Daniel 3:28, An Unbeliever’s Review Of God’s Servants
1. God’s Servants Really Do Trust In God
2. God’s Servants Obey God Before Man
3. God’s Servants Willingly Accept Consequences
4. God’s Servants Worship God Only
Daniel 3:28, An Unbeliever’s Review Of God’s Servants
Daniel 3:28, An Unbeliever’s Review Of God’s Servants
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Well, as we look at Daniel Chapter 3 tonight, we're really going to focus in on just a few verses towards the end of the chapter there. And so we'll be looking at verses 20. 6 through 30. In just a moment, but I want to kind of give a little bit of a recap of the chapter. To bring us up to speed before we dive. Into these verses. This here in Daniel Chapter 3 we're diving into an account where these three guys Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are with Daniel in Babylon and we studied through Jeremiah and we saw him prophesying to the people of Jerusalem as Babylon was coming and attacking and taking people away. Captive well, Daniel, as well as Shadrack, Meshach and Bendigo were part of the first group that were taken captive when Babylon first conquered Jerusalem. Back in 605 BC and so in that time they took a bunch of people captive, taught them the ways of Babylon, and put them into service in the Kingdom of Babylon, and so Daniel, as well as Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are three or four people who are embedded in Babylon, and it really gives a whole different context. Then what we are typically looking at when we're looking at the prophet Jeremiah and his ministry, which was to the Jewish people, or we look at the prophet Ezekiel as we just finished that book this past week that Ezekiel was prophesying, although he was in Babylon, his ministry was directly to. The Jewish people. They're in Babylon with him. Well, as we come to the Book of Daniel, I always like to look at Daniel and and think of it in the context of today, like this is how to be a witness in the workplace. This is how to operate as an agent of the Lord in the workplace, because what we have here with Daniel, as well as Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego. Is we have them obeying the Lord and walking with the Lord in the midst of a context that is unbelievers and they're in their business. They're in their occupation in government. Missions with unbelievers all around them, serving the Lord and giving honor to him. Well, in this occasion here in Daniel Chapter 3 King Nebuchadnezzar is quite full of himself, and so he builds a statue 90 feet tall, and he commands everyone. He brings all the government. Officials together and commands them to bow down and worship this image whenever the music is played. But these three guys Shadrack Meshach and Abed nego do not bow down and worship at the appropriate time, and so there's some tattletales amongst the group. Some jealous leaders, perhaps, and people who are not fans of these three guys, and so they run to King Nebuchadnezzar and said, hey, there's these three guys that they don't listen to you. They don't respect you or your gods, and they don't bow down when the music is played and so. Nebuchadnezzar investigates calls them into give account and gives them one more chance. He says OK guys, I understand you didn't do it before. Maybe that was a mistake we're going to do it again. Right now we're going to play the music and you must bow down and worship before this statue. But these three guys, you might call them the three amigos. They state their intention. They say we it doesn't matter. King Nebuchadnezzar you can play the music if you want to again, but you don't need to do that. We don't really need to talk any further. We are going to obey God and we will not bow down to this image that you have fashioned and set up. And so Nebuchadnezzar becomes furious and throws them into the fiery furnace, making good on the threat that was applied to the original request to worship the statue. He said anybody who doesn't will be thrown into the fiery furnace and so now Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are thrown in. He actually heats it seven times hotter. Because he's so angry and he throws them in or he has them thrown into the fire. But there in the fiery furnace as you read through the account here in Daniel Chapter 3, Jesus appears with these guys a figure like the son of God. It could have been any. Visual, but it's also easy to see this and understand as probably Jesus with them. A pre Incarnate existence or appearance of Jesus. And so he shows up with them. They're not harmed by the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar begins to see something going on. He sees this fourth person. They're walking around. They're not harmed by the fire. And so he's quite amazed. He calls them out of the fire. And then we're that kind of brings us now to verse 26 here in Daniel Chapter 3 and so. Let's read verses 26 through 3. 30 to 0 in. On the things that the Lord has for us tonight. Daniel Chapter 3 verse 26 says then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spoke, saying, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego servants of the most high God, come out and come here. Then Shadrack, meshach. And Abednego came from the midst of the fire. And the satrap's administrators, governors, and the Kings counselors gathered together. And they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power. The hair on their head was not singed, nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke saying blessid be the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego. Who sent his Angel 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. Verse 29. Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrack, Meshach and abednego 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 Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego in the province. What is we? Consider your word and these guys and their example that they said, I pray that you would impact our hearts, Lord, that we might be your faithful servants and faithful witnesses like these guys. Give us strength and boldness and courage. Lord to walk with you in this way. I pray this in Jesus name. I wonder if you're the kind of person who leaves reviews when you purchase products on Amazon. When you visit a restaurant you know are you typically going in and letting other people know what your experience was and what you enjoyed or what you disliked about that leaving reviews? About the products or services or restaurants that you are engaging with here in Daniel Chapter three, we get a review from King Nebuchadnezzar. I've titled the Message Tonight and Unbelievers Review of God servants. If there was, you know, Yelp back then in Babylon and. The subjects was Shadrack, Meshach and Bendigo and their faithfulness to the Lord Nebuchadnezzar would have went on their profile and said I just had an experience with them. I I want to tell everybody about it and here in these closing verses of Daniel Chapter three we get Nebuchadnezzar speaking. We get a record of what? He says, and his assessment of the situation and these guys, these servants of the Lord, looking at verse 28 again, it says Nebuchadnezzar spoke saying bless it be the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego, who sent his Angel and delivered his servants who trusted it. Him and they have frustrated the kings word and yielded their bodies that they should not serve nor worship any God except their own God. If there was. A review site or service for Servants of God, and someone posted this on our profile. I think that would be. A great commendation, a great thing to say that we are faithful to serve the Lord and are being his witnesses and his agents to the world around us. And so I want to encourage you to consider that what if people in your life. Were asked to leave a review of you as a servant of God, and what if they were, you know, encouraged or requested to comment about their observations of your faithfulness to God? Your service of God and and what they observe. Of that in your life. Here King Nebuchadnezzar is a man who is. Interesting man, because of course he was appointed by God and used by God. We saw that clearly in the Book of Jeremiah and Ezekiel how God declared Nebuchadnezzar was his servant, but Nebuchadnezzar did not know God. He had heard of God and had some encounters with God by this time already. A couple of times here in the Book of Daniel, as well as other occasions. But still at this point here in Daniel Chapter three, he does not know God. He does not submit to God. He does not walk with God or really recognize the authority of God. Now in Daniel Chapter 4, we'll see that in the reading tomorrow he does have a much stronger encounter with God and then comes to the place where he testifies of the sovereignty of God. Overall things and so this is part of the progression of Nebuchadnezzar's encounter with God, and so part of God's work in Nebuchadnezzar's life included this encounter with these three guys, where they would leave an impression upon him, and they would make an impact on him. That work was instrumental in part of God. Work in opening Nebuchadnezzar's eyes to the reality and truth of the true and living God. Whenever I get to the book of Daniel, I always think about it in those terms that that it's about kind of being a witness that Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are witnessing to the world around them. They're they're in secular environments in workplace environments and government environments and and so we can understand. The Prophet Daniel and these experiences that he has and these three friends of Daniel Shadrack Meshach and a Bendigo. There there being a witness in the workplace now I think you can also extend that on. And consider that you know depending on your circumstances and situation, that there's great encouragement here for us. If you're in the occasion where you need to be a witness to your family, like maybe the workplace witness is not so relevant to you. But there in the midst of your family, there is the need for that testimony. And witness of one who is faithful to walk with the Lord and serve the Lord Jeremiah ministered to God's rebellious people. Ezekiel ministered to God's rebellious. People Daniel Shadrack, Meshach and Bendigo ministered to people who did not know God at all, and so they were called to represent him and and as that they they give us really a great example and model to follow. That we would serve the Lord in a similar way. That people around us, if they were prompted, would be able to leave a similar review and say that we were faithful to the Lord and that they understood and recognized our service unto God. And so there's four things I'd like to walk through as we look at this passage. Daniel, Chapter 3. We're going to really just zero in on verse 28. To see four things out of King Nebuchadnezzar's review of these three guys and unbelievers. Review of God servants starting with point #1. God servants really do trust in God. Here's what Key Nebuchadnezzar finds noteworthy and a little bit astounding. He says again in verse 28, Nebuchadnezzar spoke saying bless it be the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego, who sent his Angel and delivered his servants. Who trusted in him? And so Nebuchadnezzar is praising God. He's saying, wow, God is good. He's blessing God for the work that was done in his servants. But but he's also recognizing the characteristics of these servants that motivated God and moved God to work in this way. And so it was the first thing here is that they trusted in. And we can see their faith, their trust in God very clearly. It doesn't require faith to be thrown into a fiery furnace, right? Like anybody can be thrown into a fiery furnace whether they have faith or not. It doesn't require faith, but but as these guys are called to give account of themselves, you can see their trust in God Nebuchadnezzar. You can see it and we also can see it if we look at verses 16 through 18 here in Daniel Chapter 3 it tells us Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king. Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from your hand oking. But if not, let it be known to yoking that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set. Here these three guys, when they're called to stand before Nebuchadnezzar and explain why they haven't bowed down, and he's giving them another chance. And they say, don't bother, there's no need for us to answer you in this matter. Our decision has already been made. This isn't another decision point we've already made. The decision we serve. And he's able to deliver us. They didn't have any question about God's ability to deliver. It is interesting though. As you look at verse 18, but they say, but if not, even if God does not deliver us and so either way these three guys, whether they live or die from this ordeal, they are trusting. God, they have already settled the issue. They're not going to compromise. They are going to trust God and whether they live or die, both are acceptable to them because they trust God with their lives. When Nebuchadnezzar said that they trusted in him there in verse 28, the word trust. It means to set one's trust upon. To trust something is to rest fully and completely upon it. Every time you jump. You're trusting in gravity. You're jumping with the full expectation, no hesitation, no no question about it. You know what goes up must come down because you trust in gravity. In a similar way, when we trust in God, we are to rest ourselves completely upon God and to give ourselves entirely to him and what he wants to do and how he does things, and whether we live or die those. Are all kind of other. Side points that those don't really matter. Those don't determine whether or not we're going to. Walk with the Lord to serve the Lord God. Servants really do trust. In the context of the workplace, it is tempting to trust in a lot of things we can trust in the income that we are receiving. We can trust in the future opportunities that will be there in the career we can trust in the benefits that are offered there in the workplace. But as servants of the Lord, we always need to come back to this and remember, your workplace does not provide for you. God does your talents don't provide for you. Your intelligence doesn't provide for you. We can't trust in our banks. We can't trust in our investments or our 401K's. We can't trust in. You know the promised opportunities from bosses or employers or people around us. We we can't trust any of that in the way that we can trust God. Resting ourselves fully and completely in him and in his plan. And what King Nebuchadnezzar observes. And these three guys? Is they really do trust in God? They have set themselves completely in the hand of God. And whatever, whatever outcome happens. They trust God to work good from the midst of it. Pastor Thomas Constable says many people today believe that God inspired the Bible, but they do not believe that he can deliver them from their serious personal problems. Much less world problems. There's a lot of people who would look at the Scriptures and have an admiration for them, have great esteem for God and his word. But then when it comes to personal problems, when it comes to practical matters. It's very tempting to trust in our own resources, our own tactics and techniques, our own ideas rather than trusting in God, it's inconsistent. To believe in God. But to not trust in him. For the real things that we need for ourselves and for this world, this world has many great problems, but none of them are greater than what God can handle. God is working out his plans and he is accomplishing his purposes. That's not an issue, and that's not even a question. The question really only is do you trust God to do that? Do you trust God to provide for you? Do you trust God to take care of your family? Do you trust God to minister to your kids? Do you trust God to lead you into guide you? Do you trust God to provide for you in the future? Do you trust God, or have you placed yourself entirely? And completely in the hands of God. Or are you inconsistent? Having a knowledge of God, a faith in God, but. You really don't trust in God like Shadrack, Meshach and Abed nego did as Nebuchadnezzar looks at these guys and writes his review. He's just amazed and astounded they really do trust in God. If the people in your life were asked to write a review of you as a servant of God. Would this be one of the things that they would write down? Would they recognize the trust and the faith that you have in God, and how you have entrusted yourself completely and place yourself in the hands of God? Well, Key Nebuchadnezzar goes on. It gives us point #2 here in verse 28 God servants obey God before man. Because there's right in his review and he's thinking about the situation. He's saying these guys. Really trust God. And it's shown in their obedience to God. Before men there in verse 28 it says they have frustrated the King's word. They have frustrated the King's word. Key Nebuchadnezzar is frustrated in this account that they will not bow according to his command. They will not obey what he said and instead they choose to be what God said and that frustrated King Nebuchadnezzar. They will be God before. Man, now there's a little bit of a double meaning there in that point, and that's intentional. They obey God. When human authorities contradict what God says, their allegiance is to God and so they obey God, but also they obey God before men in the sense that they obey God openly, not secretly not, not only when it's hidden or you know nobody can know. Then they're obedient, but but even if it's exposed and everybody will see. Their obedience to God. They are faithful to obey God. And Shadrack, Meshach and Bendigo are faithful to obey God. And as everybody bows down, these three guys are standing tall. They are standing, refusing to bow and insisting on obedience to God. And so as a result, the King's word is frustrated that word frustrated. It means to be changed or to be altered. They have changed the King's word. They have resisted it. They have not submitted to the King's word, but they've changed it. They've frustrated the King's word, the new living translation puts it this way. They defied the King's command, the English Standard version puts it this way, they. Set aside the King's command. They heard the command they understood. But it and then they set it aside, they changed the command and said, no, we're not going to do that. We are going to obey God rather than man. Again, looking at verse 16, we see this clearly Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king. Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. Here's King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, the one who has the most authority on the face of the Earth at this time. He is a King of kings. In some regard. He is the ruler of the whole Babylonian Empire. The whole whole known world. And they stand before this man of such great authority. And they say we have no need to answer you in this matter. Here is the interact with key Nebuchadnezzar. I think it's. Noteworthy to consider their approach and their tone as they're interacting with. They're very clear, and they're very firm, but they're also not disrespectful. In fact, I I think you could categorize their interactions with Key Nebuchadnezzar as gentle respectful, while at the same time being bold. They're saying we we're trusting God. And if you're going to throw us in the fiery furnace though, that's what you're going to. Do God's. Able to deliver us. He may not. But either way verse 18 they say, let it be known to yoking that we do not serve your gods, their position, their stance is very clear. But at the same time, they're not approaching Nebuchadnezzar in a way that is directly disrespectful. It's disrespectful from Nebuchadnezzar point of view, of course, because they're not obeying him there or being God instead, but. But they're gentle. There is an air of respect as they approach. They're they're stating their case and making it clear. While being faithful to the Lord. They were addressing the king and in a way that is noteworthy and admirable. I would suggest Pastor Thomas Constable says as Daniel. Before them had. Been courteous in his request to follow his convictions, so these three verbally acknowledged Nebuchadnezzar King while committing their ultimate allegiance to the King of Kings. Referring back to Daniel Chapter one and his request not to eat of the defiled meats that had been sacrificed to idols. He was courteous as he went about that exchange. Daniel was and as he goes about it, he's strategic and wise and interacting in a way that is not just, you know in your face. Disrespect or against the authorities, but but it's a way that. Is clear that. I I do not feel right about this. I don't think this is right for me, and so I'd like to try to work out a way for us to compromise and for me to hold fast to my convictions. While being you know, in good fellowship or good relationship with the authorities and so this is a similar pattern here with Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego. They are gentle and respectful in their approach and in their interaction with King Nebuchadnezzar. That same time they're bold and clear. Sometimes we can be gentle and respectful, and in doing so we compromise our convictions. We compromise what God has said or were wishy washy. In our commitment to the Lord. Or sometimes we're bold and very clear as we interact with people, but but we've lost the respect and the gentleness. That is, you know apparent in these guys as they interact with key Nebuchadnezzar, that that there's this combination here that that we need to kind of focus in on, and allow the Lord to work in US. I would suggest we see the same kind of gentle, respectful boldness in Jesus when he stands before Pontius Pilate in John Chapter 9. A-Team And he was silent in the midst of the accusations, and the trial that was going on, Pilate said to him, are you not speaking to me? Do you not know that I have the power to crucify you and power to release you? And Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against me unless it had been given to you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered me to you. Has the greater. Sin Jesus interacts with pilot in a way that he he makes it clear he doesn't have to do what Pilate says he's going to, you know, follow the authority. Of the father. He recognizes the authority of the father over the authority of Pilate, Pilate. You've been given this power. You you don't have this intrinsically, but you have been granted this position by the father. He gave it to. You and so you know. I'm not so concerned about your power and your authority, and so he's gentle. He's respectful and at the same time bold and clear about where he stands and the one that he is submitted to. I would suggest we see the same kind of gentle, respectful boldness in the apostles in acts chapter 4. As they are arrested for preaching, the name of Jesus and they're called up before the Sanhedrin. The sand hedron decides we gotta put a stop to this and so verse 18 of Acts 4 says they called them and commanded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Peter says we we don't really have a choice, guys, I understand what you're saying and listen. That's your judgment. And that's up to you to decide whether we obey you rather than God, but we can't help it. We must obey God, and we must testify to the things that we have seen and heard.
There's a clarity on where they stand and what their intentions are. It's a boldness. In fact, it tells us they saw the boldness of these guys and realized that they had been with Jesus. There's a boldness there, but at the same time there wasn't. You know, name calling or slandering it was it was a gentle, respectful boldness as they interacted with. Those in authority over them in this man. There I think that's a good example. A good model for us frustrating authorities is not to be kind of the norm for us. As believers, I would say Romans Chapter 13 talks about the importance of us being subjects to governing authorities. Paul tells us in Ephesians Chapter 6, bondservants. Should be obedient to those who are the masters and representing their for us a little bit. The employer, employee relationship and and how that is to go. And so there is to be a submission. Generally speaking, to authorities. But but when authorities contradict God well then servants of God. Must obey God before man. They must submit to God, even if it is in contradiction to what the authorities here on Earth desire and require, whether that's in the workplace, whether that's in the family, whether that's in society or the community, we must obey God before man. And So what if people in your life? We're asked to review you as a servant of God. Would would they be able to testify to this kind of obedience and allegiance to God, that there was a willingness to to be bold and and yet gentle and respectful in sticking to what God has said above? What man has required or requested? Well, the review. Continues on here in verse 28 to give us point #3 and that is God. Servants willingly accept consequences. Think about this one for a bit. God servants willingly accept consequences and verse 28 Nebuchadnezzar goes on to say that they yielded their body. They yielded their bodies in this matter in this contradiction against the king, and saying no, we will not bow down. To this statue they yielded their bodies. The new living translation. Yeah, new living translation says. And they were willing to die. They were willing to die. That new international version says, and they were willing to give up their lives. There's a willingness that is bound up in this idea of yielding. They they yielded their bodies. They willingly accepted the decision of the king. Again, looking at verses 16 through 18, you can see them. They say we don't need to answer. You in this matter. Verse 17 tells us if that is the case. Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the from burning. Sorry from the burning fiery furnace. And he will deliver us from your handle king. But if not, let it be known to you. We do not serve your gods. One way or another, we're going to be faithful to God. And and we know that God is able to save us. We don't know that God will deliver us from the fiery furnace, but if he does not, we're OK with that. We trust God in that we are going to willingly accept the consequences. For disobeying the king in obedience to God. This is, I think, a challenging point to consider if the price. Of obeying God is punishment. Then I will obey God, and willingly accept the punishment that that is what is taking place here. Commentator Daniel Atkins says Deliverance and rescue are not the issues. Confession and obedience are even if they cost them their lives. Their main concern here is not deliverance. Their main concern is not rescue. Whether or not God rescues us is not really relevant at this moment. What's important is. Our confession of the Lord. Our obedience to the Lord. And our walk with God. And so if the price of obeying God is punishment. You can do with us as you see fit. Key Nebuchadnezzar if that's the law. We must bow down when the music is played before this statue. OK, that's the law, and if that law requires a death penalty, well, that's the law that that you said it. So we don't have any power to change that. But we're not going to submit to it. And if the cost of obeying God and faithfulness to God is our lives. It's worth it, and so we will give our lives to the Lord in faithfulness to what he has commanded us. Faithfulness to what he has called us to. We always need to remember that you know God has bigger pictures in mind and in store than we can see and often understand. God is working in the life of Kingdom. Genzer, he's revealed himself and worked a couple ways already, but he's going to reveal himself more powerfully in Daniel Chapter 4 and and so we'll see that. But this is part of God's plan. In King Nebuchadnezzar, life got part of God's work, and so here are these three guys, and they say we're we're happy. To play our part. Even if it costs us our lives, we're we're happy to have this element in the plan of God, and in the purposes of God. And so we acknowledge, and we understand we don't think it's right that we should have to suffer for obeying God. But if that's the way things are, well, that's OK. We will accept those consequences and we will serve the Lord. I think the same idea is demonstrated in the apostle Paul as well in acts chapter. As he's on his way to Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit has been revealing at all the different stops along the way, that there is going to be some some binding of Paul, some persecution and affliction there, and acts. Chapter 20, verse 22, he says, and see I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will. Happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But notice this verse. 24 vac. But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself. So that I may finish my race with joy and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the Grace of God. Paul says the Lord's been giving me advance notice, giving me sneak preview chains and tribulation awaits, but that doesn't move me. The consequences of faithfulness to God. Does it move me to be unfaithful to God? If it's going to cost me chains and tribulations if it's going to cost me my life, Paul. Says I don't count my life dear to myself. That's not the most important thing to me. What's important to me is that I may finish my race with joy. I need to be faithful to what God has called me too and so for us as we consider these things, we need to understand that God's servants willingly accept consequences. That that we can't have the expectation and we. Can't count our lives as dear to ourselves. And and you know, counting our lives is due to ourselves. We can think about, you, know those kind of occasions where you have to. Choose God or die that you know that's what Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego face and and that's one kind of decision. But we also face this kind of decision in many other ways in our lives where. It's you know, choosing faithfulness to God or a kind of promised security in your role in the workplace or a acceptance in the family relationships or a fellowship. Or you know, place in society that that there is decisions that we have to make and we have to. Be willing to let. Go of this life and let go of even dreams and desires and and those kinds of things in our endeavour to be faithful to God. Listen if it means that I will never get that promotion. OK, I'll accept that willingly. In order to be faithful to God. I need to do what God called me to do and if that means that I'm an outcast from my. Family, I mean I'm sad about that. I'm not like happy about it, but I'll willingly accept that casting out so that I can be faithful in what God is laid before me. And called me too. We choose God above all else, and so God servants willingly accept the consequences, and this astounded King Nebuchadnezzar finally point #4 as we continue on here in verse 28 Nebuchadnezzar finishes the review in this verse and says that they should not serve nor worship any God except their own. God and so point #4 God. Servants worship God only. God servants worship God only. All of this builds to this point. They will not bow down before the statue. They will not bow down before the king. They will not compromise their faithfulness to God. They will worship God and serve him only. They made it very clear their allegiance was to the true and living God. And they would not bow before another. Pastor David Guzik in talking about this is we can imagine the enormous pressure on Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego to compromise everything in front of them. The King, the furnace, the music, their compatriots, their competitors, all of it conspired to convince them to compromise. Yet God was more real to them than any of those things. When you're in the midst of a situation like this, I mean, I can't say I've been in that situation, but you could imagine all of the pressure. All all of these things where everybody everywhere you look is saying you need to submit. You need to change. You need to give up. And yet God was more real to them than all of those things. And they were more concerned about pleasing God. More concerned. About their faithfulness to God. There's an old saying keep the main thing, the main thing. And serving God and faithfulness to God. And allegiance to God above all else is the main thing to know him, to walk with him. It's the mean thing. Now as you look at this account. It's not hard to imagine other scenarios where the outward circumstances are similar. But but the heart of these guys is what's crucial here. God servants worship God only. These three guys could have resisted the king. And refused to bow down and be thrown into the fiery furnace. And it not have been an act of worship unto God. They they could have just, you know, not liked having anybody in authority over them. They could have just not liked. Having the the commands being given and the the forcing of this kind of worship, they they could have rejected authority. In that way they they could have resisted and fought and and experienced the same things, kind of externally, without having their hearts in a place of worship unto God sometimes. Like the revolt or the attention or the show and and there, there could be those. Who would you know? Do a similar thing and stand up when everybody else is bowing down just for the the the fact that they get to stand up when everybody is bowing down. I know this is a little bit of a. Side points, but consider Ananias and Sapphira. They saw other people giving all they had to the Lord and they they liked that idea. They liked that concept. They wanted to be part of that, but not with their whole hearts, and so they put on a show and they sold some property and they gave a portion of. The the amount they received in selling the property, but they labeled it as. This is all that we received. And so they they wanted that attention. They they were putting on that show. But they were not worshipping God only. They put on the show of worshipping God. It looked like from the outside that they were worshipping God except for the Holy Spirit. Could see through them and so through the apostle Peter he calls out their sin and calls out their issue. You can read about that in acts Chapter 5. You know, I think this brings up and kind of stirs up this important thing for us to consider that the idea here is not just stand up to authority or always resist authority or always revolt, or you know, do. These kind of. Elaborate dramatic showings? That's not the point. And you can do that. You can revolt, you can stand up in defiance, you you can put on a show you can do these kinds of things and and not have the main thing be the main thing and not have it be an act of worship unto God. The King Nebuchadnezzar recognizes here these guys worship and serve God. All of the things that they did was so that they could serve God only. All of the things that they did were to this end that they would be faithful and diligent to be devoted to God above all else. And so I would encourage you to consider what if people in your life were asked to review you as a servant of God? What kind of review would they write and would they be able to say? This person worships God. God is the main thing in their life. He's the main passion that they pursue. He is the one that they're seeking after. They're not doing things just to get attention. They're not just you know liking the the conflict and enjoying what happens when they stand up and there's dispute going on. They're they're not just disrupting things for other reasons. But when there is disruption when there is this kind of defiance, it is only in pursuit of worshipping God only. And so. King Nebuchadnezzar summarizes this experience, and these four points. Writing his review of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego, he says, you know God. Servants really do trust in God. That's what I've seen in these guys. They really do trust God. They really placed themselves in his hands and were fine with whatever outcome God wanted. They were going to let God do what he wanted to do. In that situation. God's servants obey God before man they heard my command. King Nebuchadnezzar says they they knew very clearly whether or not there was going to be obedience to that command and what the consequences were going to be. And they clearly made a choice. I saw it. Everybody saw it to be God. In front of us and over us. That obedience to God was more important to them. Than anything else God servants willingly accept consequences. They yielded their bodies key, Nebuchadnezzar says. They were but. If that's going to cost me my life so. Be it I will serve the Lord. If that's gonna cost me my job, if it's gonna cost me my occupation if it's gonna cost me my income if it's gonna cost me my security if it's gonna cost me my wardrobe if it's gonna cost me. By whatever computers or streaming services or entertainment or school or education if it's going to. If it's going to cost me those things, I will willingly accept the consequences. For walking with God and being faithful to God. And then finally God servants worship God only. Nebuchadnezzar says I tried hard. I tried to persuade these guys. I threaten these guys. These guys would not be moved. They would not add to their. Gods that you know they worship, they would not. Bow down before anything else. They would worship God only. They would serve him only. He is the 1st and he is the last in their mind and in their hearts. And this Nebuchadnezzar learns something. Again, this is 1 milestone. You might say in in the journey that God has Nebuchadnezzar honest, he's. Working to open his eyes and reveal himself to King Nebuchadnezzar Key Nebuchadnezzar at this point is not ready. To submit yet? In chapter two we see the dream in the interpretation, and he has an encounter with God in that way through the Prophet Daniel and and he recognizes something about God. He learns a little bit about God, but he wasn't ready to submit himself to God. And recognize God as the the authority over all creation, including himself. Here in chapter three we find kind of the next milestone that that, again, he's he's not there. He knows a little bit about God and some time has passed. But here through this encounter with these three guys, he moves a little bit further. He gets a better understanding of God. He has a better. Opportunity to hear from God and respond to him and then the big lesson for King Nebuchadnezzar is going to come in Daniel Chapter 4 and so we'll get to see that as we continue on. In the reading, but here's my point. In all of this. God's doing a bigger work than. Perhaps Shadrack, Meshach and abednego. Could see in that moment. But they were willing to not know the whole story, to not know the whole thing, and to be faithful to God to walk with God, and to do their part. And if it costs them their lives, they were OK with that. We need to always. Remember, it's it's worth it. Even if it costs us our lives to love God and to serve him, it's worth it no matter what it costs us to be faithful to God and in the midst of our faithfulness to God in the midst of our walking with God, God is using those things to do bigger things that we can't see or understand. His plans go well beyond. Our vision and our site, and so he's able to use those things and that's part of our trust in him that we really do trust God to work out all things together for good. And so we're not going to compromise God's instruction. We're not going to compromise our values or what God is called us, too. We're going to obey God before man. And if that costs us if that is going to solicit consequences from the world around us, then. We need to learn to be OK with that. Not that we have to be happy about. It but but. Also, at the same time, not that we have to be so surprised, or you know, so torn up over it that that we accept. OK, I'm OK with that. God says we're going to have tribulation in this world. We recognize we live in a society that is moving farther and farther away from God. We need to. Understand that there's going to be consequences for obedience to God. And and enter into it willingly recognizing yes. This may cost me significantly, but God's worth it. I trust him, and so I'm going to obey him and worship him alone, no matter what. Is that the review? That others around you would be able to. Write as they evaluate you as a servant of God. I pray that it is also I pray that it is for me. But also recognizing there is much work to do and so Lord, please help us Lord, we pray as we look at these things that you would help us. Let these guys be an inspiration and and a model. An example for us to follow. I pray God that you would help us and teach us and strengthen us to be bold. For you. As a grasp hold of your truth and your word in your instruction. But may we walk with you in faithfulness. May we walk with you in full obedience and allegiance and gotta pray that you would give us great wisdom on the right time to stand up when others are bowing down the right time too. Stand up in defiance against authorities and those around us, Lord. But we don't want to pick battles just for the sake of having a battle. But we want to choose the battles. That will bring honor and glory to you. That will be part of your work in the lives of the people around us. And what if those battles are going to have consequences? Would we want to choose those battles, willingly accepting those consequences, accepting whatever may come? Because what's most important to us, Lloyd is not ourselves and our company. Our enjoyment or our ideas and our goals. Lord, what's most important to us is you your will, your plans and your glory, and so lead us forward. I pray, develop us that we might be more and more clearly your witnesses. Your agents and ministers to the world around us. I pray this in Jesus name.