8 But some of the astrologers[e] went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in,14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments.[f] But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
As we continue looking at idols it becomes clear that the goal was:
6. CONTROL – 3:8-12
We need to realize that the real battle is one for control. Nebuchadnezzar wanted complete CONTROL of his subjects. But he was not the only one who cared about control. Those who pointed them out did it because they wanted to be in a place of CONTROL of the kingdom. The spiritual battle we are in, is a battle for CONTROL. Who are you going to let CONTROL your life? Your friends, your boss, your wants and desires, people and their peer-pressure or GOD? What was happening to these 3 men was out of their CONTROL. They hadn’t done anything wrong, God wasn’t punishing them, SOMETIMES things happen to us which are beyond our CONTROL. What we need to remember is that when things seem out of control Christ’s is still in control. The reason we don’t live like we believe this is because we tend to base things being under control on our circumstances, when our circumstances are good, we feel like God is good. When it all goes bad, we blame Him. But control is not based on your circumstances it’s based on Christ. Scripture tells us that He is seated at the right hand of the Father, why is He seated because everything is under control. He has already conquered sin and death. King Nebuchadnezzar was not in control, but the King of Kings Jesus Christ was and is. Church it’s time to stop looking to government for control and start looking to God. Are you trusting in political policies or the Prince of Peace? Has politics become your idol? Nebuchadnezzar was just a puppet king, Jesus is the true and all-powerful King. Nebuchadnezzar is no longer around, he is no longer making policy, but Jesus is. Are you listen to the voice of your circumstances or the voice of Christ? It’s here that Nebuchadnezzar because he thinks he is in charge issues the:
7. CHALLENGE – 3:13-15
The King CHALLENGES them to change their mind. He give them a 2nd chance because he thought very highly of them, and didn’t want to lose them. It’s a powerful statement about their character. But we also need to remember that Satan is the of king of second chances. While opportunity may knock only once temptation will knock again and again. Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t just challenge God’s servants he CHALLENGES the power of God. He not only CHALLENGED God when he set up the image for all to worship him, but he CHALLENGED God for His ability to do anything about it. And as he would shortly find out God was up to the challenge. It’s here in the midst of the challenge for control that we see their:
8. CONFIDENCE – 3:16-18
When Nebuchadnezzar challenged them they didn’t even have to think about it! They responded in verse 16, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.”It wasn’t even debatable in their minds. Because they had already determined who their master was. Who is the ultimate authority in your life? They knew that they answered to a much higher authority than this earthly king. What I want you to take away from this is the confidence that they had in their God. They knew that no matter the outcome, GOD WAS STILL GOD!! It wasn’t based on the outcome it was based on obedience. Too often we base our obedience on the outcome, if things work out the way we want we are all for His Will. As a result, our prayer lives are driven by our agenda instead of the Almighty. They understood a truth we seem to have forgotten, that no matter the outcome if it’s God’s Will it’s a win. Even death because death doesn’t end our life it brings us into the presence of the author of life. They chose the Lord over life, but how do you make those kinds of choices in the heat of the moment? You don’t, you need to prepare ahead of time and decide how you are going to live. A soldier doesn’t wait for war to start sharpening their sword, they prepare in advance. How do we prepare, by spending time in His presence. This is prayer based on His presence not just your problems. We need to be in the Word to discover His Will not confirm our wants. The more you know Christ the more confident you will be in your convictions. Because without confidence we are susceptible to compromise. So what about you, who are you letting control your heart and mind? Are you up to the challenge because your eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus or will you cave to the culture? Who is your confidence in, is it self, society or the Savior?