“LET’S TALK TO SHADRACH, MESHACH, & ABEDNEGO” – Daniel 3
CWBC – 6/3/17
INTRO – (10 mins) – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are together to worship the Lord Jesus today!
We are starting a new series today entitled, “Man Cave Conversations.” Most of us know what a man-cave is. It’s a room or a place that dedicated to all things masculine. It could be at your home, or it may be your deer camp. It is usually outfitted with the finest recliner money can buy & the finest TV money can buy. The sound system is usually ready to play some 70’s rock & roll, or some Willie Nelson & Hank Williams, Jr., depending on your taste in music. The walls are normally adorned w/ deer heads, large-mouth bass, & maybe a mallard duck. There will usually also be décor in the room that will let a visitor know which sports team is regularly watched on the big screen TV. There may also be pictures of classic sports cars – depending on whether you are a Mopar man, or a Chevy man, or a Ford man, you may have a pic of a 69 Dodge Charger on the wall, or a 68 Corvette, or the 68 Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. There may be some military memorabilia in the man-cave. There may be a pool table in there, along w/ a refrigerator to keep the drinks cold, & its own AC system so you can keep it as cold as you want to without having to hear someone complain about it.
And inside the man-cave, the conversations that happen are directed toward subjects & issues that directly affect a man’s life, ranging from sports teams to hunting to work to hobbies to kids to wives, & maybe even the Lord. So today, we start our “Man Cave Conversations” for the next 4 weeks.
When was the last time you took a stand on something that you felt strongly about? Here’s a video of someone who did just that – Kelvin Cochran, fire chief of Atlanta FD, who was fired for publishing a Christian Bible study book that gave support to the biblical definition of marriage (between a man & a woman).
Cochran’s termination went to a US District Court where it was upheld as the Judge ruled that b/c of Cochran’s position as fire chief, his views might cause “public erosion of trust in the fire department.”
Sometimes, our taking a stand will cause us to suffer, or cause others to suffer. We have to decide if it’s worth it. Are we willing to bear the pain of our decision to take a stand for what we believe?
Right now, there’s another case that the US Supreme Court will rule on that involves a bakery owner in Colorado who refused to design a wedding cake for a gay couple’s wedding. Jack Phillips, the owner of the bakery, is a devout Christian & took a stand on his faith & on biblical principles. And that stand has gone all the way to the US Supreme Court now. That upcoming decision will have ripple effects throughout all of our society.
The Bible is full of men & women who took a stand for the Lord when it was necessary. 3 young men in the Old Testament did just that – Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego.
In 1973, kids’ musical came out – “It’s Cool In the Furnace.” We sang it when I was in children’s choir at IBC. Still remember some of the words to the songs.
“Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, lived in Judah a long time ago. They had funny names & the lived far away, but they set an example we can follow today.”
Even though this story has been portrayed in a children’s musical, we must not see in a childish way. One commentator said this about this biblical story: “…many of us have heard this story so often in Sunday School that we may have lumped Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
My goal is to challenge your childhood perception of this favorite and familiar story. We must see this event as history, not fairy tale. We must feel the heat of that fire and smell the smoke of that ancient furnace.” (Bob Deffinbaugh, https://bible.org/seriespage/4-faith-and-furnace-daniel-31-30)
Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Daniel 3.
Daniel 3 (ESV)
Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image
3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits[a]and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The Fiery Furnace
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared[b] to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.
EXPLANATION – Not unusual for ancient kings to set up statues as Nebuchadnezzar did here. This one was massive – 90 feet tall (9-story building). We don’t really know whether it was a statue or “image” of himself, or of a pagan deity, or something else. All we know is that it was a massive statue, overlaid w/ gold, set up by Nebuchadnezzar. The king’s edict commanded that this statue was to be worshiped by all the people at a prescribed time when the music began to play. The edict also prescribed the awful punishment to be carried out against anyone who did not bow down & worship this statue: they were to be thrown into a fiery furnace & burned alive. Some commentators say that this furnace, a smelting furnace used for the gold for the statue, would have had a temperature of approx. 1800 degrees. It probably would have been right there close to the statue so all the people could see its blazing flames & smell the smoke billowing from it as a stark reminder of what would happen to them if they did not obey the king’s orders.
But there were 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego, who did not obey the king, did not bow down to the statue, & did not participate in the idolatrous time of worship. And true to his word, Nebuchadnezzar brought them in, confirmed that the charges were true, &, in an out-of-control fit of rage, threw these guys into the furnace (which had been heated 7 times as hot as normal – so hot, that it killed the soldiers who escorted S, M, & A to the furnace).
There’s one simple application point I want to make based on this story:
Don’t bow down, bro!
Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego show us that, if you are going to be a real man of God, you can’t bow down when it comes to your faith & the things of God.
Idol worship was not an option for them, & it’s not an option for you.
We don’t bow down to statues overlaid w/ gold, but so many of us bow down to other idols in our lives – our possessions, our pleasures, our work, our wealth, our hidden sins, our health & fitness.
We worship whatever we give our mind’s attention & heart’s affection. Only Jesus can occupy the throne of our heart!
There was a high price for them to pay, & there’s going to be a price for you to pay.
v.15 – Nebuchadnezzar told them bluntly & plainly that they would pay with their lives if they did not bow down.
- Kelvin Cochran lost his job as Atlanta fire chief.
- Jack Phillips lost most of his business & revenue at his bakery.
Are you & I willing to pay the price for not bowing down. Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”
Their God came through for them, & your God will come through for you! Why? BECAUSE HE’S THE SAME GOD!
v. 24-25 – Nebuchadnezzar saw 4 men walking around in the fire, & the 4th one looked like “a son of the gods.” KJV says the 4th man looked like “the Son of God.” Why did the man look like the Son of God? BECAUSE IT WAS THE SON OF GOD! Jesus came to them in the fire.
Isaiah 43:2 – “…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…for I am the Lord , your God, the Holy One of Israel, your SAVIOR.” JESUS comes to us in the fires of adversity in our lives & walks with us!
The greatest man who has ever lived, paid the highest price that has ever been paid, when He took the strongest stand that’s ever been taken, to show the greatest love that has ever been shown – JESUS!
So….DON’T BOW DOWN, BRO!