26 Oct. Daniel 3:9-15,19-20,24-30

26 Oct. Daniel’s friends refuse to worship a gold statue

“King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue 30 metres high and 3 metres wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the area of Babylon… Then the man who made announcements for the king said, ‘People, nations and those of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: when you hear the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, zithers, harps, pipes and all the other musical instruments, you must bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up….”

“Then some Babylonians came up to the king and began speaking against the men of Judah. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Our king, live for ever! Our king, you gave a command that everyone who heard the horns, lyres, zithers, harps, pipes and all the other musical instruments would have to bow down and worship the gold statue. Anyone who wouldn’t do this was to be thrown into a blazing furnace.’”

“’Our king, there are some men of Judah whom you made officers in the area of Babylon that did not pay attention to your order. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They do not serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.’”

“Nebuchadnezzar became very angry and called for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When they were brought to the king … [he] said, ‘is it true that you do not serve my gods nor worship the gold statue I have set up?... If you bow down and worship the statue I made, that will be good. But if you do not worship it, you will immediately be thrown into the blazing furnace…”

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered the king saying, ‘Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, Our king…’”

“Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and he changed his mind. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace...”

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was so surprised that he jumped to his feet. He asked the men who advised him, ‘Didn’t we tie up only three men and throw them into the fire?’ They answered, ‘Yes, Our king.’ The king said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They are not tied up, and they are not burned. The fourth man looks like a son of the gods.’”

“Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!’ So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire…”

“Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire! These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god other than their own…’ Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the area of Babylon.”

           (Daniel 3:1,4-15,19-20,24-30)



Today’s passage is a long story, with a clear message.

Daniel’s fellow Jewish administrators - Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (known by their Babylonian names as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) - refused to worship the gold image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.

They were warned of the consequences of disobeying the king’s orders, but they refused to bow down and worship a gold statue of the king. Consequently, they were thrown into a blazing furnace, but were protected from injury by an angel sent by God.

King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed to see the men walking around in the blazing furnace, and set them free from the flames. The king acknowledged that the God who could save them from the heat of the furnace was truly amazing, and promised to protect the three men from any further persecution (see Daniel 3:29).

The photo shows a visualisation of ‘The Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace’, in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome (late 3rd or early 4th century AD).

You can read how Daniel was successful at interpreting dreams and riddles @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/34-exile-in-babylonia-amp-the-journey-back-to-jerusalem/daniel-interprets-dreams-and-riddles/

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