The Lord’s Message:  Remaining Faithful

The Lord’s Message:  Remaining Faithful
Date:  July 7, 2024
Where:  Tilghman Methodist Church
Scripture Reference:  Daniel 3

            Summarizing last week’s message, which you can find on our website, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that very was disturbing for him.  Some might call it a nightmare.  The king summoned all his wise people to have them tell him what the dream was and what the interpretation of the dream is.  The wise people told the king that only the gods could tell him what he dreamed.  The king was furious, and he made a decree that all the wise people, including the Jewish young men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah should be killed.  Daniel and his friends knew nothing about this situation.  After finding out about this, Daniel went to the king and asked for time to tell him his dream and the interpretation of the dream. They first started praying to God that He would reveal to Daniel what the dream was and God’s interpretation of the dream.  God did just that.  God revealed to Daniel that the king’s dream in which there was a giant statue whose head was made of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of half iron and half clay.  Then the statue was crushed by a large stone which was uncut by human hands and the wind blew away the remnants of the statue.  Then the stone grew larger and larger and filled the whole earth.  Through God’s help, Daniel told the king that the statue represents four kingdoms.  The head made of gold was his kingdom.   The other three kingdoms, historians and theologians believe are the Mede -Persian kingdom, the Grecian kingdom, and the Roman kingdom.  The stone is the Messiah, whose kingdom surpasses all of them and is eternal.  For Christians, this the only kingdom that matters.  All other kingdoms will pass away.   After Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar his dream and interpretation, the king replies in Daniel 2: 46-47.  Amen.

            Let us pray. 

            Now, the king must have thought a lot about that statue made up of various metals and clay.  He must have decided that he could make one that was far superior.  The Bible tells us in Daniel 3:1, that he made it out of gold.  The measurements are ninety feet high and nine feet wide and he set this up on the plain of Dura.  Dura is southeast of Babylon.  Archaeologists have discovered a large mound and on top of this mound is a pedestal that would support a large statue.  This statue represents the king.  The empire of Babylon at this time was made up of many people coming from many cultures who worshipped many different gods.  The king thought what better way to unite then to have them worship one god, himself. The worship of the king would supersede all other gods. 

            In order that no one would miss the importance of this occasion, the king had all the people assemble in the plains of Dura.  In verses 4-5, when the instruments of various kinds started to play, the people were to bow down to the statue or idol. In verse 6, those who did not bow down to the idol would be thrown in the fiery furnace.  In verse 8, we find that not all the people bowed down to the idol.  Those people are the Jewish people that had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon.  In verse 12, we find out that those Jewish people are the ones that the king has placed as government officials, Hananiah – Shadrach, Mishael – Meshach, and Azariah – Abednego.  Notice that Daniel is missing here.  We can only speculate that Daniel was on some government travel and was not able to attend this idol worship event. 

            Anyway, to say that King Nebuchadnezzar was not pleased with these young men would be an understatement.  In verses 13 -14, the Bible says that King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with rage.  The king does give them another chance to redeem themselves in verse 15.  But in verses 16-18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego tell the king that they will not bow down to his idol, in accordance with the first two commandments of the ten commandments, Exodus 20:1-6.

            At this the king has the furnace heated up.  You might be asking, how hot?  It was so hot that the strongest of his soldiers were killed throwing them into the furnace.  But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed in with all their clothes on and they were not burned up.  As a matter of fact, the king tossed in three men, but there was a fourth man standing in the flames with them, verses 24-25. 

            The king is very astonished when he sees that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are not burned up in the flames and the fourth man with them. In verse 26, the king calls out to them to come out of the furnace.  Their hair is not singed.  Their clothes are not burned, and they do not smell of smoke, verse 27.  This is incredible.  Of course, the fourth man in the fire with them was Jesus, the Son of God.

            King Nebuchadnezzar was impressed as well.  In verses 28-29, the king praised God and made a decree that no one should say anything against Him.

            Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah remained faithful to God, even though they faced death.  Let us look at what is so remarkable about these young men.  They were courageous and bold.   They face the prospect of their death with calmness.  They were faithful to God.  They stood by their convictions. 

            How about you?  If the boss comes to you and says that I will give you a pay raise if you look the other way?  What will you do?  Take the pay raise and look the other way or tell the boss, “I do not want the pay raise and I will not look the other way.”  Your friends are telling off-color jokes do you laugh at the joke or tell them I do not think that is funny?

            Rev David Jeremiah said in his book, The Handwriting on the Wall, “This world is crying out for men, women, boys, and girls who have conviction of heart, and who will not change their conviction of heart on the basis of their circumstances.”  Will you stand up and remain faithful to God? 

            It is difficult to do, but you could ask Blawan Kumar Paswan.  He was in jail as a murderer with no hope.  A Christian in prison with him shared the gospel with him.  Blawan placed his trust in Christ and was baptized.  A jailer noticed the changes in Blawan’s life and recommended an early release after he had served 10 years. He was released and returned to his village and dedicated himself to sharing the gospel.  His uncle evicted him and his family and took all their possessions.  On December 1, 2023, Blawan and his wife were beaten by drunk men.  They accused the couple of spoiling their culture by preaching about Jesus.  Local believers donated clothes and food.  Other people to offered to relocate them, but Blawan refused.  “If I leave this place, how can I witness Jesus to these people again, and what will happen to other new believers?” he said.  “My family and I are not going to leave this place.  They can weaken my body but not my faith.” 

            Let us remain faithful despite the circumstances.  We will face obstacles and possibly even death, but it is better to remain faithful to one that can save our soul, Matthew 10:28.  This world will come to an end and only those that remained faithful to God will inherit eternal life.  The world needs people of conviction will you be one of those people that remains faithful to God?


July 10, 2024 5:39 am