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Daniel Friends: Chapter 3

The Image of Gold and the Fiery Furnace

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high

and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the
province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects,
governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the
other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he
had set up. 4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you
are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every
language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, and
all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of
gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall
down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing

7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, all the
peoples, fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King
Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the

Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10
You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the
sound of the horn, flute... must fall down and worship the image of
gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be
thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom
you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They
neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach,

Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the
king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship
the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound
of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if
you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very
good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately
into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you
from my hand?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O
Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in
this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God
we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your
hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O
king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold
you have set up."

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and

Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the
furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded
some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21
So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other
clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The
king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the
flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the
blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and

asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and
threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."

25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire,

unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing

furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants
of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27
and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded
around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies,
nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched,
and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach,

Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his
servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and
were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any
god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of
any nation or language who say anything against the God of
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their
houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save
in this way."

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in

the province of Babylon.

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Comment (copied from others):

Why didn’t the three men just bow to the image and tell God that they
didn’t mean it? They had determined never to worship another God, and
they courageously took their stand. The men didn’t know whether they
would be delivered from the fire; all they know was that they would not
fall down and worship an idol. Are you ready to take a stand for God no
matter what? It may be painful, and it may not always have a happy
ending. Be prepared to say, “If He rescues me, or if He doesn’t, I’ll serve
only God.”
The fourth man was probably a pre-carnation appearance of Jesus Christ.
Daniel taken captive to Babylon 605, becomes a Babylonian official;
fiery furnace 600? Nebuchadnezzer dies 562, Daniels first vision 553;
Daniel thrown to lions 539, Daniel’s ministry ends 536.
Revised Standard Version, New King James Version and Life
Application Bible.


In chapter 1 the young men are confronted with the necessity of

changing their diet. What can they do? They feel all the pressure
and they hear all the familiar arguments that any person hears
today to try to get them to give up acting on the basis of faith. They
surely hear the argument, in whatever form it took in those days,
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do." "Everybody else is doing
this; what difference does it make what you eat? So what if you
have a ham sandwich with these Babylonians? What's the
difference?" After all, they are prisoners in a country far away from
home. Their own country has been laid waste. Who will know, or
care, what they do?

They feel that pressure. But these young men stand fast and God
honors them. God gives them the grace to stand despite that
pressure, and as a result they are exalted and given positions of
authority and responsibility in that kingdom. This story of repeated
pressure goes right on through this book.

In chapter 3 you have the story of the fiery furnace. The young men
are commanded to bow down before the image which
Nebuchadnezzar erected, pridefully thinking of the image in his
dream. Because he was told that he represented the head of gold,
that he was the great king of earth, in pride he lifted himself up and
caused an image to be erected on the plain. It was a huge image,
as tall as some of our rockets that we shoot into the sky, and the
whole crowd is gathered on the plain, with these three young men
among them.

When they are brought before Nebuchadnezzar, he orders them to

fall down. Then they say these wonderful words, "O
Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter."
(3:16) They are not being impertinent. They mean that they do not
need to take any time to think over their answer. "We don't need to
take any counsel. We know what to say."

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us

from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of
your hand, O king. But if not..." {Dan 3:17b-3:18a RSV}

Those are words of faith: "But if not." "Our God is able to, but we
don't know the mind of God. His thoughts are greater than our
thoughts. His ways are different than ours. It may be that he won't
do it. But even if he doesn't,"

"... be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your

gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up."
{Dan 3:18b RSV}
Now these are young men who have learned that there are things
more important than life. It is better to be dead and obedient to
God than alive and disobedient to him. It is far more profitable to
the individual concerned to walk with God at the cost of life itself
than to be disobedient to what God has said. God will never be in
any man's debt, therefore he greatly honors these young men. As a
result, they come out of the furnace without even the smell of fire
upon them. You know the record. What an amazing story that is!

Book of Daniel
Author: The Book of Daniel identifies the Prophet Daniel as its
author (Daniel 9:2; 10:2). Jesus mentions Daniel as the author as
well (Matthew 24:15).

Date of Writing: The Book of Daniel was likely written between

540 and 530 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon

had conquered Judah and deported many of its inhabitants to
Babylon – Daniel included. Daniel served in the royal court of
Nebuchadnezzar and several rulers who followed Nebuchadnezzar.
The Book of Daniel records the actions, prophecies, and visions of
the Prophet Daniel.
Key Verses: Daniel 1:19-20, “The king talked with them, and he
found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they
entered the king's service. In every matter of wisdom and
understanding about which the king questioned them, he found
them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his
whole kingdom.”