DARE TO BE A DANIEL

God vs god

Daniel 3

Jerry A. Collins

9/5/04

SCC

 

*               Does God have any rivals in the universe?

*               Under what kind of circumstances should we stand up for God?

*               What is required for me to stay true to God?

 

Often our faith will conflict with the prevailing wisdom of the world (Evolution, abortion, same-sex marriages, sex outside of marriage). The world will say that you must worship its view of God. The world will say and teach and promote a whole lot of things that will conflict with your faith in God and Christ and Gods Word. The god of this world will always conflict with God. We must determine to stay true to God, His Christ, and His Word at all costs and never cave into the prevailing wisdom of the world around us. We will learn about three men who were coerced into compromising their faith in the One true God. Yet, they determined to never cave in and were willing to accept the consequences of their refusal even if it meant death. This event will force us to evaluate the level of commitment we have to God and His Word. How determined are you? Lets find out.

1. THE WORLD DEVISES SCHEMES PROMOTING ITS OWN SUPREMACY 1-7

The whole episode is based upon a golden image to be worshipped devised by Neb. An image of gold (vs 1) he set up (2, 3, 5, 7). 90 ft tall the king assembled everyone for the dedication of the statue. Vs 5 when they hear the sound of the instruments, they were to fall down and worship the golden image. Since Neb was represented as head of gold in dream in chp 2, why not make a whole image of it? The consequences of non-compliancethrown in fiery furnace. And everyone there complied vs 7. who were they? 1. satraps (Chief reps of King). 2. Prefects (Military commanders). 3. Governors (Civil). 4. Counselors (of govt). 5. Treasurers (public treasury). 6. Judges (lawyers). 7. Magistrates (sentencing). 8. Rulers (beauracrats). Similar to what the people will be doing who accept the mark of the beast during tribulation.

We can count on fact that the wisdom of the world will always be competing for supremacy in your life. Worldly wisdom can be persuasive especially when you pull out the big guns who are all complying. An be in school, or office, or friendships. The world will always be competing for your alligience.

2. DETERMINE TO LIVE WITH CONSEQUENCES OF OBEYING GOD INSTEAD 8-18

8-12 The worlds wisdom will always conflict with Gods. You will have to make choices all of the time. Choices between complying with the worlds wisdom or applying Gods wisdom. And often you may be coerced or threatened or rejected or ostracized or marginalized. Incredibly, here are some Jews who refuse to cave in, in spite of the pressure. Where is Daniel? No one knows.

13-15 You can count on fact that the world will attempt to squeeze you into its moldits way of thinking. To tempt you or force you and persuade you to accept their position and view of things. Neb did with these three. He really tries to turn the screws on them. The climax is in vs 15 what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands? Says Neb. Neb brings in these Jews and talks personally. He says he will forget the whole thing if they will bow down. Nebs character: (1) willing to give them another chanceprove it to himnot based on others accusations. (2) He had a lot of pride and God will deal with that specifically in chp 4. At this point it is all about the worlds way of thinking. 7 times we hear of the image Neb set up and the consequences for not complying. By this time any weak-kneed person thinking otherwise would capitulate. Everything seem to be going their way. Everyone seem to be right. Everyone doing it.

16-18 Everyone that as but these three fellas. They did not need to give the king an answer. God would. God would be able to deliver them out of the furnace. But if not they still will not worship kings image. The Law said you shall have no other gods before me. They had no direct word from God on the matter so no guarantee He would deliver them. They did not expect God to do this but believe God will deliver them from Neb either thru death or deliverance. Neb never had control over them. He just thot he did. What is needed are faithful followers who know God and are determined to obey Him no matter the threat, the prevailing wisdom of world, the coercion, the temptation. Life is simple when you only have one person to please. In India, they passed law of non-conversion. When asked what they would do, they said they would keep doing what they have been doing. God is in control and no law would stop them from sharing the gospel. At least now they could suffer righteously for their belief.

3. GOD CAN PRESERVE AND PROTECT US WHEN WE DETERMINE TO OBEY HIM 19-30

19-23 Just because you may determine to obey God does not mean you will avoid the consequences of that decision. Often the consequences of obedience will be costly to our friendships, our reputations, our careers, our finances, our family and even our livesjust like these three Jews. They went into the furnace! Nebs rage is evident for third time (2:12; 3:13, 19). He is a hothead. Things moved so fast that they were immediately tied upclothes and all. With urgency, the furnace was heated 7 times hotter than usual and they were cast into it after some of the kings soldiers were burned to death themselves.

24-27 A 4th man appeared with the Jews at bottom of furnace. A divine being for sure. This is either an angel sent by God or it is a preincarnate appearance of Christ standing with them. After Neb recognizes the Jews God he calls them out and amazingly (1) fire had no effect. (2) no hair was singed. (3) no clothes damaged. (4) No smell of fire on them. Gods preservation is full and complete. The gods of Neb, are no match for the God of the 3 Jews and neither are the worlds gods today.

28-30 Neb recognizes this God is greater than his gods who could never deliver anyone from a furnace like this. But he does not think God is the only God but only the best of the other gods. He does not reverse previous proclamation to worship his image but he adds a similar decree to not offend this God. It is safest to worship all the gods including this one. Progress in Nebs thinking so far: (1) Unbelief (2) Belief that there is one God 2:47 (3) That God is a God of revelation 2:47 (4) That God is involved in lives of His people 3:28. By end of chp 4 he will learn that you come to this God in humility not pride, from faith not works.

(1) There comes a time of testing when God raises the cost of following Christ.

(2) The purpose is to take us to the place where we have an absence of options.

(3) What would it take for the enemy to talk you into exiting the life of discipleship? What is your price? If you have a price it is just a matter of time before you walk no more with him.

(4) Your only chance of finishing the race well rests in your eliminating all options.

(5) It is harder not to follow Jesus, than it is to follow Him. The consequences for not following will come when you have to give an account to Him on that day!