Worship VIII Day 10 Christ Be Magnified: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) What prompted Nebuchadnezzar’s rage? (verse 13)

2) What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego communicate by refusing to answer the king’s question? (verse 16)

3) What is the significance of the change in Nebuchadnezzar’s expression in verse 19 from his initial rage in verse 13?

Daniel 3:13-23

13 Then in a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you do not worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders to heat the furnace seven times more than was customary, 20 and he commanded some of the best soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 So these men, in their trousers, robes, head coverings, and other clothes, were tied up and thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Since the king’s command was so urgent and the furnace extremely hot, the raging flames killed those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

Original Intent

1) What prompted Nebuchadnezzar’s rage? (verse 13)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, regarded in historical records as a ruthless and arrogant king, seized Jerusalem and took the Jews captive. The Bible tells us it was God who allowed this as a consequence to His people for their continuous rebellion against Him. (Daniel 1:1-2) After their capture, some of the finest Israelite men from royal descent were ordered to enroll in a three year training program preparing them to serve the king in his palace. Among these were four young men from Judah: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (1:1-7) Through a series of events, it became evident that these four were the cream of the crop. Chapter 2 records Daniel’s appointment as one of Nebuchadnezzar’s top advisers following his correct interpretation of the king’s dream which no one else could explain. It appeared the king himself had come to believe Israel’s God was worthy of worship, and he appointed the other three men as administrators in Babylon. (verses 46-49) It’s uncertain how much time passed between their appointments and the events recorded in chapter 3, but we learn that sadly the king’s heart had not fully grasped the unique nature of Yahweh. (Why it Matters that God is Yahweh) Though it’s not clear from the biblical text, many leaders in church history believe the gold statue Nebuchadnezzar erected was actually of himself.  (biblehub.com) Whether or not it was a replica of himself, the people knew they were to worship the statue. So, they all began to bow. Except for those three young men. It was the same Jewish all-stars Nebuchadnezzar had appointed as managers who refused to bow. (verses 10-12) After the news reached him, the king’s rage ensued. Though he controlled himself enough to reiterate the consequences of their obvious insubordination and offer them a chance to comply, they courageously declined.

2) What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego communicate by refusing to answer the king’s question? (
verse 16)
Although the king’s rage was evident, he paused to make sure the accusation was true because it seemed so absurd. His first question was about the allegation and his second was about their God. This scene is like two other events in Scripture which expose the schemes of our enemy who is behind every one of these situations. The devil came to Eve in Genesis 3:1-4 and came to Jesus in Matthew 4:8-11. “Did God say?” is Satan’s favorite question. He overtly said it to Eve, and he implied it when he tempted Jesus. His goal is always to redirect our worship. Sadly, Eve responded incorrectly. Thankfully, these three young men responded in humble obedience. Their answer communicated a bold declaration, We have a God and it’s not you! They had a clear opportunity to recant and be offered life. The king reiterated in verse 15 the consequences of the wrong choice, yet there they stood, unflinching, proclaiming their allegiance to God alone. In 1:17-19, He had blessed “their obedience, which gave them the courage to obey now, when the stakes were much higher.” (enduringword.com) Their answer demonstrated they had complete trust in their God despite the outcome. They chose to declare their commitment to God based on His character and not the circumstances. (verses 17-18)  It was as if they were saying to Nebuchadnezzar “we know what our God can do even when we do not know what He will do. We serve Him because He’s God. We will not bow to you or any other false god.”

3) What is the significance of the change in Nebuchadnezzar’s expression in
verse 19 from his initial rage in verse 13?
The king was angry at the news of the young men’s refusal to bow. Until now, his rage was somewhat controlled, and his inquiry indicated he hoped they had not understood the decree. Restraining himself while he called for them, he likely had pondered the situation and considered this was not deliberate disobedience. After giving them an opportunity to reconsider their decision, they would certainly agree to bow. However, verse 18 evidences how their actions were indeed intentional. Once he established their firm and well-informed refusal to obey, Nebuchadnezzar was immediately overcome with rage. While he had previously reserved the full weight of his wrath, instead offering them an opportunity to rectify the situation, he now stood facing the three men who knowingly refused his order and even now continued rejecting him. This was so astonishing and disturbing that he was instantly out of control. In the Hebrew (Aramaic), verse 19 is translated “the appearance of his face was altered”. (I picture Marvel’s fictional character the Hulk.) The rage so affected him that his actions took a swift and brutal turn. His urgent order was given to the strongest soldiers and the three men were bound in their full attire and thrown into the hottest fire. Their bold devotion to God roused Nebuchadnezzar’s fierce desire for power, even to the point of causing death, but to the shock of everyone, including that arrogant king, death didn’t come to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (verse 22) We read later in the chapter that God spared these three courageous, faithful men, and the king recognized their delivery as from a mighty God. (verses 27-29)

Everyday Application

1) What prompted Nebuchadnezzar’s rage? (verse 13)
This king clearly had an ego problem, but his most serious issue was his woeful unwillingness to truly acknowledge Who oversaw the universe. Maybe it was his seizure of Judah that led him to believe his own press. (Daniel 1:1-2) Whatever it was, he thought so much of himself he erected a statue on his behalf and told everyone that it was to be their god. (“god: an image of a deity; an idol” – dictionary.com) Anytime we are hesitant to acknowledge that only Jehovah God is worthy of our worship, we are on a slippery slope to self-destruction. When we choose to allow idolatry of any kind to find its way in our lives, we give space for anger to build its nest in our soul. We open ourselves up to defensiveness when we feel threatened by the truth that tells us we are not ultimately in control. “I won’t be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true. If the cross brings transformation, then I’ll be crucified with You.” (Lyrics from Christ be Magnified By Cody Carnes) When we make ourselves the center of our lives, our souls will be ever searching for peace. We will live on the verge of anger, bitterness, and hatred because nothing will satisfy us and we will live in constant fear of losing control.

2) What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego communicate by refusing to answer the king’s question? (
verse 16)
Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up?” Can you imagine the scene?! Nebuchadnezzar’s question gives us the feeling this was a litmus test for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their answer would determine everything that came next. It is one thing to uphold God’s honor by choosing a restrictive diet or specific habit, but to confess that an action was intentional, knowing it will likely lead to an early death, is another. The apostle Peter caved when he was asked about Jesus: Is it true you follow this man? (Mark 14:66-71) I do not really blame him. It is frightening to feel all alone and not know if your confession will lead to persecution. The choice made by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego encourages us to trust God in both big moments and all the small choices of our everyday. We are constantly given opportunities to either bow to the will of God or cave to the pressure to sin. I am so thankful there’s grace for that! (Romans 5) Jesus forgave Peter, and He forgives us, even when we fail to give Him our complete devotion. “I Surrender All” (Hymn by Van de Venter & Weeden) should be more than words in a song. His grace is sufficient to sustain us and strengthen us. But when we do fail, His grace is sufficient. “God’s forgiveness is not about airbrushing out the negative episodes in our histories; rather, it is about actual, real grace that meets actual, real events that we regret.” (Faith in the Fog: Believing in What You Cannot See by Jeff Lucas)

3) What is the significance of the change in Nebuchadnezzar’s expression in verse 19 from his initial rage in verse 13?
Tim Keller defines an idol as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything that you seek to give you what only God can give. . . An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’” (Counterfeit Gods, by Tim Keller) When idols are large and many in our lives, we are at the threshold of great spiritual collapse. The moment we realize God is not the sole object of our worship is the moment we should do nothing else until this is resolved. Our soul will not be at peace until we do. “Great are You, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; Your power is immense, and Your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we humans, who are a due part of Your creation, long to praise You – we who carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that You thwart the proud. Yet these humans, due part of Your creation as they are, still do long to praise You. You arouse us so that praising You may bring us joy, because You have made us and drawn us to Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” (Confessions of St. Augustine, Book I, Chapter 1)

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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