Nebuchadnezzar, king of mighty Babylon had conquered much of the world. The city of Babylon was most beautiful. Its wall was wide enough for 8 chariots. A great river went through the centre of the city. Its hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the world. From Babylon he ruled the world. He had captured Jerusalem and had taken the royal children captive. In Daniel 3
we read about three of them: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:
One day the King made a huge gold statue of himself.
Daniel 3:1: “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was 60 cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon (v1).
Then He commanded everyone to BOW down and worship it when the music played. (talk about pride!)
Daniel 3:4-6: “Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 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; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
He threatened: “Whoever refuses to BOW I will throw them into a fiery furnace” (v6). He said: “You must BOW or else BURN.”
In life we all face pressures to compromise, to do the wrong thing for an easy life, to bow when the music of this world plays, to take the quick fix, to lie and cheat to take the easy way out, to bow to sexual immorality, and peer pressure. The devil says: “Bow to me or I will burn you.” Your faith will be tested to see what kind of stuff it is made of. Some have a superficial faith that depends on environment. While things are OK and those around them are serving God, then they go along. But if circumstances are tough, or those around them are worldly, then they compromise and fall away. True faith is at the core of your being. You trust God whatever is happening around you, or whatever your friends are doing. Pressure reveals what is in your heart, the quality of your faith.
When the music played almost everybody obeyed and bowed: Daniel 3:7: “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.” They fell on the floor before the idol.
Many compromise because they do not have strength in their heart. God's Word in you gives you strength. Get established in the Word, until your heart is fixed trusting in the Lord (see Psalm 112). You must make a quality decision and say: “I will not compromise. I will only worship God.”
While thousands bowed down, 3 young Jewish men stayed on their feet. They refused to compromise and bow. They stood out from the crowd! As a result they were reported to Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 3:12: “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.”
They were loyal to their God, the One and Only God, the Creator of Heaven and earth. He had commanded: “You shall not bow down to any graven image or worship any idol. Worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” They were faithful to God. They stood out in the crowd.
When you don't compromise you too will stand out from the world.
Those who bowed had their eyes on the earth, but God’s eyes were under those who were standing, ready to show Himself strong:
2Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” If you will stand strong for God, He will show himself strong to you!
Do you have the strength to stand under pressure, temptation and persecution? Or are going to bow under the first sign of trouble.
1Corinthians 16:13: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
When Nebuchadnezzar heard about this he was very angry!
Daniel 3:13-15: “Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 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? 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 will be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
He tried to intimidate them: “I will give you one more chance. I will play the music again and if you bow down I will forgive you. But if you do not worship, I will cast you into the fire.”
In other words: “Bow or Burn.”
Then he said: “Who is that God that shall deliver you
out of my hands?” (v15). He said: “I am the King.
I am more powerful than your God. Worship me!”
Daniel 3:16: “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar we are not careful to answer you in this matter.”
Daniel 3:17,18: “If it be so, 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.”
When the pressure comes upon you, saying give up, you must be like these young men. You must not stay silent (intimidated) or you will come under that control. Under pressure, USE YOUR MOUTH! Declare your faith in God. Speak your faith to the things coming against us. Don't be passive under pressure. You must open your mouth and declare your faith. Faith has a Voice. If you believe it with your heart, then you need to confess it with your mouth (Romans 10:8-10). If your faith is not strong enough to move your mouth how can it move a pebble, let alone a mountain?
2Corinthians 4:13: “Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I SPOKE,” we also believe and therefore SPEAK”
Hebrews 13:5,6: “For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may BOLDLY SAY: The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 11:34: “BY FAITH they quenched the violence of FIRE.” They showed and released their FAITH by their WORDS! The 3 boys were very brave. They believed in God and made 3 declarations of their faith, each one on a higher level than the last:
*DECLARATION (1) “OUR GOD IS ABLE to DELIVER us.”
Daniel 3:16: “O Nebuchadnezzar we are not careful to answer you in this matter.” (NOT: “Give us a hour to get together and discuss your proposal and we will get back to you!” but: “We don't have to think hard about how to answer you, we have made our decision, because our mind is already made up! We have already decided which God we will serve.”
Never bow to intimidation. “Our mind is made up. If you throw us into the Fire, OUR GOD, whom we serve IS ABLE TO DELIVER US from the burning fiery furnace” (v17a).
“We are not scared or intimidated by you, our God is greater.” Nebuchadnezzar had said: “Who is that God that shall deliver you?” They said: “Our God is able! Our God is bigger than you.”
Not just GOD, but OUR GOD. We have a covenant with God.
RISE UP and SAY in the pressure:
“Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
OUR GOD IS ABLE! Nothing is impossible with God.”
Proclaim in the pressure: “MY God is able!”
Whatever you are facing: “He is able to deliver and help.”
Whatever financial need or sickness: “He is able.”
If he heats the furnace 7 times hotter: “He is able to deliver me.”
Do you believe: “Our God is able”?
The God Who created the universe is able! The God Who split the Red Sea is able! The God Who does mighty wonders is able!
In trouble, the first thing we must proclaim is:
“My God is ABLE! He is able to deliver me. He is able to heal me. He is able to save me from the fiery furnace. He is able
to set me free.” They said: “OUR God is ABLE to deliver us.”
*DECLARATION (2): “OUR GOD WILL DELIVER US!”
Then they said: “and He WILL deliver us out of your hand,
O King” (Daniel 3:17b). That's the spirit of FAITH! Not only is He able to do it, He WILL do it! They knew God would not let them down. God is Faithful! The king said: “BOW or BURN.”
They said: “We will not BOW, and we will not BURN!”
You cannot win by compromising. What you compromise to keep you will lose. You also lose your honour, self-respect and inner strength. But if you stand firm, refuse to give up and trust yourself to God you can't lose. God will not let your problems destroy you, if you will trust Him completely. Let God be your Source of Deliverance. You have nothing to lose by trusting God. Because if you compromise you will lose it all anyway.
I used to think their 2nd Confession of Faith is the highest Level of faith and that they should have stopped there, but they went on to make a 3rd Declaration:
*(3) WE WILL WORSHIP GOD WHATEVER HAPPENS
Then they said (Daniel 3:18): “even if he does not deliver us, we will still be faithful to Him, we will still worship Him.
We will not serve your gods or your golden image, O King.”
I thought that after this was a let down after the previous Declaration, but this is actually the highest kind of faith, that trusts God whatever happens: 'Even if I burn I will not bow. I will still worship God.' This is not lack of faith. This was their total dedication and submission to God. They were 100% loyal to God. Some people only serve God when things go their way.
Do you have this kind of faith in you? Or do you just follow God when things are going well?Are you like these young men? Will you never bow - whatever you are feeling - whatever happens - whatever your friends are doing? They said: “We will never bow, we must be true to our God.”
Daniel 3:19-21: “Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace 7 times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valour who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 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.”
He was very angry and commanded the furnace to be heated
7 times hotter! This was not strength showing, but weakness.
He was rattled by their bold confession. The strong confident faith radiating out of the young men through their words made him worry that their God was real and stronger than he was, well able to save them! He was very nervous after their bold confession!
If you hold fast a strong confession of faith it will impact those around you. So just in case their God was going to protect them, he turned up the temperature, just to make sure! Moreover, he used his best and strongest men to bind them and throw them into the fire, again to make sure God would not help them escape. Also he bound them up everyway possible. He was afraid now of their God!
Daniel 3:22-23: “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. And these 3 men... fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.” So, they were thrown into the fire.
Here we see what happens to compromisers, the men who were the first to bow, so as to not be burned. They burned! The fire was so hot that they were killed by the fire - the terrible price of compromise! (v22). What you compromise to keep, you will eventually lose in the fiery trials of life. They tried to keep their life and they lost it. If you BOW, you will BURN. Compromisers have no power to endure the fires of life - they are combustible, they will burn. They have no strength to face the fire. They end up losing everything. You can't win by compromising, but if you keep faith in God you can’t lose - for He will turn up in your trial.
Daniel 3:24,25: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar (who was still nervous from their confession and so was watching to see if they would burn) was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his Counselors, “Did we not cast 3 men bound into the midst of the Fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see 4 men loose, walking in the midst of the Fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the 4th is like the SON of GOD.” Nebuchadnezzar had a big surprise!
He said: “I thought we threw 3 men into the Fire.”
His counsellors said: “That's right, O King, 3, definitely 3 men.”
The King said: “Look, I see 1,2,3,4 men. Who is the 4th Man in the fire?” He said: “I see 4 men loose, walking in the middle of the Fire. Who is that 4th Man - He looks like the Son of God?”
“They should be burnt up, but the flames are not touching them. They were bound, but now they are free to walk. That 4th Man must be protecting them. He must have loosed them. They are walking and talking with the 4th Man. Who is the 4th Man?”
They would not BOW, so they could not BURN.
Because they did not compromise the 4th Man turned up in the Fire, and caused the Fire to have NO Power over them.
Daniel 3:26,27: “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 they came from the midst of the fire. 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.”
Isaiah 43:1,3 was fulfilled: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.....
When you walk through the Fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God.”
The trials of life are like a fiery Furnace, but if you refuse to compromise, the 4th Man will be with you too. If you don't BOW, you can't BURN. Look to God, and you will meet Him in the fiery trials. He will be with you. He will untie you and loose you. He will walk and talk with you. The Fire won't touch you or hurt you. When you come out, you will not even smell!
Why? Because the 4th Man will be with you in the Fire!
If you do not compromise, the Fire will not touch you.
It will even work for your good. You will not be hurt by it.
The bondage of the enemy will be LOOSED off you and you will end up promoted just like the 3 young men. We also have to face our own fiery furnace of tests, trials and temptations. They are not sent from God, but from the enemy to pressure you into compromising. If you trust God, He will be with you in the Fire. You will be under His protection. If you trust Him, He will deliver you and manifest Himself to you.
God does not put you into the fiery Furnace, but He will bring you out. He does not make the Fire, but He will give you power over it, and bring you though it with your character strengthened!
He does not bind you - but He will LOOSE you from your bonds! He does not bring sickness, but He will heal you!
Your problems may be real and big, but not as big as these young men faced, not as bad as being thrown into a fiery Furnace! If you had the choice of your problems and this Fire, I know what you would choose! If they could stand firm in faith in the trial, then so can you! If you bow, you will never meet the 4th Man in your problem. If you bow, you will be running from satan in fear all your life, dominated and intimidated by him.
Problems come to all, but you can go through them with the 4th Man, if you do not bow. They are even opportunities to grow stronger. If you give your life to God, then you too will meet the 4th Man in the fiery Furnaces (trials) of life. If you don’t BOW, you won’t BURN. The 4th Man will be with you and save you. He will be with you in trouble, and will deliver you and promote you! He will show up and help you through your troubles at home, at work, with sickness and money, and whatever situation you face.
*When they came out of the Fire, there were only 3 men again!
The 4th Man had disappeared. Where! He had gone to deliver someone else, who was saying: “I will not bow.”
*BUT WHO IS THE 4th Man?
Daniel 3:28-30: “Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His ANGEL (Who is He? He is called the Son of God and now the Angel of the Lord) 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! 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.”
Then the King PROMOTED them in the province of Babylon.”
King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he said:
“This God is greater than me. Let them worship their God.”
He became a believer. Your greatest witness to the world is how you come through the fiery trials of your life with faith in God.
They see you not bow and they see the 4th Man turn up to help
you and that your clothes are not singed. He said: “There is
no other God that can deliver after this manner.”
Then he promoted them to a high position. If you are faithful to God, He will bless and promote you, because you trust in Him.
Nebuchadnezzar said to His Counsellors: “I see 4 men in the fire and they are not hurt.” They all questioned each other: “Who is the 4th Man?” Nebuchadnezzar said: “I don't know, but he looks different, majestic and radiant, like the Son of God!”
Who is the 4th Man?
I will tell you who He is! He is the central Person in the Bible.
The whole Bible is about Him. It only makes sense when you see Him there. He appears in every Book (John 5:39, Luke 24:25).
Who is this 4th Man?
*In Genesis, He is the SEED OF THE WOMAN -
the One prophesied to be born of a virgin, who would suffer a fatal wound yet at the same time crush the head of the devil under foot.
He is our Noah's Ark - our Refuge from judgement
He is our Isaac - God's only Son sacrificed for us.
He is the Angel of the Lord who wrestled with Jacob.
*In Exodus - He is the Burning Bush. He is the Passover Lamb, whose blood delivers us from certain destruction.
In Leviticus - He is our GREAT HIGH PRIEST
In Numbers - He is the PILLAR OF CLOUD BY DAY
and the PILLAR OF FIRE BY NIGHT.
In Deuteronomy - He is the PROPHET LIKE UNTO MOSES
In Joshua, He is the CAPTAIN OF OUR SALVATION
In Judges, He is our JUDGE AND LAWGIVER
In Ruth, He is our KINSMAN-REDEEMER
In Samuel, He is our TRUSTED PROPHET
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our REIGNING KING
In Ezra, He is our FAITHFUL SCRIBE
In Nehemiah, He is the REBUILDER of the broken down walls of human life.
In Esther, He is the DELIVERER from our enemies.
*In Job, He is our EVER-LIVING REDEEMER,
for Job says: “For I know my Redeemer lives.”
*In Psalms, He is our SHEPHERD, our SHIELD, our ROCK,
our FORTRESS, our STRENGTH and our SONG.
In Proverbs, He is our WISDOM
In Ecclesiastes, He is our DELIVERER from FUTILITY
In the Song of Solomon, He is our BRIDEGROOM,
AND the LOVER of our soul.
*In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counsellor,
the Mighty God, the Source of Eternal Life.
He is the Suffering Servant, bearing our sins and sicknesses, He is our SALVATION, from Whom flows the waters of life,
the ANOINTED DELIVERER, binding up the broken- hearted, opening up the prison-doors and delivering the captives, and giving the oil of joy to the mourning
and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
In Jeremiah, He is the RIGHTEOUS BRANCH
In Lamentations, He is our WEEPING PROPHET
In Ezekiel, He is the Source of the RIVER OF LIFE
*And in Daniel, He is the 4TH MAN in the fiery furnaces of life!
In Hosea, He is the FAITHFUL HUSBAND
In Joel, He is the BAPTIZER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Amos, He is our BURDEN BEARER
In Obadiah, He is the MIGHTY TO SAVE
In Jonah, He is the ONE RISEN FROM THE BELLY OF HELL after 3 days and 3 nights.
In Micah, He is the ETERNAL ONE,
born as the BABE OF BETHLEHEM
In Nahum, He is the AVENGER OF GOD’S ELECT
In Habakkuk, He is the INTERCESSOR
In Zephaniah, He is our SAVIOUR,
who rejoices over us with singing and dancing.
In Haggai, He is the RESTORER of GOD’S LOST HERITAGE
In Zechariah, He is the FOUNTAIN opened to cleanse sin.
*And in Malachi, He is the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
RISEN WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS.
**WHO IS THIS FOURTH MAN? - I will tell you who He is!
In the Gospels, He is the Perfect One crucified for our sins.
In Matthew, He is the ROYAL MESSIAH
In Mark, He is the WONDER WORKER
In Luke, He is the SON OF MAN
In John, He is the SON OF GOD,
the BREAD OF LIFE, the LIGHT OF THE WORLD,
the DOOR to eternal life,
the RESURRECTION and the LIFE,
the TRUE VINE.
the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE,
the GOOD SHEPHERD, laying His life down for the sheep
In Acts, He is the RISEN LORD working
In Romans, He is our JUSTIFIER
In Corinthians, He is our SANCTIFIER
and our VICTORY over death.
In Galatians, He is the REDEEMER FROM THE CURSE
In Ephesians, He is the CHRIST of unsearchable RICHES.
In Philippians, He is the GOD Who SUPPLIES all our NEEDS
In Colossians, He is the FULLNESS of the GODHEAD Bodily.
In Thessalonians, He is our SOON COMING KING
In Timothy, He is our MEDIATOR between God and man
In Titus, He is our FAITHFUL PASTOR
In Philemon, He is the FRIEND, who sticks closer than a brother
In Hebrews, He is the BLOOD of the Everlasting Covenant
In James, He is our GREAT PHYSICIAN
In Peter, He is our Chief Shepherd,
soon to appear as the Bright Shining Morning Star.
In 1,2 and 3 John, He is LOVE
*In Jude, He is the LORD coming with 10 thousands of the saints.
*In the Book of Revelation:
He is the LORD OF LORDS and the KING OF KINGS,
the ALPHA and OMEGA, the FIRST and the LAST,
the BEGINNING and the END,
the CONQUEROR of DEATH and HELL who declares: “I am the Living One, I was dead, but behold I am alive forevermore.”
*WHO IS THIS FOURTH MAN, Who showed up in the fiery furnace? Who is it who will show up in your fiery furnaces,
if you don't bow, if you stand on God's word uncompromisingly?
He is JESUS OF NAZARETH,
the SON of the LIVING GOD,
our SAVIOUR, our LORD and KING!
JESUS CHRIST is the 4th MAN!
This is a Picture of what He will do for you too. He will turn up for you in your fiery furnace! He will save you from the fires of life and of Hell, if you trust in Him. Whatever you are facing, He is enough to bring you through and to deliver you. In your fiery trial, if you refuse to bow, if you do not compromise, He will show up for you!