INTRODUCTION: a. As we study ‘faith and the power of God’, we will learn the following: b. In our conventional definition, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” c. But in the real sense, faith is absolute belief and trust in God and His word. d. Faith recognizes the omnipotence of God and His ability to do anything, at any time. e. God has the ability to protect from danger, provide for our need under all circumstances, and also direct and guide us in every aspect of our lives. f. God is so powerful, His power is incontestable; whoever contests with Him is bound to fail. g. The understanding of God’s power should encourage us, under all circumstances, to weather every storm we come across in life, knowing that He will help us if we are faithful. h. We should avoid those who counsel us to go against God, because they are counseling us to do the unthinkable. i. Faith in God requires consistency. We should not be ‘fair weather friends’ in our relationship with God. j. It is better to die serving God than to prosper serving the devil.
THE COMMAND TO WORSHIP KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S IMAGE: DAN. 3:1-7. a. King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, constructed a gigantic image in Dura, and gathered all the important personalities in the nation who had power and influence: the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, justices, magistrates; to the place where he did the dedication of the image. b. As they all assembled for the dedication, the parade officer announced loudly, “The king has commanded that all peoples, nations, and languages, as soon as you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, harp, and every kind of musical instruments, you must immediately fall down and worship the golden image which the king has set up, or risk being cast into a burning fiery furnace.” c. As the king had ordered, as the people heard the sound of those mixed musical instruments, they unanimously fell down and worshiped the golden image which the king had set up.
REFUSAL OF SHEDRACK, MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO TO WORSHIP THE KING’S IMAGE – DAN. 3:8-12. a. While all the other people fell down to worship the golden image the king had set up, these three Hebrew men refused to obey the king’s orders. b. Having defied the king’s orders, some Chaldeans made it their business to maliciously accuse them to the king. They told him about their refusal to obey his orders, and reminded him about the punishment of casting anyone who refused to fall down and worship the golden image into a burning fiery furnace. c. They further reminded the king who these persons were: they are Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province. They told the king that ”these men pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” d. On hearing those accusations, the king was infuriated, and proceeded to punish them.
PUNISHMENT FOR THEIR REFUSAL AND GOD’S DELIVERANCE – DAN. 3:13–25. a. King Nebuchadnezzar was furiously enraged, he commanded Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought. He wanted them to make their refusal in his presence or go ahead and obey; so he ordered them to be brought before him. b. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t waste time, he asked them, “Is it true that you refused to serve my gods or worship the golden image I have set up?” He ordered them, “I give you a second chance, as soon as you hear the sound of the various musical instruments, go ahead, fall down and worship the image. But if you refuse, you shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and let me see that god who will deliver you out of my hands,” Nebuchadnezzar boasted. c. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wasted no time in replying him. Without courtsy, they flared up and said, “O Nebuchadnezzar (calling him by name), we are not going mind how we answer you in this case. If that is the way you want it, our God whom we serve is capable of delivering us from your burning fiery furnace; and we are so sure, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But in case He chooses not to, let us make it clear to you, O king, we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.” d. In official quarters, the attitude of these Hebrew men is called insurbordination. e. The king became furious, and his fury altered the expression on his face. He was angry toward these young men, and he ordered them to increase the heat of the furnace seven times more than it was normal to heat it. f. He equally ordered some mighty men in his army to bind them, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. And so they were bound with their clothes and everything they wore, and were cast into the burning fiery furnace. g. Nebuchadnezzar’s orders was so sternly given and the furnace so hot that those who threw .them into the fire were consumed by the fire. But the three men fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace unhurt. h. The king was watching, he was astonished and rose up in a hurry, and said to those who stood around him, “Did we not throw only three men tied into the fire?” They answered him in the affirmative. He continued, “But I see four men loosed and walking in the midst of the fire without being hurt; and the fourth person looks like the son of god.” i. That was how these three Hebrew men were delivered, irrespective of the king’s determination to have them punished for flouting his orders.
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