Daniel 3:1-30 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The God of Daniel's Three Friends
Comments for Study 3

Daniel 3:1-30
Memory Verse: 3:17-18

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I. The Dedication of an Image of Gold (1-18)

>1. Describe the image King Nebuchadnezzar made. (1-2)

* Daniel 3:1-2 "King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up."

* A couple of years passed since the events in chapter 2. It probably took a couple of years to build the statue.

* "an image of gold" -The image was probably not solid gold. Statues of the era were often covered with gold plates.

* "ninety feet high and nine feet wide" -The statue was nine stories tall and very narrow, perhaps like an obelisk. It was a little taller than the date-palms that still grow in the area.

* "plain of Dura" -"Dura" means "walled place" or "walled enclosure" and is an abbreviation of a longer name compounded with Dura. It would have been within a short distance of Babylon. The statue was put on a plain so it could be seen from a far away distance. Dura is a common noun.

Euphrates plain as seen from the Dura Europos

* The picture to the right is the Euphrates River plain as seen from the Dura-Europos on the eastern Syria border. A gold statue is added to help picture what it might have looked like.

>Where had the idea probably come from?

* From the dream that God had given him. (See chapter 2.)

>What was his purpose in doing this? (2:31, 38)

* Daniel 2:31 "'You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue--an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.'"

* Daniel 3:38 "'in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.'"

* The dream went to Nebuchadnezzar's head. He only heard what pertained to him and ignored the rest. Man's pride distorts what God reveals. However, God was not done working with the king. The king tried to change the vision's meaning, but God used Daniel to record the truth.

* "Nebu" the first part of his name was the name of a Babylonian God. His name meaning, "Nabu, protect my soul." Perhaps the king began to believe that the Babylonian god gave him the dream, so he honored the dream and the God of his namesake.

* The size of the statue and the nature of his command shows that the statue was bragging about a perceived special place with God.

* Bragging about anything is not right in God's eyes for when we come into the light of Jesus "it may be seen plainly that what we have done has been done through God." (John 3:21)

* The king did not learn the meaning of the dream. God is in control of all history and the kingdoms of men.

* People often hear the word of God, but it does not change them. Jesus' parable of the seeds gives examples of this. The older a person gets the more they need to hear the gospel before they accept it. The king was middle aged and needed to hear the word of God and experience his work personally before he would repent.

* Jesus often repeated his teachings until the disciples finally understood them.

>Can you think of others who had done something similar? (1 Samuel 15:12; and 2 Samuel 18:18)

* 1 Samuel 15:12 "Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."

* 2 Samuel 18:18 "During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, 'I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.' He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day."

* Absalom was one of the sons of David. Throughout his life he did many things similar to Nebuchadnezzar. He killed his half-brother because he raped his full-sister. (2 Samuel 13:28-29) He fed his ego by providing for himself with a chariot and horses and fifty men to run ahead of him. (2 Samuel 15:1) He undermined his father's authority. (2 Samuel 15:2-6) He bribed men to make him king. He rebelled against David and drove David out of Jerusalem. While being chased on horseback in battle against David, Absalom's hair became entangled in a tree and he was killed.

* Saul disobeyed God and never truly repented. He feared people more than God. He did anything to hold onto power. During battle Saul committed suicide rather than be killed by the enemy.

* Men who idolize themselves end up bad.

>What kind of men were they?

* Egomaniacs are proud, self-righteous, self centered and have no fear of God. They are empty and insecure. They are more concerned about people's opinion of them than doing the right thing and loving others.

* Many today, even amongst people who confess Jesus as their Savior and Lord display the mindset of an egomaniac like Nebuchadnezzar.

>2. Describe the impressive dedication ceremony of the image. Who came?

* Daniel 3:2-3 ""He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it."

* "satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials" -These were just the government officials. The list does not included the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers of which Daniel was over. (Daniel 2:48-49) It also explains why Daniel's friends; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were required to attend because they worked in the government.

* All government stopped for this event.

>What were they commanded to do?

* Daniel 3:4-5 "Then the herald loudly proclaimed, 'This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.'"

* "you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up" -Daniel never called it an idol in this chapter. However, Nebuchadnezzar treated it like an idol. People bowed down to it out of fear. Since it was just made how could anyone believe it was a god. Some believe that Nebuchadnezzar was trying to establish a national religion since all the government officials were required to attend and bow down.

>What was the signal?

* Music was the signal to bow down. Having all people bow down at once made it easy to see who was obeying and who was not.

* The words for "zither," "harp" and "pipes" are the only Greek loan-words in Daniel. Knowing exactly what these instruments are has been proven hard to do.

etruscan lyre 1 temple

* See a picture of an etruscan lyre from the first temple to the right. This woodcut portrays an Etruscan lyre dating from the First Temple period. It has what appears to be sound holes and a floating bridge like that of a violin (rather than a fixed bridge), both of which would have improved the sound quality. Again, in this respect this lyre is similar to some (but not all) lyres we find in ancient Egypt. (from rakkav.com/biblemusic/pages/instruments.htm)

>What was the punishment for disobedience?

* Daniel 3:6 "'Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.'"

* The king's way of firing people.

* Again Nebuchadnezzar shows no respect for people's lives.

* He had the furnace already created.

>What happened? (7)

* Daniel 3:7 "Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up."

* "as soon as" -These people either didn't know or didn't care to obey the first commandment, "Worship the Lord you God alone."

* The Kingdom of God is not like this. We worship freely. We are not forced to worship. God does not expect or want forced worship. If a person doesn't want to worship God that is there choice and eventually they will be place in a place all by themselves without God's presence for eternity regretting in anguish the decision they made while in this world.

* Romans 1:18-25 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen."

>3. Why could God's people--including Daniel's three friends--not obey this command? (Exodus 20:4-5)

* Their faith caused them to to obey God's command over the threat of a painful death. They feared God more than men, even a man of great power and rage. Their faith caused them to overcome pier pressure.

* These three could have rationalized and said, "Well, we'll do as he says because in our hearts we know that this is just a statue and not the real god. God will understand."

* They had a firm understanding and belief in the basic commands of God. Their love for God would not allow them to do such a thing.

* Exodus 20:4-5 "'You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,"

* Luke 12:4-10 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

>What was the report of certain astrologers?

* Daniel 3:8 "At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews."

* "some astrologers" -Astrologers could also be translated "Chaldeans".

* Their actions is a form of persecution.

* "and denounced the Jews" -Daniel's three friends were either the only Jews who did not bow, the only Jews present, or the ones singled out by the Gentiles. Daniel is not mentioned in this chapter either because he was either not invited, sick, or not singled out by the Gentiles. The first is probably the case as I mentioned earlier.

* "Jew" -Jew in Hebrew is "yehudi" and "yehudim". The word "Jew" first appears in the Bible from a chronological point of view in Jeremiah in 32:12 and Daniel 3:8 and 12. Jeremiah also used the word in 34:9, 38:19, 40:11, 15, 41:3, 9, 44:1, 26-28, 44:27-28, and 30. Chronologically after Jeremiah and Daniel used the word "Jew" it is used a lot in Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the New Testament (mostly by John and Paul). The word Jew is derived ultimately from the tribe of Judah through Middle English Iewe, Old French Ieu, Latin Iudaeus, and Greek Ioudaios (the woman’s name Judith originally meant “Jewess”). Though most believe the word refers to descendants of Judah, in fact the Bible calls other Israelites Jews too. The Bible authors call anyone who lived in Judah's territory (which included other tribes' territories) during the fall of Jerusalem and after a Jew. For example Mordecai, a Benjamite is called a “Jew” in Esther 2:5 (while he was in Babylon). In the New testament Paul, a Benjamite called himself a Jew though born in Tarsus (Acts 21:39, 22:3; Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:4-5) and the prophetess Anna was of the tribe Asher, also a Jew (Luke 2:36-38). Extra Bible authors also used the term. The Greek name Ioudaios (plural Ioudaioi) was used for the Israelites in the Greek and Roman world. This is the name used in the treaty between Judas Maccabeus and the Romans, described in 1 Maccabees 8:23-32: “May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews...”"

>What was their intent? (9-12)

* Daniel 3:9-12 "They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, 'O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon--Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego--who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.'"

* They wanted to get their jobs. Human nature is to advance at the cost of others; walking over others.

* Only a few years before this the Jews were conquered. Now some had places of power and authority.

>What kind of men were they?

* They were opportunists; full of the spirit of meanness, ugliness, ruthlessness, jealousy, and selfishness.

* This life style is common in political and office arenas. It can even been seen in religious circles and other social groups. The apostles were also like this before his crucifixion. Jesus often corrected them. Luke 22:24-30 states, "Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

* Daniel saved many Gentiles only a few years earlier. These men should have been thankful. While in this world often a good deed is forgotten and/or never repaid. Yet Jesus promises that all act of faith, hope, and love will be rewarded in the next life.

>4. How did King Nebuchadnezzar react?

* Daniel 3:13 "Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,"

* "Furious with rage" -As pointed out before, Nebuchadnezzar had a quick temper when he was belittled.

* Quick anger show a lack of self control even to the point of demon possession.

* A quick anger is often the result of pride and self righteousness.

* Later Nebuchadnezzar said, "I have set up" and "rescue you from my hand" showing his pride.

>What did he know about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?

* They were friends of Daniel. Daniel had requested that they have high positions. (Daniel 2:49)

* They had done a good job until now. The dietary request had made then look and act better before him. (Daniel 1)

>What was his attitude toward them? (13-15)

* Daniel 3:13-15 "Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, 'Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?'"

* "if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good" -After his initial anger he was nice enough to give them a second chance. Considering his standard mode of governing, he was being extra generous. This was the pinnacle of his kindness.

>How did he warn (test) them?

* Daniel 3:15 "'Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?'"

* He tested their loyalty to him. Insecure leaders are prone to this. True leaders test themselves not those they lead for a true leader leads by example, self sacrifice, and self discipline. Consider how Jesus leads his people.

* "Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" -By this statement he was making himself their god, even better than their God.

* Obeying such commands goes beyond respect for one's elder and leader. I've heard a religious leader a long time ago imply, "Obey me or suffer the consequences." Beware when sinful man threatens punishment if you disobey them.

>Read verses 16-18. How did Daniel's 3 friends defend themselves?

* Daniel 3:16-18 "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'"

* They would not defend themselves for God would defend.

* They proclaimed God to him.

* The Jews has only a few years earlier been taken captive by this man's armies. Their words show that they must have accepted his victories over their people as punishment from God for not obeying the Lord's commandments according the the covenant they had with him. They knew that their people were not protected before because of their sin (violations of the covenant). However, now these three believed that God would protect them. They had repented and made a new commitment to serve God and obey his commands.

>What did they believe about God? (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 15:2; Romans 8:28, 38-39)

* Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

* Exodus 15:2 "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."

* Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

* Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

* Believe in the power, goodness, sovereignty and love of God.

* God will save those who fear and love him.

* Their words show resurrection faith.

> What was the firm resolution which they made regardless of the consequences?

* They would not bow down to the image of gold. (18) They did not know that God would save them now or if they would die. Their faith is similar to Abraham for when he was about to sacrifice his son at the Lord's command he believe that God could raise the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

* Non-evidential faith is similar to the Gentile commander who came to Jesus and stated, "Just say the word and my servant will be healed." (Matt. 8:8)

* They knew that they were doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Believers in Jesus are to do the right thing no matter what.

* A follower of Jesus thinks in terms of eternal cause and effect, not momentary cause and effect.

* The social conscience is seldom if ever right. Jesus said that there is a narrow way that leads to life and a broad way that leads to destruction. The width difference is due to the amount of traffic.

* As we get closer and closer to Jesus second coming the pressure to conform to the broad way will grow. As C.S. Lewis stated, "Things are coming to a point," meaning the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous is growing more and more pronounced.

>How could they refuse to obey the king? (John 14:21; Hebrews 11:36-38)

* John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

* Hebrews 11:36-38 "Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned < Some early manuscripts stoned; they were put to the test;>; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

* They accepted God's sovereignty.

* They were fighting for the purity of their personal faith.

* This was their hardship for the gospel. It was more than most, but all will receive hardship for the gospel.

II. Daniel's Friends Thrown into the Fire (19-30)

>6. How did Nebuchadnezzar's attitude toward the three change? Why was he so angry?

* Daniel 3:19 "Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual."

* Nebuchadnezzar was furious and personally offended because they blatantly decided not to do what he commanded in front of all those he was king over. A public death was needed to keep his control and power. This shows Nebuchadnezzar's insecurity and complete lack of faith in the true God even though he had seen God's power a year or two before this through his dream. To Nebuchadnezzar religion was a means to gain and maintain power and authority.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in furnace

See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>In his anger, what did he order to be done?

* Daniel 3:19-21 "He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace."

* His actions was totally unreasonable because as chapter 1 states they were the best of the recruits.

>What shows the urgency and lack of reason in his anger? (22-23)

* Daniel 3:22-25 "The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

* "seven times hotter than usual" -Why seven times hotter? People can only burn once. The statement was a common meaning, "the most" or "completely".

* "the strongest soldiers in his army" -Why the strongest soldiers? Why tie up if they were the strongest soldiers? Clearly the king wasn't thinking clearly. Self centered anger momentarily robs a person of clear thinking and sanity. Anyone can have self centered anger.

* "the flames of the fire killed the soldiers" -The soldiers death shows that it was hot enough to kill.

* Galatians 5:22-25 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

* 2 Timothy 3:1-5 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

>7. Read verses 24-25. What did Nebuchadnezzar see that shocked him and brought him to his senses?

* Daniel 3:24-25 "Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

* "leaped to his feet in amazement" -This shows he did not believe in their God, even after Daniel's amazing interpretation and witness to him.

* The ropes were burned off.

* The king addressed others not only because he didn't believe what he saw, but because he wanted to make sure that they were witness to the fourth man and them dancing around with him.

>What does this mean?

* "the fourth looks like a son of the gods" -God was in there with them. This is a pre-Messianic appearance of Jesus, God in the flesh. One of Abraham's three visitors was also an appearance of Jesus. Moses saw his back. Ezekiel, who became a exile around this time would see him too.

* God is with us when we suffer because he loves us. He blesses our lives of faith and obedience.

* When we make and keep a decision of faith and suffer because of that decision we will meet Jesus. Stephen, when stoned because of his witness saw Jesus seated at the right hand of God. (Acts 6:5-8:2)

* They were rejoicing with Jesus.

* Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

* Those who follow Jesus have a God who is with them.

>8. What did Nebuchadnezzar do?

* Daniel 3:26 "Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,"

* "servants of the Most High God" -Nebuchadnezzar was beginning to understand just who the God of Israel and Judah was, especially compared to his god.

>What amazing thing did he and all of his officials discover when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out?

* Daniel 3:27 "and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them."

* Their faith and God's deliverance became a witness to all the people there.

* Why does God save some and not others? It depends on the situation and the point God wants to make; that is, his purpose. How does God want to display his glory? A good example is when God allowed Jesus to die a vicious death only to be raised up from the dead on the their day.

* Our attitude should be to bring glory and honor to God no matter what we go through.

* Our faith can be purified with fire.

* God will test his people faith. Not that the doesn't know, but that we don't know and it helps increase our faith in him when we pass the test. Job 23:10 states, "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

>Who is the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?

* The Most High God of heaven. There is only one God and he is the Lord.

>9. What did the king say and do? (28-30)

* Daniel 3:28-30 "Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon."

* Once again Nebuchadnezzar thought that what he was doing was good and right. Again he missed the mark.

* If he was humble he would have asked the three men what he should do.

>What keeps his confession and proclamation from being personal?

* He commanded everyone to worship, but made no personal acceptance.

* He did not repent in any way. He didn't even have remorse for the men who died. He made no personal decision of faith.

* People in high positions don't repent easily due to fear of others, greed, fear of condemnation, and pride.

* What is needed for true conversion:
    1) acknowledge one's sins,
    2) acknowledge one's helplessness to save oneself,
    3) acknowledge only God can save,
    4) ask God to save,
    5) repent of one's life of sin and start doing what is right and good.

>Why did he not acknowledge God as his personal God?

* He was to proud. He wanted to save face.

* Even though one may say and do things for God, it does not mean that we will go to heaven. We are only saved by faith. Faith expresses itself in a public confession of belief.

* He had more fear of losing his power and dignity than the God he just saw save three men from his anger.

* To proud mankind God continually reveals himself and his power to save.

* God giving continual revelations shows his love for sinful and prideful people. But if there is no true repentance God will eventually turn them over to their sinful pride and eventually leave them forever which is hell.

>What difference does this make?

* Galatians 3:18-20 "For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one."

* A person can talk a good sounding talk, but if it doesn't come from the heart and truth that person is not saved. Jesus said, "But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:26-27)

>10. What can we learn from this event about the difference between miserable worldly men who love themselves and men who love God?

* Worldly -empty, outwardly they may look good and glorify themselves, but inside they are empty and fearful.

* men of God -they have life, they live by faith, they are saved by God, they knew God and he knows them, they may suffer but are not empty, they make a stand for their God.

>Who are they true history makers?

* Those who keep faith and keep God's worlds in all circumstances.

* They don't make monuments to themselves.

* No matter what the consequence do what is right by faith.

* 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything."

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