“King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wideand set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”
It’s here on the heels of king Nebuchadnezzar command to fall down and worship his idol that we have to consider the:
- COST – 3:6
There are 2 costs here, that of the statue and that of not bowing to it. What did this 90-foot statue of gold cost the king and the country? Which begs the question, how much are we investing in idols today? What is idol worship costing us as a country? The second cost was that anyone who refused to worship this image would be cast into the fiery furnace. They would be persecuted for their Biblical beliefs. Why are we so shocked by this, look what was true 2500 years ago in their culture is what we see in our country today. It’s what Jesus said in Luke 14:27-29: “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.” There is always a COST to following Christ. What about us are we willing to bear the cost of following Christ or are we chasing after comfort? These men chose Christ over compromise because they were faithful followers, not fair-weather followers. Fair-weather followers make decisions based on their circumstances, but faithful followers make decisions based on Christ. Are your decisions based on your faith or on your feelings? Are you following God or a feel good? If we are not careful, we will follow what’s comfortable instead of following Christ. They didn’t just follow God when things were easy and going their way. They were willing to follow God even if it cost them their life. Notice that nothing they did changed, it was the culture and circumstances which changed and made their beliefs stand out a bit more and brought about opposition. Living a Godly life will bring opposition which to many Christians seems counter intuitive. I mean if we are living a godly life, shouldn’t we have an easy life? Well, here is the problem with that thinking, we confuse a blessed life with an easy life. Yes, Scripture clearly teaches that God wants to bless us, but blessing does not always equate with ease of circumstances. Being blessed by the Lord has more to do with experiencing His presence in the midst of life, than it does a problem free life. Living a godly life does not guarantee an ease life. In fact, it guarantees just the opposite, as 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
- CROWD – 3:7
It’s here that we see the contrast between the crowd and those who didn’t bow. When the band began to play the people fell down and worshipped the image. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow and instead stood for what they believed. Are you going to take a stand for what you believe or bow to what you don’t? Who are you going to follow the crowd or Christ? Are you going to cave to the culture and conform or stand for what is right because of your convictions? You will either be conformed by the crowd or your convictions. It’s here that we see that we all have a:
- CHOICE – 3:7
They had a CHOICE live out the beliefs of the culture or live for Christ. Every day we are confronted with CHOICES. We can live out God’s Will or do what WE want. Are you going to choose to look good in the eyes of man or in the eyes of God? Joshua had the same decision to make and he challenged God’s people to make a choice as well, Joshua 24:15: “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”They had a CHOICE whether or not to take a stand. Am I going to stand up for Christ in an anti-Christian culture or cower to the crowd and bow to their beliefs? Not only does living a godly life bring opposition, but it also brings hard Choices. They had to choose between worshiping a false idol and keeping their physical life or worshipping the living God and losing their physical life. It’s the challenge of the second commandment am I going to bow to idols or to Immanuel? What do I love more my life or my Lord? It is not too often in this country that we face a choice which is going to risk our life, unless we believe that sin brings forth death. The second commandment reminds us that it is a choice that comes with generational consequence. A choice that doesn’t just affect our lives but can infect or protect the lives of our children and their children. If you want what’s best for your kids then you will pursue God’s best. Every generation wants it better for their kids, the problem is we have defined better as easier. As a result, we have made it so good for our kids that we have made it bad. Instead of it being better we’ve made brats. Rather than raising soldiers for Christ we are ruining our country with spoiled consumers. If you want to bless your kids make it about the bible not your bank account. You will become what you worship and as Greg Beale says, “what people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.”If you want to ruin your kids worship the things of this world, but if you want to restore then lead them in the worship on the One true God, Jesus Christ. I have been greatly blessed in my life, but it’s not just because of the choices I have made but because I had a Dad who sought to honor Christ not the culture. Thank you Bill Armstrong for modeling not only what a godly man looks like but how he should live and love. Is the way you are living going to unleash God’s lavish love on the next generation or plague them with problems?