Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 3

Outline and Background

The Creation - Daniel 3:1

The Ceremony and the Command - Daniel 3:2-7

The Conspiracy and the Coercion - Daniel 3:8-15

The Courage - Daniel 3:16-18

The Coolness - Daniel 3:19-27

The Confession - Daniel 3:28

The Canon and the Commission - Daniel 3:29-30

Application and Typical Prophecies

The Ceremony and the Command - Daniel 3:2-7

Such dedicatory rites were frequently observed in the Ancient Near East. Solomon’s dedication of the Jerusalem Temple is an example (2 Chronicles 7:1-10).

Those summoned to the ceremony were official personnel, not common people. Several hundred, dressed in their finest uniforms, were probably present on the plain of Dura. There is no indication that the participants knew the king’s purpose for summoning them. They might have been under the impression that it was a patriotic or political service.

Daniel may have been absent from the ceremony, perhaps carrying out business elsewhere for the king, or possibly, too ill to attend. The statesman did not have a perfect attendance record on the job.

I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business (Daniel 8:27).

Significantly, Daniel’s office is not listed among the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials. If Daniel were present at the ceremony, the king’s Prime Minister might not have been required to bow down to the image; the king himself remained seated. The Chaldeans would not have been courageous enough to attack the king’s chief advisor if he was present at the ceremony.

THE COMMAND (3:4-7).

Nebuchadnezzar expected obedience at this ceremony. With the finest fanfare of pomp and all kinds of music, the crucial test for the Hebrews was announced: bow or burn!

You must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.

Satan, the great counterfeiter, employs music to set the mood. He uses music to stir the congregation to an emotional fervor in order to plunge them into false religion. All men are religious by nature, and are easily carried away by anything that excites and stirs the emotions.

The command to fall down and worship the golden image violated God’s first and second commandments (Exodus 20:2-6). Bowing down to the image signified an allegiance to whichever false god it represented.

The Babylonian kings were noted for burning people alive (Jeremiah 29:22). Little wonder there was an overwhelming response to Nebuchadnezzar’s command: “Bow or burn!” Once again, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are tested. There are three components to this test:

  1.  Fear man or fear God.
  2.  Sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency or take a stand for it.
  3.  God is able, but will He save?

Any number of excuses to conform could have been employed, such as:

  1.  Why not join the system, you can’t fight city hall.
  2.  We’ll cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar and win him to the Lord.
  3.  A live dog is better off than a dead lion (Ecclesiastes 9:4).
  4.  Daniel our leader is not here to make the right decision for us.
  5.  Our key positions in the government should not be sacrificed.
  6.  Nebuchadnezzar has treated us well; he deserves our obedience.
  7.  We can always ask God to forgive us afterwards.
Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

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Life of the Apostle Paul

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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