Daniel 3* Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. (1-7) Shadrach and hiscompanions refuse to worship it. (8-18) They are cast into afurnace, but are miraculously preserved. (19-27) Nebuchadnezzargives glory to Jehovah. (28-30)1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably isincluded a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered withplates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Prideand bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow theirreligion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interestallures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy tothe careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatestnumber; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so badwhich the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert ofmusic, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, falseworship has been set up and maintained. 8-18 True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, butsuperstition and devotion to false gods inflame men's passions.The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proudmen are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord,that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednegodid not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life ordeath were not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin,must not parley with temptation when that to which we areallured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pauseabout it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan.They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answerwas expected. Those who make their duty their main care, neednot be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithfulservants of God find him able to control and overrule all thepowers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If Hebe for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God willdeliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey Godrather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must notdo evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things movedthem. The saving them from sinful compliance, was as great amiracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of thefiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and loveof the world, especially want of faith, make men yield totemptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliverthem from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to bemeek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obeyGod rather than man. 19-27 Let Nebuchadnezzar heat his furnace as hot as he can, afew minutes will finish the torment of those cast into it; buthell-fire tortures, and yet does not kill. Those who worshippedthe beast and his image, have no rest, no pause, no moment freefrom pain, #Re 14:10,11|. Now was fulfilled in the letter thatgreat promise, #Isa 43:2|, When thou walkest through the fire,thou shalt not be burned. Leaving it to that God who preservedthem in the fire, to bring them out, they walked up and down inthe midst, supported and encouraged by the presence of the Sonof God. Those who suffer for Christ, have his presence in theirsufferings, even in the fiery furnace, and in the valley of theshadow of death. Nebuchadnezzar owns them for servants of themost high God; a God able to deliver them out of his hand. It isour God only is the consuming fire, #Heb 12:29|. Could we butsee into the eternal world, we should behold the persecutedbeliever safe from the malice of his foes, while they areexposed to the wrath of God, and tormented in unquenchablefires. 28-30 What God did for these his servants, would help to keepthe Jews to their religion while in captivity, and to cure themof idolatry. The miracle brought deep convictions onNebuchadnezzar. But no abiding change then took place in hisconduct. He who preserved these pious Jews in the fiery furnace,is able to uphold us in the hour of temptation, and to keep usfrom falling into sin.
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