Ladies Bible Study
The Book of Daniel
Relevance for Today
This will be our third lesson from the Book of Daniel, an interesting and relevant study for the women of today. Today we will at least cover the third chapter in Daniel, which unfortunately we did not cover last month.
Letís begin with a quick review.
We learned who Daniel was and how he came to be in captivity in the Babylon Empire.
We discovered that Daniel was a man of resolution, revelation and reverence.
Daniel and his companions were young men without blemish, taken into captivity to serve in King Nebuchadnezzarís court. They were given Babylonian names that reflected the godís the Babylonians worshipped, in an effort to transform them into Babylonians.
Daniel and His friends stood firm in their belief, revealing him as a man of resolution, not to partake of worldly things. This faithfulness was rewarded by God. Daniel and His friends were put in places of authority in the court. Obedience always brings about favor with God. Last month we studied about the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. We learned how to handle difficult situations with the wisdom of God, and we also learned about the plan of God for the time of the Gentiles and the Gentile rule over the world. We learned that each section of the statue in the dream represented world rule of a specific kingdom ending with the future rule of the revived Roman Empire in the tribulation. God gave this dream to a Gentile for the Gentile world, but He used His man Daniel to give the interpretation, as the dream came from God and only He can give the meaning. All Glory belongs to God and God only, not to men or ourselves when God does use us.
Letís begin with this lesson. All month as I have meditated on it, this title has been running
around in my head, "Unified Faith for the Fire."
Turn with me please to Daniel Chapter Three.
Daniel 3:1-7:. Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
2. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3. So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4. Then a herald cried aloud: "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5. "that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6. "and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.'' 7. So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
If you will remember, at the end of chapter 2, we found King Nebuchadnezzar on His face before Daniel declaring the sovereignty of God.
Daniel 2:47: 47. The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.''
We also see that through the past event Daniel and his three companions were elevated to placed of authority in the government of Babylon. Yet, immediately after we see the king
once again elevating himself above God. Many ancient cultures and not so ancient cultures worshipped their leaders as a god, including the Roman Empire and the Japanese Empire pre World War II. The Romans considered Caesar as a god as did the Japanese considers the emperor as a god. Nebuchadnezzar is placing himself in a lofty dangerous position. He is elevating himself above God asking all the worship him. He is in open rebellion against the God that he had earlier worshipped as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This was very prideful and very sinful. We will see that he pays for this later.
It may have been an attempt to unify the conquered world under one religion. If you will remember, a one world religion is prophesied in Revelations during the tribulation, in which all will worship the image of the anti Christ.
We need to be very careful of what images we build and what we worship. We can build an image of the perfect man, or perfect family in our mind. It could be the image of the perfect job or church. We may even build a false image of ourselves with the expectation of others to admire us and think highly of us. To be well thought of is good to be admired for the wrong reasons is not. Do not get caught up in your looks, dress, or abilities. It is fine to be admired by others, but we cannot let it go to our heads. As I have said before, everything we do should glorify God and no one else. Donít "worship" a man, job or your family, set life priorities, God, spouse, family, job then self. God should always come first.
We enter dangerous territory when we put others including ourselves above God. This current attitude in America of "what about me, my time, my needs" is a dangerous slippery slope we need to avoid. Amen!
If you look at verse 2, we see that not all the people of the land were called to worship the image but only the officials governing the people were called. These included the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces. This would of course include Daniel and his three companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. We do not see mention of Daniel in the event, where he was is uncertain, some have speculated that he was traveling on the kingís business, we really donít know.
After everyone was gathered, there was a loud chorus of music played and then all were to fall down and worship the image. I have this picture in my mind of a large symphony playing something like "TA DA!" and everyone falling on their face. I think we need to stop and notice a few things. Everyone fell on their face in an attitude of worship, but that does not mean they all worshipped the image as god. Unfortunately, the action itself became a sin, whether you feared for your life on not. It was the appearance of evil and The Word clearly tells us to abstain from the appearance of evil.
-- King James
1 Thessalonians 5:22: Abstain from all appearance of evil.
People had a choice to make and most made the one to save their lives and comply whether they agreed or not.
Daniel 3:8-15: Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. 9. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever!
10. "You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 11."and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12. "There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.'' 13. Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?
We now come to the meat of our lesson. The three Hebrew young men made a choice, they made the choice to be faithful to their God. I believe the choice to be faithful or not was barely an issue, they believed in God with all their heart. Facing the consequences was a difficult decision, as they knew it meant certain death. However, it was the only decision they could make. They were Hebrew, Godís chosen people and despite the apostasy of their nation as a whole, they were faithful to God. They knew without a doubt that they would suffer for this decision.
Daniel 3:15-18: "Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?'' 16. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17. "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18. "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.''
This is absolute faith in God.
It is an example of both individual and corporate faith. Each one of these young men had absolute faith in God to deliver them in this situation. They had just witnessed God answering their prayer regarding the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzarís dream, thus saving not only their lives but all the lives of the "wise men of Babylon." Despite the fact that they were in captivity to a brutal King, they knew God would take care of them individually and then they believed for each other.
They stood unified before the king and answered as one.
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.''
Together, their unified faith strengthened each other so that they appeared as one man in the matter. Notice they answered as one voice. Unified faith always brings out the miraculous.
Joshua 3:5-6,15-17: And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'' 6. Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.'' So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the peopleÖ 15. and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16. that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
17. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
This tells of Joshua leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land. They had to cross the Jordan River, which was in flood stage. It was to be a unified step, led by the priest. They entered the water carrying the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders and as soon as the sole of the feet of the first priest carrying the Ark touched the water, the waters began to part.
I use this to show another example of unified faith. All of the priest had to believe the waters would part, not just the ones in the front of the Ark. The Ark suspended on long poles was carried on the shoulders of the priest. I imagine the priest in the back could not always see what was happening in front as they marched along. They had to be faithful and follow or no one would have gone anywhere! This was especially true as they entered the Jordan River. If even one had doubted in his heart, then he would have stumbled or hesitated, thus impeding the progress and perhaps stopping the mighty act of God. Being in the midst of faith strengthens your own individual faith. Faith surrounding faith equals stronger faith. Unified faith always brings about the miraculous. I am describing unity or being in one accord.
Acts 2:1-4: Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The believers were gathered in the upper room, in one accord, in unified faith and look what happened! The miraculous occurred, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
Acts 12:5-7,12: Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!'' And his chains fell off his handsÖ 12. So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.
We can see by this account that Peter was delivered from jail by the unified prayer of the believers. They were gathered at the house of Mary, mother of John, praying and God responded to their prayers and delivered Peter.
These three Hebrew young men were putting into practice a principle Jesus himself taught much later.
Matthew 18-19-20: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.''
These three young men agreed aloud to the king that they would not bow down and worship the false image, speaking from their heart what they believed. That God would deliver them completely. But even if they died, it did not matter, they would still only worship the one and true God. Letís look at the results.
Daniel 3:19-30: Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22. Therefore, because the king's command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?'' They answered and said to the king, "True, O king.'' 25. "Look!'' he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'' 26. Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.'' Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king's counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. 28. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29. "Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.'' 30. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
They were thrown totally bound, completely dressed with even their turbans on, into the hottest fire possible. It was so hot, it killed the guards that threw them in! Yet, they were unharmed. Why? Because the believed all things were possible with their God.
They believed God was their strength and shield.
Psalms 27:1-3: The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2. When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3. Though an army should encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident.
Ladies, God Almighty showed up in the midst of their fiery furnace! Will he do less for you? No!
It is important to realize, however, that their faith was already developed to take them through the fire. Going through the fire only strengthened it!
If you hope to emerge victorious in any situation, you must enter it from the position of
strong faith. You must know that you know, before you take the stand. Any other plan of action will end up in death because you entered the furnace weak, not strong.
What strengthened their faith? The presence of the Lord Jesus sustaining them in the midst of the fire. Always know, He will never leave you or forsake you. Amen!
Also, I submit to you that the unified faith of these three young men, ushered in the miraculous. Together they were stronger than apart, each one strengthening the other.
If we want to see the miraculous in our church body or in the body as a whole, we must believe in Godís ability to do what His Word says He will do. If we want to see people saved, healed and set free, we have to believe it will happen, not wait and see it happen first. Amen!
No matter what fire you are facing, ladies God will always see you through. It is up to you to strengthen your faith to face the fire, be strengthened by the presence of the Lord through the fire and then expect the miraculous at all times. Amen!
Next lesson will be Chapter 4 and hopefully chapter 5.
Questions Chapter 3
life in anyway?
4. What decision did the three Hebrew young men have to make and why was it so
7. How will this impact your life today?