Sermon Notes and Pictures
But Even If He Doesn’t (Daniel 3:16-18)
– Book of Daniel takes place during the Babylonian exile, under king Nebuchadnezzar.
– This exile was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (25:9) for Israel’s consistent disobedience, and “not listening” and worshiping idols. The people broke covenant with God.
– The king took young men from the royal family and tried to “re-educate” them, essentially trying to take away their identity as God’s people.
– The king changed their names, changed the culture around them including their education, clothes, and food in an effort to have these “children of God” assimilate into the pagan culture, and compromise the relationship they had with God.
– King Nebuchadnezzar is temperamental and erratic (like a spoiler child), constant threats of murder to anyone who doesn’t do as he asks. This is his reputation. Do not cross him! Or disobey him!
– King Neb was going to have ALL the wise men in Babylon killed because they couldn’t tell him what his dream was AND meant. WHAT HE HAD DREAMED?! And what it means.
– The King created a giant gold statue, and “all races and nations and languages” must worship it or they will be thrown in the blazing furnace. (I can see parallels in our culture and times…)
Read Daniel 3:13-18
- We don’t need to defend ourselves before the world. (Verse 16)
– They willfully disobeyed the King. Not just an accidental omission, but an intentional choice.
– Verse 14, “Is it true” or “Was this action deliberate”? This is a statement of intent.
– They knew the risk, and the King’s reputation.
– What if the story had been, “So they just went along with it, as not to cause any trouble.”?
– We aren’t “really” worshiping the false god, we just don’t want to look different and draw attention to ourselves… just pretending to fit in.
– “Everybody does it, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just what people do…”
– Sometimes we weigh our “Christian virtue” against the pagan culture around us, instead of using God’s word to set the standard.
– “I’m doing a lot better than those other parents, co-workers, churches, Christians, etc…” “That’s just how everybody dresses, talks, acts, thinks…” “It’s not THAT bad…”
– Example: Father wearing “Boat Show” t-shirt at the girls’ volleyball game.
– James 1:21, So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
– The King found out about them because they were living their faith “out loud”.
– Sometimes we say that we keep our “personal” relationship with Jesus private, as to not force it onto others. You know, let our actions speak louder than our words…
– Really, we keep it quiet so we don’t have to be accountable, and defend our faith against the culture, or pay the consequences.
– Example: The new King made a rule that no one could worship anyone but him, but Daniel worshiped God anyway. (And they threw him to the lions because of it!)
– Daniel 6:10, But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
– Many “kings” have seen God deliver the Nation of Israel over the years, they all knew of His power, yet they kept persecuting His people.
– The non-believer is never going to understand the choices you make to serve God, so stop worrying about defending it before them.
– 1 Peter 2:17, Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
– They were very respectful when telling the king that they would not obey this rule.
– There is no mention of these men taking a stand like this over any of the other changes they had to make in their life ,in this new world. (Not for their pride, but for their God.)
– “Your Majesty, your Majesty…” ( “With all due respect…” )
1 Peter 2:15, It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
Psalm 43:1, Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars.
- God is able rescue us. He can, and He will.
– Verse 17, If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.
– God had already allowed Israel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to fall into exile and slavery, but they still remained obedient.
– God didn’t rescue them from the exile and slavery, yet they are confident that God will rescue them from the furnace. Why?
– They trusted in God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David? (Like we can today.) They didn’t give up on God because things were hard, and weren’t going their way.
– They know God can, and He will rescue His people, according to His great plan.
– The furnace:
– Probably a large brick firing kiln, used to make many bricks (stone was rare in the region)
– Usual temperature heated to over 1000 degrees C (1800 F) 7 times hotter would be like 12,000F! Was that even possible? Or does this just further highlight the extreme nature of the king?
– Example: FF in the structure fire, temp rating of gear, temp inside, flashover…
– The King removed every chance of survival:
– Seven times hotter, Guards even died just from getting too close, Tied up with no chance…
– But God DID save them, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke!
- Verse 18, But even if he doesn’t… !
– Their faith and actions were not based on what God could or would do for them.
– Why would they even mention “but if he doesn’t” if the faithful are always delivered? Maybe it doesn’t always look the way we think it will?
– Sometimes in our circumstances our faith is shaken when we perceive that “God didn’t deliver” us. It didn’t go the way we wanted, or had prayed for.
– 1 Peter 4:12-13, 12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
* It doesn’t show lack of faith that they would say this, it shows proper perspective, and submission. (If God wills, let it be so.)
– Willing to be martyred for their faith (not their pride!). Not presuming to move God’s hand, but accepting His way, trusting that He has a purpose.
– How can we hope to survive the “blazing furnaces” in our lives? The same way S, M, & A did:
– Daniel 3:25, “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” (Literally: “like a son of the gods”)
– Jesus was with them!
– Jesus didn’t take them out of the furnace, he set them free inside it, gave them peace, and walked with them through it.
– Don’t make your obedience conditional on God’s blessings. Understand that He will bless you for your obedience! (Don’t assimilate into this pagan culture!)
– But even if He doesn’t… Jesus will be with you in the fire, to bring you peace! – prayer –