God's Power in the Fiery Furnace

Scripture Passage: 
Daniel 3:1-30
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: The main points of this outline (though not in the same order) are taken from Daniel 3:28: “Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” What an example these three young Hebrew men are to all of us!

  1. THEY REFUSED TO WORSHIP OTHER GODS (Daniel 3:1-12)
    1. The Setting Up of the Image (Daniel 3:1)
      1. The source of the image: man-made
      2. The substance of the image: gold (Exodus 20:23; Exodus 32:31)
      3. The dimensions of the image; Note: The number 6 is the number of man.
        1. 60 cubits high
        2. 6 cubits wide
      4. The erection of the image; called the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up eight times in this chapter (Daniel 3:2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 14, 18). This is a picture of all false religion. It is set up by man.
      5. The location of the image
        1. In a plain, where multitudes could see it
        2. In Babylon, the source of false religion
    2. The Gathering of the People (Daniel 3:2-3)
      1. The audience called to the gathering (Daniel 3:2)
        1. Princes
        2. Governors
        3. Captains
        4. Judges
        5. Treasurers
        6. Counsellors
        7. Sheriffs
        8. Rulers of the provinces
      2. The purpose of the gathering – “the dedication of the image” (Daniel 3:2)
      3. The obedience of those called to the dedication (Daniel 3:3)
        1. Every group that was called came.
        2. Contrast this with the marriage feast of Luke 14:15-24.
        3. Men are often more faithful to carnal or unrighteous causes than to those ordered of the Lord.
    3. The Worship of the Image (Daniel 3:4-7)
      1. The command to worship (Daniel 3:4)
      2. The call to worship (Daniel 3:5); the devil knows how to use musick.
        1. The instruments employed; Note: Once again a connection to the number 6
          1. Cornet
          2. Flute
          3. Harp
          4. Sackbut
          5. Psaltery
          6. Dulcimer
        2. The musick employed; “all kinds of musick”
        3. The reaction expected
          1. The people would fall down.
          2. The people would worship the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar.
      3. The compulsion to worship (Daniel 3:6)
        1. Whoso falleth not down and worshippeth
        2. Shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace
      4. The compliance of the people (Daniel 3:7)
        1. The people heard the sound of the musick.
        2. The people fell down and worshipped.
          1. All the people; with the exception of three (see Daniel 3:12)
          2. All the nations
          3. All languages
    4. The Defiance of the Hebrew Children (Daniel 3:8-12)
      1. The accusation of rebellion (Daniel 3:8)
        1. The accusers – certain Chaldeans
        2. The accused – the Jews
      2. The repetition of the command (Daniel 3:9-11)
        1. They opened with flattery (Daniel 3:9).
        2. They reminded him of his decree (Daniel 3:10).
        3. They reminded him of the judgment (Daniel 3:11).
      3. The refusal of the Hebrew children (Daniel 3:12)
        1. The concern that the men were in positions of authority
        2. The concern for the magnitude of rebellion
          1. They have not regarded thee.
          2. They serve not thy gods.
          3. They do not worship the golden image.
  2. THEY TRUSTED IN THE LORD (Daniel 3:13-18)
    1. The Furious King (Daniel 3:13-14)
      1. The rage of the king (Daniel 3:13)
      2. The disbelief of the king (Daniel 3:14)
        1. Is it true?
        2. Do not ye serve my gods?
        3. Do not ye worship the image I have set up?
    2. The Second Chance (Daniel 3:15)
      1. He reminded them of the details of the decree.
      2. He reminded them of the consequences of rebellion.
      3. He questioned God’s ability to deliver.
    3. The Bold Reply (Daniel 3:16-18)
      1. Not careful to answer in “this matter” (Daniel 3:16); meaning they were not full of cares and fears in responding to the question about their God
      2. No doubt in their God (Daniel 3:17)
        1. He was able to deliver out of the fiery furnace.
        2. He would deliver out of the king’s hand.
        3. Note: The Hebrews were certain of God’s ability to deliver from the fiery furnace, but not certain that it would be God’s choice (see Daniel 3:18). They were certain, however, that God would deliver them from the king’s hand. This would be accomplished regardless of the outcome of the fiery furnace.
      3. No wavering in their stand (Daniel 3:18)
        1. Regardless of God’s choice to deliver from the furnace
        2. They were resolved to follow the Lord.
          1. Not to serve false gods
          2. Not to worship the golden image
  3. THEY YIELDED THEIR BODIES (Daniel 3:19-23)
    1. The Blazing of the Furnace (Daniel 3:19); seven times hotter than normal
      1. The king’s anger
        1. He was full of fury.
        2. The form of his visage was changed against the Hebrews.
      2. The king’s response
        1. He commanded that the furnace be heated.
        2. He wanted it to be heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
    2. The Binding of the Hebrew Children (Daniel 3:20-21)
      1. Bound by the men of greatest might (Daniel 3:20)
      2. Bound with their own garments (Daniel 3:21)
        1. Their coats
        2. Their hosen
        3. Their hats
        4. Their other garments
    3. The Burning of the King’s Servants (Daniel 3:22)
      1. Because of the urgency of the king’s command; Note: Haste often causes great harm to others.
      2. Because of the exceeding heat of the furnace
    4. The Residents of the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3:23)
      1. The number given to the furnace – “these three men”
      2. The entrance into the furnace
        1. They fell down.
        2. In the midst of the fiery furnace
  4. THEY CHANGED THE KING’S WORD (Daniel 3:24-30)
    1. The Sighting of the Fourth Man (Daniel 3:24-25)
      1. The king’s response (Daniel 3:24)
        1. He was astonied.
        2. He rose up in haste.
        3. He consulted with his counsellors.
          1. He sought assurance.
            1. Nebuchadnezzar: “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
            2. The counsellors: “True, O king.”
          2. He sought clarity.
            1. There were three. Now there were four.
            2. They were bound. Now they were loose.
      2. The king’s revelation (Daniel 3:25)
        1. The number of men – “I see four men.”
        2. The condition of the men
          1. They were loose.
          2. They were walking in the midst of the fire.
          3. They had no hurt.
        3. The additional man - The fourth man like the Son of God (see Hebrews 7:3); this is an appearance of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 1:15).
        4. Note: The modern versions corrupt this verse, taking great pains to remove any suggestion that the king of Babylon could have known about God or God’s Son, Jesus Christ. They also remove the reference to the One true God in Daniel 3:15 by changing “God” to “god.”
    2. The Calling Forth of the Hebrew Children (Daniel 3:26-27)
      1. Their call (Daniel 3:26)
        1. Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace. Note: This is likely the area of danger that killed the king’s mightiest men.
        2. He called out to the Hebrews.
          1. He called them by name.
          2. He identified them as “servants of the most high God.”
        3. He called for them to come forth and come hither.
      2. Their condition (Daniel 3:26-27)
        1. They came forth of the midst of the fire (Daniel 3:26).
        2. They came forth in the presence of great men (Daniel 3:27).
        3. They came forth without harm.
          1. The fire had no power on their bodies.
          2. Not an hair of their head was singed.
          3. Their coats were not changed.
          4. No smell of fire had passed on them.
    3. The Exaltation of the True God (Daniel 3:28-29)
      1. The king’s declaration (Daniel 3:28)
        1. The content of his declaration – “Blessed be the God of . . .”
        2. The reason for his declaration
          1. God’s deliverance
          2. The Hebrews’ faithfulness
      2. The king’s decree (Daniel 3:29)
        1. Covering every people – “every people, nation, and language”
        2. Ceasing speech against God – speaking “any thing amiss against” God
        3. Calling for judgment upon those who rebel
    4. The Promotion of the Hebrew Children (Daniel 3:30)

CONCLUSION: The Hebrew children (as they are often called) stood up for the Lord at a time when it was not popular to do so. They refused to go along with the crowd even when it threatened to cost them their own lives. And, although God gave them the victory over Nebuchadnezzar, they knew that He did not have to spare them (Daniel 3:17-18). They could have died in the furnace. But they still refused to bow to the image. In what ways can we stand up for right even when it is not popular? Do you know any instances of someone standing up and changing the king’s word or perhaps the policy at a school or workplace? How can you apply this to your life?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 4:11

I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.