But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT AND DANIEL 3
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that WE WILL NOT SERVE THY GODS, NOR WORSHIP THE GOLDEN IMAGE which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18) (Emphasis mine)
The army of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed (c. 586 B.C.) the Temple in Jerusalem. The survivors of Judah were now in captivity in Babylon.
Daniel and several other Hebrew children were selected to learn the language and culture of the Chaldeans. Daniel, by interpreting a dream of Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 2) had risen to prominence in the kingdom.
He asked the king to also favor his three Hebrew friends -- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The king complied and gave them important positions in Babylon.
A GOLDEN IMAGE
Babylon (formerly Babel) was the original seat of pagan idolatry. Nebuchadnezzar set up a huge golden image of a man (probably of himself).
He commanded the leaders throughout his empire to gather at a set time and FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP IT (at the sound of music). Remembering the Ten Commandments, Daniel's three Hebrew friends refused to comply with Nebuchadnezzar's order.
They knew God was able to deliver them, although they didn't know if He would. In either case, they told the king that they would NOT worship his golden image.
WHEN IN ROME, DO AS THE ROMANS DO?
Their attitude was similar to that of godly Job before them -- “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). Rather than submit to the ecumenical religion of their day, they were prepared to pay with their lives, if necessary.
Nebuchadnezzar might kill their bodies, but God would preserve their souls. They were in Babylon, but they refused to do as the Babylonians did.
In order to obey the Second Commandment, they had to refuse to obey the order of the Moloch State.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25)
The king, in a rage, had ordered the fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. He then commanded the mightiest men in his army to bind the three Hebrew men and cast them into the fiery furnace.
These elite bodyguards succeeded, but were burnt alive in the process. And then God's promise to his faithful children came true: “... when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:2)
The pre-incarnate Son of God Himself was with them in the flame and protected them from all harm. This promise has always proven true for God's people.
They fear not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Rather they fear God, who can destroy both body and soul in HELL -- FOREVER.
God preserved the bodies of the three Hebrews (without pain) in the fiery flames. He can also preserve the resurrected bodies of the damned in the flames of Hell -- the Lake of Fire (with much pain).
Though many believers have died in the flames, their souls were all brought safely home to Heaven. The Son of God was, and always will be, with His own in the hour of their death.
But in the case of the three Hebrew men, their BODIES as well as their souls were kept from any harm. This was a visible miracle, displaying the POWER OF GOD TO DELIVER HIS OWN. When ordered out of the fire by Nebuchadnezzar, they didn't even smell of smoke.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:28-30)
The faithfulness of the three young men brought to them the rewards of both protection and prosperity. He who honors God will not go unrewarded. “.... for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1 Samuel 2:30)
The enemies of the faithful three Hebrews had sought to destroy them. They reported them to the king. But God saw to it that they were further promoted. They prospered.
SOME LESSONS FOR TODAY
Notice that Nebuchadnezzar said that the three Hebrews had “yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” They surrendered their bodies to Him who is both their Creator and Redeemer.
In our day of ecumenical religion, new paganism, immodesty and sexual promiscuity, what a crying need there is for this spirit of devotion to the LORD God of the Bible. We need to live, and be ready to die, for Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His Own Blood.
When we have NO OTHER GODS before God, then we will not fall down and worship idols, even at the cost of our lives. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 41 years (in 2018). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2018 by George Theiss