Verse 1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
In the Babylonian culture, statues were often worshiped. Instead of a statue with only the head being gold, he made the entire thing in gold, perhaps in defiance that his kingdom would never end.
Verse 2 – And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps , the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the province, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Verse 3 – So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasures, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The king was making a big production of this dedication, so he wanted all of his chief officials to be gathered in one place to pay tribute to him. Idolaters are generally very committed to their religion.
Verse 4 – Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,
Verse 5 – “that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;
Verse 6 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Verse 7 – So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Music can have a huge influence over a person. It plays a big part in our worship of the Lord, so we should be cautious of what type of music we listen to. Let’s not forget, Satan was created with musical instruments in him, thus he uses it to his advantage (Ezekiel 28:13). If the people did not fall down and worship the king’s image, he had furnaces set up to put them to death. Forced religion is the system of the false religion, as Babylon was at the head of it. Whereas with God, it is a matter of choice.
Verse 8 – Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
These Chaldeans were obviously revengeful for being exposed as liars when they couldn’t tell the king his dream or the interpretation.
Verse 9 – They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!
Verse 10 – “You O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image;
Verse 11 – “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Verse 12 – “There are certain Jews whom you have set over affairs of the province of Babylon; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
These Chaldeans wanted to remind the king that he was the one who had placed these Jews in their position, and now they were belittling the king by not following his authority. They knew this would make the king furious. We don’t know if there were other Jews who didn’t bow to this image, but these three were singled out.
Verse 13 – Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.
Verse 14 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?
Verse 15 – “Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Nebuchadnezzar, trying to save face, gives them another chance to worship the image. Then the king declares there is not a god anywhere that can deliver them from this furnace if they choose not to bow down to it.
Verse 16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
Ha! In other words: “Don’t bother to give us a second chance, we have already made up our minds not to worship you!”
Verse 17 – “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
These young boys were steadfast in their confidence that their God was able to deliver them. Do you not know that every fiery trial that we go through, only makes us stronger in our faith towards God?
Verse 18 – “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
This is one of the strongest examples of steadfast faith in the Bible. They had set their hearts to obey God rather than man. They would rather die then disobey God. In the end times, many will have to have this kind of faith, (Revelation 20:4).
Verse 19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
Verse 20 – And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Verse 21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Verse 22 – Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
What’s ironic, is that the men who took them up to the furnace died, but yet they still managed to throw the three in the furnace before they died.
Verse 23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
This furnace was built on a small mound with openings at the top and side, so the three men fell into the furnace from the top, and the king was able to see through the opening in the side.
Verse 24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Verse 25 – “Look!” he answered, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
How would Nebuchadnezzar even know what the Son of God was like? Because the Hebrew captives had represented righteousness, thus teaching those around them of the God whom they worshiped and they had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come.
Verse 26 – Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.
Verse 27 – And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their heads was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
No human can bind us when God wants us free. The power that is available to each Christian, is the same power that delivered these three Hebrews and raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20). There are eternal reasons for temporary trials. You might come out of your trials or time of testing with some battle scares, but you’ll know the One which delivered you!
Verse 28 – Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
Verse 29 – “Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no God who can deliver like this.”
The king didn’t tell his people to throw away all of their idols or not to worship them anymore, he was simply adding this God to their many gods.
Verse 30 – Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
We all go through trials and times of testing, some are bigger than others, but whether God delivers us or not, He’s still God!