In The Pour Over for today, they ran an article about Jack Dorsey (founder and CEO of Twitter and Square) who will be stepping down. They also announced who would be taking over. What I found phenomenal is the amount of profit that was made … a small … $3.6 billion next to $86 billion that Meta (Facebook) made. Now here’s the thing. The Pour Over always gives a Biblical perspective and in this case, thinking of the volumes of profits made by these social media giants, they call us to consider eternity by saying …
Our hope is never contingent on a geopolitical outcome. It’s much more secure than that. Regardless of whether things get worse or better based on the decisions of world powers, everything eventually ends well for followers of Christ.The Pour Over
Then they give us a Scripture to think through …
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Whatever we are faced with … prayer and petition, with thanksgiving is our only comfort as we claim Scripture! So there is Nebuchadnezzar’s 90 foot high image of gold symbolizing the Kingdom of Babylon’s new “kingdom wide religion” that all citizens were to bow down to. The king was aggressive in his forceful message via a spokesman that anyone refusing will be cast into the fiery furnace.
1) As required, the music commenced and the people from all nations fell down in worship.
Da 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.
Never forget that this king, like most of the day, ruled by terror. For the people, like it or not, agree or not, it was a matter of their lives … so they complied.
2) Some Jews from the Province of Babylon did not comply. It is interesting that only some refused the decree … fearfully the others committed idolatry.
Da 3:8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 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, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 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.”
(1) It is interesting that Daniel saved these astrologers’ (wise men’s) lives. He had asked the king’s chief servants not to kill them.
(2) Yet now we find that a jealous streak comes forward where these wise man, because they did not get appointed to high positions like Daniel and his friends, complained to the king saying some Jews did serve the king’s gods, nor bow down in worship of the image the king made.
(3) They reminded the king of him saying that those who do not fall down in worship of the image are to be cast into the furnace.
(4) Then they name and shame the Jews. They are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego whom the king himself appointed as leaders in the province of Babylon.
(5) They told the king that these men “pay no attention to you, O king.”
(6) The word “denounced” in verse 8 means “to slander”. What is particularly striking is that these wise men whose lives were saved knew Daniel and his friends did not worship idols. Now they use this as an act of jealous revenge for not getting the best posts in the kingdom.
3) Strangely the king forgets that he did not trust them before and wanted them dead … now he not only listens but reacts.
Da 3:13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 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? 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?”
The rage of the king shows that the wise men succeeded in their objective … yet the king knows the worth of these men (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) and gives them another chance. In verses 14-15 he repeats his charge with the consequence for refusal. Bent on the possibility of executing some of the best workers he has, workers suggested by Daniel, the king grants another chance.
4) Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to obey the king because it would be defying the true God.
Da 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 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. 18 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.”
(1) These men respected the king for his position. They said: “O king”. Christians, even when we do not agree with those in authority over us, need to show proper respect. Like it or not, they are God’s servants.
(2) In faith they refuse to defend themselves. They will rather trust God in whom they believe.
(3) Follow their logic …
(a) Cast us into the furnace and our God is able to save us in that furnace.
(b) Their faith was so confident that they believed God would come and rescue them from the world superpower’s king.
(c) The magnitude of their faith is enormous! Verse 18 is mind boggling. They say to the king that even if their God does not rescue them from the fiery furnace they will not serve his gods nor worship the image he made. They were so confident in their God they were prepared to die for Him. That is faith! That is commitment! That is knowing who God is and knowing you have an intentional relationship with Him. How confident is your faith? Would you be prepared to give up your life for Jesus … or would you try and save your life by denying Jesus?
O Lord God, You who are the Faithful One, strengthen our faith. Help us to trust You above what man has to say to us or demand from us. You said “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” We surrender! Amen.