showed Daniel Things He Did Not Know (v.19-23).
(b) Daniel Was Careful To Give God the Glory (2:28-30)
(c) The Result: Nebuchadnezzar Glorifies God & Daniel is Promoted (2:46-49)
2. Standing Firm In Worship (3:1-7)
a) The King made an image of Gold (v.1)… you shall fall down and worship the gold image (v.5)
(1) God Wants & Desires Our Worship: Because He Is Worthy And Wants To Transform Us
(a) Revelation 1:17; 4:1-11; 5:1-14; 7:11-12; 11:16; 19:4
There is victory in worship: "When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting" (2 Chronicles 20:21, NASB95)
(2) Satan Also Desires Our Worship: Because He Wants To Destroy Us, and worship is the easiest way to achieve that, because whatever you worship that is what you serve:
Paul wrote to the Romans saying Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16, NKJV)
(3) Satan Tempted Our Lord To Worship Him. And offered Him all the kingdoms of the world for one act of worship:
And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve (Matthew 4:9-10)
You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name." (Deuteronomy 10:20, NKJV)
The Chaldeans said of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego: these men… do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:12)
(4) Satan Wants To Be Worshipped, & To Be Like God (Isaiah 14:12-15)
(5) Satan’s Temptation On Adam & Eve Was Centered On Worship:
(a) Question God’s Word (“Has God indeed said…”Gen.3:1)
(b) Deny God’s Word (“You will not surely die…” Gen.3:3)
(c) Substitute his own promise (“You will be like God…” Gen.3:5)
(d) Adam and Eve exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…" (Romans 1:25, NIV)
(e) Today We Don’t Have Golden Idols; We Have “Rock Idols”. Nebuchadnezzar allowed people to worship their god’s, but said, “You must worship my god as well”.
b) Idolatry Is Much More Than Bowing Down Or Burning Incense To A Physical Image.
(1) An Idol Has No Real Existence (1 Corinthians 8:4) – The stone, precious metal, or wood is real, but there is no god behind it, it only reflects the imagination of the one who designed it, or the impersonation of the demon who deceives through it (10:20).
(2) Idolatry Is Having Any False God—any object, idea, philosophy habit, occupation, sport, or whatever that has one’s primary concern and loyalty or that to any degree decreases your trust in and loyalty to the Lord.
There is no other God but the God of the Bible, and He is a jealous God who will not tolerate the worship of another. In Isaiah 48:11, God says: “My glory will I not give to another.” Exodus 34:14 says, “You shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Anything that takes our first loyalty and allegiance is an idol. The sin of idolatry, like every other sin, is of the heart. As God told Ezekiel about the elders of Israel, “These men have set up their idols in their hearts, and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity” (Ezek. 14:3).
3. Standing Firm In Peer Pressure (3:8-18)
a) There are certain Jews… who do not pay regard to you… nor serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up (v.12).
(1) Nebuchadnezzar Has Them Brought Before Him (v.13-15)
b) And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands (v.15)?
This is similar to the words of Pharaoh, "And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go" (Exodus 5:2)
c) We will not answer you in this matter… Our God is able to deliver us (v.16-17)
David said concerning Goliath, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37)
David said in the face of Goliath, "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel." (1 Samuel 17:46)
Paul said concerning the Lord, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me… & was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." (2 Timothy 4:17)
God is for us, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)
Paul said in Romans that Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised." (Romans 4:20-21, NLT)
d) But if not, let it be known to you [I am not ashamed], we do not serve your gods, nor worship the gold image (v.18)
(1) Resisting Peer Pressure—their standard of loyalty and love for the Lord was so high that they were able to Stand Firm in the midst of a huge crowd of whom all were bowing down to the golden image.
Jesus said, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do… Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him…! Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God." (Luke 12:3-9, NKJV)
Romans 13 tells believers to obey rulers and laws but not at the expense of disobeying God’s Word, We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29, NKJV)
(2) Their Standard Of Resisting Peer Pressure Was Based On God’s Word About Purity::
The Psalmist said, Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11)
They were like Joseph in the midst of temptation, How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"(Genesis 39:9, NKJV)
(3) What Happened To Their Bodies Wasn’t Important, Because They Knew That:
As the Psalmist said, Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases." (Psalm 115:3, NKJV)
Job himself had tremendous faith in God: Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15).
4. Standing Firm In Persecution (3:19-30)
a) Nebuchadnezzar commanded the furnace to be heated seven times hotter (v.19-23)
(1) The Promise Of Persecution (3:19-23).
(a) Expect The Furnace Of Persecution To Get Hotter If You Are Wholly Dedicated To Christ.
Peter wrote, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;" (1 Peter 4:12, NKJV)
To suffer for Christ is actually a gift from God, Paul said For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake," (Philippians 1:29, NKJV)
Jesus said If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." (John 15:18-20, NKJV)
(b) They Were Bound And Cast Into The Fiery Furnace for righteousness sake (v.20-23)
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake." Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV)
Peter Goes on to say, But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." (1 Peter 4:15-16, NKJV)
b) The king was astonished… & saw four men walking in the midst of the fire not hurt (v.24-25)
(1) The Promise of Protection (3:24-25).
(a) God May Not Keep Us Out Of The Furnace, But He Will Go With Us Through It.
Isaiah wrote, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." (Isaiah 43:2, NKJV)
I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6, NKJV)
And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage… do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." (1 Chronicles 28:20, NKJV)
(2) The King Saw Four Men “Loose”—And One Of Them Was Jesus Christ
The Lord said that For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”" (Matthew 18:20, NKJV)
After His resurrection, His disciples were meeting behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”" (John 20:19, NKJV)
c) They came from the midst of the fire (v.26)… on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed (v.27).
Because Of Their Faith, They Were Able To quench the power of fire… for without faith it is impossible to please God.
Jesus Said To His Disciples, you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost (Luke 21:17-19, NKJV).
d) God delivered His servants who trusted in Him (v.28)… who yielded their bodies that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God (v.28)!
(1) The Promise Of Promotion (3:26-30).
(a) The Fire Set Them Free From Their Bonds: just as suffering for Christ today gives us joyful liberty from sin and the world.
Paul wrote saying Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NKJV)
Peter said, I… am a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:" (1 Peter 5:1, NKJV)
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:16-18, NKJV)
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:10-11, NKJV)
(2) The Expression “yielded up their bodies” Is Important.
(a) Especially Since It Was Uttered By A Pagan King, Of What The Apostle Paul Said In Romans 12:1–2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
e) The Conclusion of the Matter:
(1) The superior conduct of Daniel’s three companions in the midst of the most challenging of circumstances is again extraordinary testimony to the value of personal integrity based on god’s principles.
(2) Such strength of character can carry us through all of life’s ups and downs, especially when we know God will be pleased with our response:
For all his laws are constantly before me; I have never abandoned his principles. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right, because of the innocence of my hands in his sight" (Psalm 18:22-24, NLT)