Daniel 3

* Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. (1-7) Shadrach and his

companions refuse to worship it. (8-18) They are cast into a

furnace, but are miraculously preserved. (19-27) Nebuchadnezzar

gives glory to Jehovah. (28-30)

1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is

included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with

plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride

and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their

religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest

allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to

the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest

number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad

which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of

music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false

worship has been set up and maintained.
8-18 True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but

superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men's passions.

The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proud

men are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord,

that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

did not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life or

death were not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin,

must not parley with temptation when that to which we are

allured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pause

about it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan.

They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answer

was expected. Those who make their duty their main care, need

not be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithful

servants of God find him able to control and overrule all the

powers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If He

be for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God will

deliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey God

rather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must not

do evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things moved

them. The saving them from sinful compliance, was as great a

miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of the

fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and love

of the world, especially want of faith, make men yield to

temptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliver

them from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to be

meek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obey

God rather than man.
19-27 Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, a

few minutes will finish the torment of those cast into it; but

hell-fire tortures, and yet does not kill. Those who worshipped

the beast and his image, have no rest, no pause, no moment free

from pain, #Re 14:10,11|. Now was fulfilled in the letter that

great promise, #Isa 43:2|, When thou walkest through the fire,

thou shalt not be burned. Leaving it to that God who preserved

them in the fire, to bring them out, they walked up and down in

the midst, supported and encouraged by the presence of the Son

of God. Those who suffer for Christ, have his presence in their

sufferings, even in the fiery furnace, and in the valley of the

shadow of death. Nebuchadnezzar owns them for servants of the

most high God; a God able to deliver them out of his hand. It is

our God only is the consuming fire, #Heb 12:29|. Could we but

see into the eternal world, we should behold the persecuted

believer safe from the malice of his foes, while they are

exposed to the wrath of God, and tormented in unquenchable

fires.
28-30 What God did for these his servants, would help to keep

the Jews to their religion while in captivity, and to cure them

of idolatry. The miracle brought deep convictions on

Nebuchadnezzar. But no abiding change then took place in his

conduct. He who preserved these pious Jews in the fiery furnace,

is able to uphold us in the hour of temptation, and to keep us

from falling into sin.
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