Pastor Herman Kneller Editorials
GOD'S SECRETS REVEALED
When Daniel had told the king his dream and meaning in last week's column, the king had said, “It is true that your God is a God of Gods and a Lord of Kings because He is able to reveal to me the dream and its meaning.”
As time passed the king thought about what had taken place and he did not like the meaning of the dream that another kingdom would take over Babylon. He wanted the empire and city to last through many years. He wanted to be remembered as its founder and builder. He devised a plan that he thought would perpetuate the kingdom he had founded.
He decided to build an image, all of gold, 90 feet high and six feet wide. It was probably set on a pedestal 30 feet high and the image itself 60 feet. He set it up on the plane of Durra outside the city. This took place about 13 years after the original image he had seen in the dream that Daniel interpreted.
I am sure that the king did not ask Daniel's advice on his proposal for I am sure Daniel would not have been in favour of the plan even though the king had the last word.
The image was all of gold not only the head, as the image in the dream. In this image there was no room for any other kingdom and Babylon would last forever. Then the command was sent out to all the people that had any authority or influence in the whole kingdom to come to meet the dedication of the image.
Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were there as they had positions in the government. So did Daniel but he was not there. The king had probably sent him to another country on state business because he did not want Daniel present. The king knew he could not force Daniel but he probably could his friends without Daniel's presence.
When they came, all the people of position were a big group. Then a herald came out and told them the truth of the plan. He said it is commanded that when you hear the band strike up you are to fall down and worship the image. The king thought if they could be made to worship the image which represented Babylon they would always be faithful to it and that would perpetuate it. The herald also said that whoever did not fall down and worship the image would be thrown into a fiery furnace the king had made (for the purpose of forcing people to comply).
The band began to play and the sea of people fell down and worshiped the image, all but the three Hebrews. This was reported to the king and he summoned them before him and he was angry. I think he had this furnace built specifically to make sure that these three would, out of fear for their lives, bow down. They might have bent over a bit just to make a show of complying with the command.
The Babylonians knew they were worshipers of the God of Heaven and they stood tall. They would not give any show of betrayal to the God of Heaven. As they stood before the king he said to the three, “Is it true that you do not worship my gods?” Then he offered them another chance. They could go back to their place and the band would play again and then they could fall down and all would be well. The three told the king that his offer wasn't necessary, their minds were made up. They would not worship the image.
God is able to deliver them if He chooses and if not well, they would leave that up to Him. The king was furious and flew into a rage and said, “Who is this God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” He had a big opinion of himself and he ordered the furnace to be heated up more.
Then the three were tied hand and feet and were thrown into the furnace like big pieces of wood. There were men crowded around for the three were well known in Babylon. When the three had been thrown into the fire the king turned and walked away he probably said to himself, “I showed them who I am.” Then he turned and looked again at the furnace and said to those around him, “Did we not cast three men into the furnace? I see four men walking around loose in the fire and the fourth looks like the Son of God.”
The king then called the men out and this is what he said. “Ye servants of the most high God come out.” What a change in attitude. The men came out unharmed. There was not even a smell of smoke on the men.
How did the king know what the Son of God looked like? Daniel, who worked close with the king had no doubt told him about God and the Son. Jesus did not confront the angry king when he challenged God in anger but unnoticed and unseen He stepped into the fire where His faithful servants had chosen to be rather than dishonour God and protect them from the angry king.
Now what had taken place had been witnessed by the government officials from all over the kingdom and the power and love of the Son of God was talked about throughout the whole country. The faithfulness of the three men and the God of Heaven how superior He is to the gods of the Babylonians.
In the troubles in the world today and the signs of worsening problems of tomorrow it would sure be comforting to have a Friend who is not afraid of problems but has promised His faithful friends that He will be with them to the end of the world. And Jesus never fails.
Next week: God Opens the Gate