After a short break of a few days we return to “Dare to be a Daniel.” At present things are working well for Daniel and his three friends. The king is happy and they are seemingly doing well … yet the enemy lurks all the time.
Although the understanding and feeling differs greatly about the eToll system in Gauteng, I feel it is right for Christians to pay for the usage as it is lawful to do so. Defiance is rejecting God’s Word by not submitting to the government, praying for them and paying taxes. Today the leader of the main lobby group admitted the system was legal … yet in every other breath he wants it to fail and cease. When asked whether, in the face of eTolls being cancelled in Gauteng, would the government refund those who faithfully paid their accounts, his response was (knowingly or unknowingly) … “no, the government did not charge them illegally!” In saying that he is saying the eToll system is legal, yet he and his organization are working to bring the eToll system down.
This is not what we see Daniel’s friends and colleagues, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, doing in Daniel chapter 3. On the one hand we have a group of people who seem pretty progressive in their defiance against the governments eToll system contrasted with a government creating a religion and enforcing it upon the people of the kingdom (Babylon).
Da 3:1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 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. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
1) King Nebuchadnezzar had not understood Daniel’s God to be the only true living God.
All around the world there are images (statues) erected to honor past leaders. In our country and some surrounding countries, many of the old apartheid statutes have been taken down. Statues of struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela have been erected. These have been done by others, mostly after the person had died. In the kingdom of Assyria (including past and future kingdoms), which stretched from India to Ethiopia, the king or supreme leader would erect a statue (image) symbolizing kingdom dominion with words like: “A great image of royalty I made.”
The text, howeverm does not state this image was that of the king or representing him, but it does seem Daniel’s explanation of the dream the king had was so real and so much of a reminder that it could have triggered the idea in the king’s mind. There are differences though … this image was made out of gold … all ninety feet high and nine feet wide (27.5 meters by 7.7 meters) was solid gold. In his dream only the head was of gold.
It is difficult to pin point the location of “the plain of Dura”. Some associate it with Dura (Arabic), a Palestinian city located eleven kilometers southwest of Hebron in the Hebron Governorate in the southern West Bank … but our text says that it was … “in the province of Babylon”. Its location is not important.
2) The entire government leadership was invited to the dedication ceremony.
Da 3:2 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. 3 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.
There is however no indication that Daniel, the human author of this book was present. It does seem as though this image was a symbol of world-power and its glory (humanly speaking). The intent was that as a kingdom, we the people of Babylonia accept this image as representing our deity / deities. The religion was to be the kingdom’s new face of worship. That was the craftiness in getting all kingdom leaders present.
3) The style of liturgy and worship was provided by a “herald”.
Da 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 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.”
Verse 3 tells us they stood before the image so that when they fell down and worshipped the image they were facing it. Very significant … “this” is the image of worship, none other! There was such a variety of musical instruments that we could say it was an orchestra. As the music commenced, the falling in worship had to happen. No one was excluded. The command was directed at every single leader present implying that leader would “force” his people into submission as well … O peoples, nations and men of every language.
4) Refusal would amount to the most brutal punishment.
Da 3:6 “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
This reminds one that as Islam marched forward on their conquering spree, anyone who would not convert was executed. Please read the whole chapter. For today …
(1) Christians do not bow down before images … be it a cross, statue, stain glass window, altar or what some believe to be a relic from Jesus’ Cross or Tomb. This goes against the spirit of Exodus 20:4-5 which teaches against idols and images. We worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God.
(2) Christian Worship is not forced. One cannot force worship because worship is not a ritual such as kneeling, standing, waving arms, rolling on the floor, etc. Worship is a heart matter. Once Jesus lives in the heart, you will willingly and eagerly worship Him.
(3) Brutal punishment is reserved for those who refuse to worship Jesus.
Lord, I love and worship You. Please help me to be cautious, evaluating my heart’s surrender daily to ensure faithfulness in love. Amen.