Twenty years, or so, have gone by, and in that time, King Nebuchadnezzar, inspired by the statue in his vision, builds a huge gold statue of himself. Consequently, he orders everyone to bow down and worship this statue when music starts playing. Everyone obeys and bows down except 3 young men. Their punishment for disobedience is the fiery furnace. However, the 3 aren’t alone! Let’s dig in…
Daniel 3 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
The Blazing Furnace
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” (Some versions say “the son of a god”, others say “the Son of God”.)
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.Daniel 4 NLT
- In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2), just the head of gold represented his reign. Rather than admitting that his kingdom had an end, he built this statue that says, “Me forever!”
- We also see here the power of music. It was like a musical call-to-prayer. The music we listen to defines us. Once I was born again, I had no interest in listening to secular music. All of a sudden, the lyrics that I knew by heart, were offensive to me.
- When the music played, everyone bowed down in front of a statue made by human hands. Exactly what God detests — idolatry — paganism. That means even the exiled Jews bowed down. They succumbed to fear. It’s easier to go along with the crowd than stand up for the truth. We defile ourselves when we listen to or watch what is clearly from Satan.
- The punishment for not bowing down may seem a little harsh. But, it’s not like Nebuchadnezzar hadn’t fried people before. Check out Jeremiah 29:22.
- All Jews bowed down — all but 3. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, took a stand again. Just like back in Daniel 1, when they didn’t defile themselves with the king’s Gentile foods, they stood up in faith. They refused to disobey God’s commandments. Many chose the safe route even though it was wrong. What God says is way more important than what we may think, or what others may say about what we do or don’t do.
- The 3 had amazing faith. They didn’t ask God for deliverance. They just knew that God would deliver them. Even if God didn’t, they would rather die than disobey God.
- And Jesus just happened to show up to be with them in the furnace. Did they see Him? We don’t know. The important thing was that Nebuchadnezzar did.
What happened here was outright persecution. The Babylonian officials purposefully singled out the Jews. Religious persecution still exists today. There’s antisemitism against the Jews and Christian persecution continues all over the world.
Jesus warned us…
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.Matthew 5:10-12 NLT
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.Matthew 24:9 NLT
He also said…
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NLT
See, once you become a born-again believer, you, too become an overcomer. You become a citizen of the Kingdom of God in Heaven. At that point, Earth is no longer your home. Heaven is. That’s our confident hope!
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT
It’s clear that Jesus is with you no matter what you’re going through…
The Prophet Isaiah wrote…
2 When you go through deep waters,Isaiah 43:2 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
We all have been through “deep waters” of trouble when we thought we didn’t have enough energy or endurance to swim to land. I’m sure you’ve had many difficulties in life. Trust in God and He will get you through them. He will not let you drown in your troubles. Many are going through oppression right now. Things are going to get worse before Jesus comes to get us! Hang on to Jesus! No one else. Not a church, not Mary, not a saint. JESUS!
Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is biblical typology. It’s a foreshadowing of the end times. Fast forward to Revelation 13 and we see that the Antichrist will build a statue and the false prophet will make everyone bow to it….
14 And with all the miracles he (the false prophet) was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast (the Antichrist), he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. 15 He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.Revelation 13:14-15 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
If you think that seems a bit far-fetched, watch this creepy video…
The main point I want to get across is —
if you’re with Jesus, Jesus is with you!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…