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Daniel 3 - The King's Image (Outline)

The Original Rogue One  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  45:23
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When God has big business to get done in the world, allegiance always gets the contract.

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Outline

Introduction

Daniel 2:49 TLV
Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained at the royal court.
What a moment in the lives of the young Jewish exiles. With everything on the line God came through and did the extra-ordinary. And, Daniel, well Daniel was the lead on this one so the King brought him up to the highest arena of political leadership in Babylon: the royal court. That is like being part of our President’s inside circle of cabinet members.
Daniel does not forget those who helped him get to the top. He does not forget about his three Jewish compatriots who prayed with him and received revelation from God with him. So Daniel asks King Nebuchadnezzar to “hook” his friends up with good jobs. So the king does. They become administrators of the province of Babylon. Not a bad job at all. They were not as high up as Daniel but they had some leadership responsibility and some status.
At this moment, I am sure things started to look up. I bet there pats on the back to go around and lots of head-shaking, that head-shaking that says, “things are going to be different now.” I am sure Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were so grateful that there friend did not forget them and got them a sweet job in the government.
Well maybe that promotion did not lead to such a rosy outcome. We are going to explore this today in our passage from .
Grab your copy of the Scriptures and say it with me like you mean it, “Ha-foke-bah, Ha-foke-bah, De-cola-bah. Ha-foke-bah, Ha-foke-bah, Mashiach-bah. Turn-it and turn-it everything you need is in it. Turn-it and turn-it the Messiah is in it.”
Daniel 3:1–7 TLV
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the authorities of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the satraps, administrators, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the authorities of the provinces assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. They stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “You are commanded O peoples, nations and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will that same hour be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and pipes, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and languages fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Daniel 3:1–3 TLV
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the authorities of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the satraps, administrators, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the authorities of the provinces assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. They stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Daniel 3:8–12 TLV
At that time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They spoke up and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! You, O king, made a decree 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 golden image, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego—those men pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods, nor will they worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Daniel 3:12 TLV
There are certain Jews whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego—those men pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods, nor will they worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Main Point 1: Rather than going with the flow of the crowd go rogue because the pull of the crowd is the path to perdition. (develop inductively)
The Crowd Obeys Nebuchadnezzar (3:1-7).
The Crowds are Summoned (1-3)
is geographically at the outer wall of Babylon at the pedestal of a idol statue.
Scholars get it wrong.
Picture of the wall.
Picture of images on wall.
is primarily about Babylon’s political leaders pledging allegiance to this image Daniel had made.
is historically at the end a rebellion that almost brought down Nebuchadnezzar.
The Crowds Here the Edict (4-6)
Daniel 3:4–6 TLV
Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “You are commanded O peoples, nations and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will that same hour be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”
The Crowds Pledge Allegiance (7).
Daniel 3:7 TLV
Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and pipes, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and languages fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
The crowds waste no time doing what they are told.
The crowds are not just swearing politically loyalty, this is about worship.
The Crowd Notices Some Rogue Elements (3:8-12).
The Accusers Address the king (3:8) -
Daniel 3:8–11 TLV
At that time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They spoke up and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! You, O king, made a decree 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 golden image, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.
Daniel 3:8 TLV
At that time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews.
The Accusation about certain Jews (3:9-12)
Daniel 3:12 TLV
There are certain Jews whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego—those men pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods, nor will they worship the golden image that you have set up.”
i. They don’t pay attention to you (12a)
ii. They don’t serve your gods (12b)
iii. They don’t worship the image (12c)
i. They don’t pay attention to you (12a) - They Don’t Walk in the Advice of the Wicked ()
ii. They don’t serve your gods (12b) - They Don’t Stand in the Way with Sinners ()
iii. They don’t worship the image (12c) - They Don’t Sit with Scoffers ()
The pull of the crowd is the path to perdition.
Elizabeth Bibesco famously said, “Irony is the hygiene of the mind.” Irony keeps the mind healthy and on its toes. Daniel knew that when he wrote his stories and there is a bit of irony in this story.
The irony is that the crowds will worship anything to escape the fiery furnace of the king all the while not noticing that by showing allegiance to a false god they are on the path to perdition.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego resist the pull of the crowd because they know it is the path of perdition for them. Regardless of what lies ahead of them.
These Jewish men, and us I hope, recognize that the pull of the crowd is really just the pull towards conformity. It is the pull towards conformity, to align your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those around you. It's a powerful force that can take the form of overt social pressure or subtler influences. As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, the fact is that we're driven to fit in, and that usually means going with the flow. Even though we may not agree we go with the flow because
Who wants to fight
Who wants to be singled out (somebody else’s weirdo)
What want to give up security
What we really love
Illustrate the idea: Have you ever played in a swimming pool and tried to hold a beach all under the surface? Its tendency - you might even says its penchant and desire - is to rise to the surface. You might even say the ball is “restless” when it is held under the water. It keeps trying to sneak up and burst towards the surface. It wants to float to the surface.
Apply the Idea: You can try really hard to push down beneath the surface what you really love but in times of crises especially when the crowd puts its pressure on you. What is under the surface will push its way up and burst onto the surface. If what you love is material things, if what you love is comfort, or security, or power, or influence you will not be able to keep it down it will pop up to the surface when the pressure of the crowd is upon you.
Transition: The story does not end here, it does not end with the crowd pulling everyone into its flow. It just tells you “what no to do” but not what God is looking for. Lets look at that.
Big Idea: When God has big business in the world, allegiance always gets the contract (Develop Inductively)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego stand out from the crowd (3:13-23)
Nebuchadnezzar smokes with fury.
Daniel 3:13–15 TLV
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to be summoned. When these men were brought before the king, Nebuchadnezzar responded to them saying, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you don’t serve my gods or worship the golden image that I set up? Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and pipes and all kinds of music you must fall down and worship the image that I have made. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire! Then what god will be able to deliver you out of my hands?”
Nebuchadnezzar fire does not scare Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego (16-18).
Daniel 3:16–18 TLV
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king saying, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you concerning this matter. If it is so, our God whom we serve is able to save us from the furnace of blazing fire and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. Yet even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image that you set up.”
S.M.A may seem a little disrespectful but that is because what was under the surface trying to push its way up and burst out was their loving allegiance to their God.
S.M.A. discerned this was not just about political allegiances to Nebuchadnezzar; no, this was about religious allegiance, this was about worship. In this chapter, the word worship occurs 11 times, the word serve occurs 5 times, a total of 16 usages to hammer home the point that this is about a man trying to command the spiritual allegiances of other mens hearts to a false god. S.M.A would have nothing to do with this.
True allegiance is the refusal to allow anything to be removed from the framework that the Torah established.
Nebuchadnezzar orders the execution of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego (19-23). (Narrate what happens to the end of 23).
Daniel 3:19–20 TLV
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage and the appearance of his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated and commanded some of the mighty men in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire.
Daniel 3:19 TLV
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage and the appearance of his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego stop the flow of the crowd (3:24-27).
Daniel 3:24–27 TLV
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and leapt to his feet. He asked his ministers, “Didn’t we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Surely, O king.” But he answered saying, “Look! I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the middle of the fire, and the fourth has the appearance like a son of the gods!” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and exclaimed, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out and come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out from the middle of the fire. When the satraps, administrators, governors and royal ministers had gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men. Not a hair of their head was singed, nor were their robes scorched, nor was there a smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:24–25 TLV
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and leapt to his feet. He asked his ministers, “Didn’t we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Surely, O king.” But he answered saying, “Look! I see four men walking about unbound and unharmed in the middle of the fire, and the fourth has the appearance like a son of the gods!”
Nebuchadnezzar sees the angel of the Lord: the king of Israel Yeshua (24-25).
Nebuchadnezzar and the crowds realize their is a sovereignty greater than the fire ()
Daniel 3:26–27 TLV
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and exclaimed, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out and come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out from the middle of the fire. When the satraps, administrators, governors and royal ministers had gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men. Not a hair of their head was singed, nor were their robes scorched, nor was there a smell of fire on them.
Refresh the irony definition: “Irony is the hygiene of the mind.”
The Aramaic expression la sh’let nora b’gesh-meh’one which is translated “the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men” is very peculiar and exciting.
James Smith, “Apocalyptic literature is a genre of Scripture that tries to get us to see (or see through) the empires that constitute our environment in order to see them for what they really are. The point of apocalyptic literature…[is not] just prediction but unmasking - unveiling the realities around us for what they really are.” (p. 39 [brackets mine]
While Nebuchadnezzar wanted to believe he was the only sovereign in the world - that is why he made the whole statute out of gold instead of like the pattern found in - the reality is that he is not the sovereign one but a servant to THE SOVEREIGN ONE.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego’s allegiance changes everything (3:28-30)
Daniel 3:28–30 TLV
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him! They defied the king’s edict and gave up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I hereby decree that any people, nation or language that says anything slanderous against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego will be torn limb from limb and their house made a pile of rubble, because there is no other god that is able to deliver in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the province of Babylon.
The King’s New Blessing (28)
The King’s New Edict (29)
The King’s Newly Promoted leaders (30).
When God has big business in the world, allegiance always gets the contract.
While Nebuchadnezzar wanted to believe he was the only sovereign in the world - that is why he made the whole statute out of gold instead of like the pattern found in - the reality is that he is not the sovereign one but a servant to THE SOVEREIGN ONE. Nebuchadnezzar thought that what mattered the most, what was most ultimate was absolute allegiance to him. He did not understand that Adonai will not share his glory with any other being.
In order to get this work done, God needed to find some people willing to be so allegiant to Him they would have to go rogue to the King.
James Smith, “Apocalyptic literature is a genre of Scripture that tries to get us to see (or see through) the empires that constitute our environment in order to see them for what they really are. The point of apocalyptic literature…[is not] just prediction but unmasking - unveiling the realities around us for what they really are.” (p. 39 [brackets mine])
While Nebuchadnezzar wanted to believe he was the only sovereign in the world - that is why he made the whole statute out of gold instead of like the pattern found in - the reality is that he is not the sovereign one but a servant to THE SOVEREIGN ONE.
The temptation, when the stakes are high, is to convince ourselves that God is not ultimately sovereign or that because He is so sovereign that my allegiance to him does not really count.
This is not just a story that unmasks reality it is a plot that predicts.
The Image of the Future Beast
Revelation 13:11–18 TLV
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived. The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He also causes all—the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave—to receive a mark on their right hand or upon their forehead. And so no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark—either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666.
The Ones Who Would Not Worship that Image ()
Revelation 15:1–4 TLV
Then I saw another great and wonderful sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven plagues—the last ones, for with them God’s wrath is finished. And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had overcome the beast and his image and the number of his name standing by the sea of glass, holding the harps of God. And they are singing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful are Your deeds, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! Who shall not fear and glorify Your name, O Lord? For You alone are Holy. All the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed!”

Conclusion

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego show us a type of those who will not worship the image of any beastly pagan god and receieve a miraculously release. The Book of Revelation shows us a group of people who had the same spirit as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego but they overcame not be escaping but dying in Judaism we call it “kedush ha’shem” they sanctified the Name of God by not bowing to an idol. I have no doubt in my mind these are faithful Jewish believers and non-Jews who have learned to walk out their faith in a Jewish context. They sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. This group recognized Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego’s allegiance but they also recoginzed an allegiance that was even greater. This greater allegiance was Yeshua’s allegiance to his heavenly father. He would not bow down to the image of Rome in the face of death and neither would he compromise his mission when the crowds pressed in hard upon him. He died as an allegiant Jew but he rose from the grave to show us the reality of the confidence that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had, the confidence that for allegiant Jews the resurrection is our ultimate victory over all the false images and emperors who try to force us to bow at their altars. They sang the song of Moses and the lamb.
Do you sing the their song? Or, are you being pulled by the crowd onto their path. Do you sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? If you do it is because you know that when God wants really work to et do
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