No Trash, Just Truth! - Proverbs 9:10 Ministries

Episode 103 - If You Play with Fire, You'll get Burned - Reading Between the Lions Part 3

September 06, 2021
No Trash, Just Truth! - Proverbs 9:10 Ministries
Episode 103 - If You Play with Fire, You'll get Burned - Reading Between the Lions Part 3
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever been so moved by something that you knew it changed your life only to discover a few weeks, or maybe only days, later, you are right back to where you were before?  Maybe some of us know someone who promises they will change, and maybe they do for a short time, but before too long they are right back to engaging in the same destructive behavior.     

On the flip side, maybe we, or someone we know always seems poised no matter what their circumstances. They always have a sense of peace about them no matter how tumultuous life is. These kind of people usually illicit questions from others like, “Why can’t I be like that?  How can I make myself trust God more?”

In this episode, we delve into a very familiar story from the Book of Daniel - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refusing to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue; and for their disobedience, they are thrown into a fiery furnace. This narrative can be so familiar to us, that it ends up on the same level as Cinderella, instead of actual history. We can also think of it just as a sweet Sunday School story and miss the rich theology contained in the narrative. 

Join us as we delve deeply into Daniel chapter 3 and see this is so much more than a story of 3 guys who had faith in God and were therefore, saved from death!

Episode 103 – If You Play with Fire, You’ll Get Burned

Welcome Back! We have been spending the last couple of weeks delving into the Book of Daniel. I love the book of Daniel! It has everything in it!

It does! Intrigue, mystery, murder, war, animals, and even a bodiless hand that writes on the wall! If someone wrote a novel on the book of Daniel, critics would say it is too unrealistic to be believable.

I agree. But not only is the Book of Daniel realistic, its actual history! And its important history! We said in the series on Deciphering Revelation and in The Bible Blueprint that having an understanding of the OT is crucial to understanding the NT and especially the Book of Rev. Well, within the OT, the book of Daniel is super crucial to understanding to get a handle on Rev.

We always said that ideally, a Bible Study should do Daniel first, then Rev. We have done the reverse, but as we go through this book, if you listened to the series on Rev., there will be things that definitely ring familiar. And maybe after we are done, go back and listen again to the series on Rev. You may find you get even more out of it.

Okay, so onto today’s episode, If you Play with Fire, You’ll Get Burned. Chris, let’s start with a few questions for us and everyone listening. Have you ever been so moved by a sermon, scripture, Bible study lesson, song, or speaker that you knew it changed your life only to discover a few weeks, or maybe only days, later, you are right back to where you were before?  Maybe some of us know someone who promises they will change, and maybe they do for a short time, but before too long they are right back to engaging in the same destructive behavior.     

And along those lines, maybe some of us have asked ourselves questions like, “Why aren’t I farther along spiritually?  Why do I keep falling into the same sin?  And maybe asking about people we know, Why don’t they get it?  Can’t they see how their sin is destroying their life?”  It can be frustrating and heart breaking. 

On the flip side, maybe we, or someone we know always seems poised no matter what their circumstances. They always have a sense of peace about them no matter how tumultuous life is. These kind of people usually illicit questions from others like, “Why can’t I be like that?  How can I make myself trust God more?”

We say this ad nauseum, but it’s so true and so essential to everything in Scripture, just as the Holy Spirit is completely responsible for regenerating our hearts to bring us to salvation in Jesus, He is also completely responsible for sanctifying us.  And just to clarify, sanctification is the maturation process by which we become more and more like Jesus (or the more literal definition, becoming more holy). 

 In Romans 15:15, Paul writes, “I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”  What Paul is saying that we, as Christians, need to witness to people over and over again, but realize that it is up the Holy Spirit to actually change them. He is not saying that his preaching is what would make the Gentiles acceptable to God.  

Yeah. And you need to just look at other verses Paul wrote like Romans 8:30 – “And those he(God) predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” to see that Paul knows it is the work of the Holy Spirit that not only saves us, but sanctifies us.  But since we never know when God will allow us to be part of process of His saving or sanctifying a soul, we should be witnessing our faith constantly to others.  

So what does this have to do with the book of Daniel?  In this episode, we are going to dig into chapter 3. In it, we’ll see King Nebuchadnezzar who had a  really good reason to trust God, but doesn’t. And on the other side, we see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who had a really good reason to doubt God, but don’t. One big similarity between both of their stories, is that the sovereign Hand of God firmly in control.

          Just to remind you from last week, after Daniel told and interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, he said in Daniel 2:47, “Truly your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings.” The king put Daniel in a high position and put in charge of Babylon. He was even allowed to have his buddies, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, serve as administrators. It’s easy to think that at this point, King Nebuchadnezzar was converted and now worshipped Yahweh.  However, as we are going to see only a few verses later, this is not even close to being the case.

          Okay, let’s start reading chapter 3 of Daniel. 3:1 – 7, “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits[a] and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” 

          There is some difference of opinion as to whether chapter 3 happened right after chapter 2, or if it was some years later. And we aren’t completely sure, but either way, chapter 3 occurs after the events of chapter 2. And we say that, because as we are going to see, not all of the book of Daniel is in chronological order.

If you remember from the last episode, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a large statue, and here we see him building that statue from his dream. We aren’t told whether this statue is a tribute to himself, a pagan god, or something else.  We only know that it appears to be inspired by the dream he had.  

Charles Spurgeon points this out, “He seems, indeed, to have turned the blessing into a curse, and made the image of his dream the pattern of the idol he set up for the nation to worship; thus making that through which God had graciously revealed his power and wisdom, the very instrument of his folly and vain glory.”  If you remember the statue from his dream, it was made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay.  This statue he builds is all gold and is 90 feet high by 9 feet wide! It probably was not made of pure gold. There is no way even a king had that much gold. Most likely, it was made of wood and completely overlaid with gold. Think about the work that went into building a statue 90 ft high by 9 feet wide in the ancient world! No cranes, no nail guns, no drills, just a heck of a lot of man power!

Yeah, and Babylon was known throughout the ancient world for its many statues. They had a lot of statues and idols set up all over the land, but for sure, this one is off the charts for grandeur even in Babylon . So what was Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose with this statue? Well, given the interpretation he got of his dream, you have to conclude that this is King Nebuchadnezzar directly thumbing his nose at God. If you remember, the statue in his dream represented the demise of the earthly kingdoms to come and the establishment of God’s everlasting Kingdom.  That fact that King Nebuchadnezzar is building a statue similar to the one from his dream all out of gold (which represented Nebuchadnezzar’s own strong reign) is his defying God saying that his kingdom will not be destroyed.

In other words, Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is all gold meaning that his kingdom will live on.  His statue / kingdom is not made of inferior materials like the statue of his dream, so it will endure. Once again, flipping back to the end of chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed that Daniel was able to not only interpret, but know his dream. If you remember, he fell down prostrate as a sign of respect for God. However, never did we, or do we at any time after, see the king repenting of his pagan ways and actually turning to God. So while he may have been amazed by God, there wasn’t heart change. And we see this with several pagan kings in Scripture. King Abimelech of Egypt with Abraham, the king of Nineveh when Jonah went and preached to them, King Cyrus, to name a few. They were amazed and awed by God, but they weren’t converted to followers of God. That’s the reason all of the other kings and here in Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar turns back to his pagan ways of idol worship. In fact, instead of worshipping God, he is now competing with Him! 

King Nebuchadnezzar summons the Satraps  which were local rulers, Prefects which were chief officers or magistrate, Governors, and all of the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he made.  At the end of chapter 2, Daniel was made ruler over the entire province of Babylon and would have been one of the ones summoned to be there for the dedication.  So where was Daniel? There are three theories. One is that he was there and acquiesced and bowed down to the statue. I think we can immediately throw out this theory.  Throughout the entire book, Daniel remains faithful to God, never compromising his beliefs, even as we are going to see later when he is threatened with being eaten by lions. A second theory is that as a high official, Daniel was exempted from bowing down. I also have to question this theory. First, the text doesn’t say that any exceptions were made, in fact, it says that the high officials bowed down. Even if he was given an exception, Daniel’s integrity wouldn’t have allowed him to stand by and not fight for his friends. I think the third theory is the most likely. Again, as a high official, Daniel was probably away on state business. This seems the most plausible to me.

The king puts this big orchestra together. When the music starts playing, everyone needs to bow down and worship this ridiculously huge statue. The instruments in this orchestra were from different parts of the world at that time, and by gathering them all together in one orchestra, the king could be saying that he thinks he is the one who will unify the world under his reign. So here he is again competing with God. He wants all nations and all people to worship his statue. This whole grossly excessive display is meant to show that his statue (an ultimately the king himself) is the one worthy of worship, not Yahweh.  

 Let’s continue on reading Daniel 3:8 – 13, “ Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Okay, so the start of a familiar story. The king’s men, who were Babylonians (Chaldea and Babylon are used interchangeably in Scripture) can’t wait to rat out Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for not bowing down to the statue. Shadrach and company were prisoners captured when Babylon overthrew Judah. So here are these prisoners being given high positions in the Babylon government. You can imagine that the native Babylonians were none too happy ab out that – especially the ones that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were over. Their big egos couldn’t bear the thought of a captured Jew being in charge over them. It’s all about jealousy. But the king’s men aren’t the only ones whose egos are out of control. Let’s read on in verses 13 – 15, “Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.[c] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

King Nebuchadnezzar must have really liked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – or at least he must have been impressed with them. Afterall, at Daniel’s request, he put them in high positions in his government. But whatever affinity he felt towards them, quickly sours when they refuse to do his bidding.  He does try to give them a second chance, but it is laced with the threat of death by burning if they refuse. It’s more of an intimidation tactic, then a second chance. And you can see why the king would get furious. It may only take one person to stand up for what’s right against the king to start an uprising. The king couldn’t risk that! Nebuchadnezzar uses the excuse that not bowing down to his statue was breaking the religious law of the land, but make no mistake, what he was really furious about was that he considered not bowing to his statue treason against his reign. Unfortunately, this king is not unique in his beliefs. Kings, leaders, and politicians throughout history have used religion to further their political agenda.  They have often mixed the religious with the political as a means of manipulating people.

  An example of that is in 1936, Herr Baldur von Schirach, head of the youth program for Nazi Germany, said, and I’m quoting,  “If we act as true Germans we act according to the laws of God. Whoever serves Adolf Hitler, the führer, serves Germany, and whoever serves Germany serves God.”   Another example happened in 1960 when the President of Ghana had a slightly larger than life-size statue of himself erected in front of the national house of Parliament. He put an inscription on the side of the statue that read, “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto you.” 

Sounds like the president decided to steal from Scripture. You can also find countless examples in ancient days when emperors, pharaohs and kings thought they themselves were gods.  Homage to them was not just your patriotic duty, it was your religious duty as well.  

Even Judas, before he betrayed Jesus, used the things of God as a means for evil and for his own benefit. We see this in John 12:4 – 6, But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

In verse 15, we see Nebuchadnezzar again challenging God by implying no god, not even Yahweh, could save these boys from his hands. The king has set himself up to be more powerful than God. And if you know your Bible, you know that that never ends well. Let’s continue with Daniel 3:16 – 23,  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics,[e] their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.”

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

One of the problems with this narrative, and a lot of other well-known ones like David and Goliath, Jonah and the fish, etc., is that they are so familiar to us, we can easily overlook the rich theology contained in them. Narratives like this sometimes end up on the same level as Cinderella. This is so much more than a sweet “story” to entertain children in Sunday school class. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego defy the king and refuse to bow despite the threat of death by burning in a furnace. Although we aren’t certain what this furnace looked like, Historical records indicate it was probably a large brick, vault-like structure. It would have been used to pottery, making weaponry, and other things essential to Babylon. We know this because the king orders it heated 7 times the normal heat. So this kiln probably was not just used to burn people to death.

I think this is the best part of this story - Although these guys know God is absolutely able to save them, they have absolutely no way of knowing that He actually will! They forged ahead in faith, knowing it could mean their death, but knowing that saving their life was not the most important thing. The most important thing was staying loyal to God no matter what. What they were facing is the same dilemma followers of Christ have faced since the first century. Thousands of Christians throughout history have had to answer the question, “Do I walk into a torturous death with my faith and trust intact, or do I recant my beliefs  to save my life and later pray that God will forgive me?  

Foxe’s Book of Martyr’s tells story after story of those who were in the same position as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and like them, they knew God could save them, but were willing to die if He didn’t. For those that make it into this book, God’s plan was not to rescue them from a horrific death, and some of them are really horrific. Being gorged to death by bulls, torn apart by lions, burned at the stake with a low flame and starting at the feet to illicit the most pain and suffering possible, stoning, starvation, and the list goes on. I think we need to take a moment, get away from the children’s Sunday School lesson and really appreciate what these men and so many others experienced.  

This all reminds me of Mercy Me’s song, “Even if” The chorus says,

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is you alone.

I know the sorrow and I know the hurt

Would all go away if you just say the word,

But even if You don’t

My hope is you alone.

And like this song implies, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego understood that God is completely sovereign. We need to understand that, too. Even if He doesn’t rescue us from death or other painful circumstances, He is our only source of hope. Of course they prayed He would rescue them, just it is completely appropriate for us to pray for deliverance from our circumstances. But they understood that if they did died, it was not King Nebuchadnezzar that ultimately caused their death, it was God’s plan that it be so.

          This is a hard truth to grasp at first. We all want to think God’s ultimate plan is for us to be happy. We want to believe that of course He will save us if He can. But that’s just not the truth. The truth is, that besides being completely sovereign, God has a much bigger plan than we could possibly see or understand. His plan for our circumstances, our suffering, even our death, if far bigger than just how it affects us. And I think, when you grasp that truth – that nothing is wasted with God. Your pain, suffering, sadness, death – nothing is wasted with God. I think that truth is one of the most freeing and hopeful truths in Scripture.

And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood that truth. They were ready to face whatever they had to. And they were about to face something pretty scary. I don’t know what the equivalent Fahrenheit temperature of this furnace was, but the fact that it burned up the soldiers who were throwing these three in it says a lot! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown in with robes, turbans, trousers, and other clothes to ensure that they ignited quickly and completely.  They are even tied up to prevent any chance of escape. Talk about over kill! All of this was completely unnecessary. The soldiers who were at the entrance throwing them in burned to death. Was it really necessary to go to extremes to make sure these three burned? 

That’s right. If the soldiers who have their hands and legs free and were presumably in their armor were killed by the fire, why did they go to such extreme lengths dressing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in all of those clothes and tying them up? For that matter, why heat the furnace 7 times hotter than normal?  Can a furnace at 3500 degrees kill you any more than a furnace at 500 degrees?  

Make no mistake that God is controlling all that is going on here, and He definitely has a purpose in it. He wants to make sure there is no doubt at all about who saves these boys. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “ The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. So while King Nebuchadnezzar is completely responsible and accountable for his actions against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God is working through it and using it for His purpose.  

And we see that purpose in the last verses of the chapter. Daniel 3:24 – 31 says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”

This part always boggles my mind. It’s one of those things that makes you just shake your head at how awesome God is. Nebuchadnezzar – a pagan, Babylonian king does not worship the one true God. In fact, he has set himself up in direct competition with Him, yet he is astute enough to recognize that God’s Son! The fourth man in the fire is the Pre-Incarnate Jesus. He appears several times throughout the Old Testament – sometimes in bodily form, sometimes in spiritual form.  These are called Theophanies.  

 

The Septuagint (The Old Testament translated into Greek) says that Nebuchadnezzar heard the boys singing and that made him leap to his feet and look closely at the furnace.  This reminds me of another incident of singing during the worst of circumstances in Acts 16:22-25, “The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 

And Probably also inspired by both of these incidents, many reformers were reported to be singing hymns loudly while they were being burned alive at the stake.

The king probably expected the fire would immediately consume and kill them. Can you imagine the look on his face when he saw them unbound and walking around!  

We don’t know for sure if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew Jesus was physically with them in the furnace. There is nothing in scripture to indicate either way. They definitely knew they were miraculously rescued, not to mention had their bindings undone while in the furnace, but we just don’t know if they could see Jesus with them, or if only their enemies could. 

There’s a story of a missionary that may be similar to this – and I’m going to quote it, “While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured.  I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.  Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, ‘Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.’ At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite.  The young man pressed the point, however, and said, ‘No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.'”

Sometimes we can feel Jesus physically with us and sometimes we may not.  The Biblical truth is that whether we feel or experience Jesus’ presence or not, if we are one of His, He is always there! That is precisely why God says not to trust “feelings” or “experiences” as an authority on the things of God.  As Col. 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” The only place we can get real hope, and be able to have the kind of courage these guys, and so many others have had to be able to stand firm in the Truth of God, is to know that Truth, and trust in that Truth down to our very core!

Notice the minute details given in this narrative. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t even smell like fire! God so completely saved them that even their clothes didn’t have any semblance of having been in or even near a fire! This shows how completely they were saved! Even the guys standing around the furnace would have smelled like fire, but the guys that were actually thrown in it, didn’t smell at all!

 

And then we see a scene we have seen before, just a chapter ago – King Nebuchadnezzar falling at the feet of God. But note, he is still not acknowledging God as his god. He refers to Him as the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. God had not yet become his personal God. I think this is solid proof that God has to regenerate a heart before they come to Him. How could Nebuchadnezzar not worship God as the one true God after he had seen Him do 2 incredibly miraculous things? The answer is because he was still dead in his sin and was still an enemy of God, no matter how much he may have been in awe of Him. His heart was still stone and not seeking for God.

It may seem like a good thing that Nebuchadnezzar is declaring that no one may say anything against Yahweh. However, this is once again forced worship.  Even if it is worship to the right God, it is still forced worship. Forcing people who God has not called to worship Him is just as unfair as the Jews being forced to worship the gold statue. Knowing that God is responsible for calling people to salvation means we can have no expectations of unbelievers. We can witness, show them love and kindness, and talk to them about Jesus, but if they have not had their hearts regenerated by the Holy Spirit, we cannot expect them to worship a God that they do not know and a God they are still enemies with. 

And sadly, that’s where we need to end for today. Thanks for tuning in. We pray you are being edified by the teaching of God’s Word. And if you are, please consider leaving a review for this podcast. And be sure to follow and subscribe to it on whatever platform you listen on, so you won’t miss an episode.

If you have any comments, questions, or feedback, you can always leave a comment or email us at [email protected] Have a blessed day!