Sermon notes: Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace

Introduction

A photograph taken at the time of the launch of the German Army Vessel, “Horst Wessel” on 13th June 1936 shows, hundreds of men and women holding up their arms in salute and allegiance to the Nazi Party and its leader, Adolph Hitler, except for one man standing with his arms crossed.

The man was August Landmesser and better known as “The man who refused to give a Nazi Salute.” Although impressive, August’s boldness landed him and his entire family in trouble. He was arrested on the grounds of treason several times, before being sent to the battle front where he died. His wife, a Jewish woman was sent to a death camp in which she also died. His two daughters were sent to foster homes.

We find a similar story in the Bible also. It is none other than the third chapter of the book of Daniel, in which the king Nebuchadnezzar threw Daniel’s three friends into a fiery furnace because they refused to bow down before his golden statue. A lot can be said about this passage, but I just want to share three truths with you tonight.

1. Nebuchadnezzar’s rebellion against God

In order to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior correctly, we need to understand the link between the physical image that Nebuchadnezzar built and the image he saw in his dream in Daniel 2:1-49.

In chapter 2 Daniel likened Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom to the head made of gold. Daniel also said that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom shall fall and another inferior kingdom will rise to power.

Now Nebuchadnezzar, although he rewarded Daniel greatly, wasn’t happy to hear that he was only the head and his kingdom was temporary. Therefore in contradiction to God’s declared plan, he deliberately made an entire statue of gold, to say that the day of his reign and authority would never end. He demanded that all the officials in his kingdom will bow down before it as a sign of allegiance to him (Daniel 3:1-7). It was total chaos. But it doesn’t seem that Daniel’s friends were bothered. They knew God is always in control, no matter what.

Implications

Today gay marriage and homosexuality is an accepted, legally binding practice in many parts of the world, because people rebelliously claim that the Bible is outdated and irrelevant. On 27th June 2015 when the US Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be legal nationwide (This sermon was rewritten on AUG 2016) many Christians thought of it as a huge blow to the Christian Church. I say it’s not.

The point is the world has been in rebellion against God, since the ancient times. It’s nothing new.

So let us not lose our minds but know that God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is still in charge and has total control.

2. Daniel’s friends were very stubborn

The demand that all come to the dedication ceremony means that Nebuchadnezzar meant to use the worship of this image as a test of allegiance. As for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego however this was also a test of allegiance to the almighty God. The friends attended the ceremony but stubbornly refused to bow down before the statue even once. Their allegiance to God exceeded their allegiance to the king. The king’s threats could not shake them. Their faith was so stubborn they said to the king they will not serve his gods or worship his golden image, even if God will let them die! (Daniel 3:8-23)

Implications

On September 03rd 2015, despite a court order the Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples with her name on them. She was released later on the condition she will comply with the orders. However she said she will not and said if need be, she will return back to jail.

Men and women of God, need to develop a stubborn faith, so the world will not be able to pressure them into its own sinful mold.

It will definitely cost us many things. Even our lives sometimes. But we can rest assured that our souls will be safe.

3. These three men stood against evil

According to Daniel 3:24-30 when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood firm against evil, God also stood by them. He rescued his servants. In the end the king was so amazed by what happened and issued a new decree saying anyone that speaks anything against the God of the three friends shall be torn limb from limb, and will have their houses reduced to nothing.

Implications

Kim Davis, continued her fight until the Kentucky Governor finally signed a law, which a marriage license that doesn’t require the clerks name to be on it. It’s not a solution to the issue of gay marriage. But Christians like Kim are now able to fully follow the law without being forced to compromise their religious liberty.

Edmund Burke once said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that Good men do nothing.”

God has placed us on this earth to fight against the evil, not to back down or join hands with it.

I challenge you tonight, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego continue to fight against every form of evil, even if it will cost you your life.

Conclusion

In closing I want to encourage you to pray every day, that God will give you strength to stand firm and resist the temptation to give in when the world pressures you into its mold.

(If this sermon was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)

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