Order of Worship
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude,
like the roar of many waters
and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out:
For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory.”
Song 1 – Agnus Dei
Song 2 – As the Deer
Song 3 – His Mercy is More
Song 4 – My Worth Is Not in What I Own
Our welcome team members will pass an offering basket during this song.
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Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not the good he has done to me, who forgives all your sings and heals all your infirmities, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with grace and mercy.
The Lord is merciful, patient and of great goodness. Let us therefore bring our hearts before the Lord in prayer as we confess our sins.
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and forgive those offenses to your servant
which I have caused in others.
I submit myself to your judgment;
I fear to deceive myself
lest my sin should make me think that I am not sinful.
Therefore I submit
to your holy and perfect wisdom;
if you, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who shall abide it?
Cleanse me from my secret faults,
and renew a right spirit within me.
(based on the words of Augustine)
Psalm 34 verse 8 says:
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
The Lord does not deal with us according to our sins, nor does he repay us according to our offence. For as high as the heaven is above the earth, he shows his grace toward those who fear him. As far as the rising of the sun is from its setting, so far he removes our transgression from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. In this way, God shows his love toward us, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Therefore we will bless the Lord, and all that is within us will praise his holy name.
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Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The Fiery Furnace
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
God Rules Over Our Circumstances
1. To be right with God sometimes means to be in trouble with men vv. 1-12
2. Confidence in God’s rule and sovereignty vv. 13-18
3. Walking in the midst of the fire with Jesus vv. 19-27
4. King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God’s rule vv. 26-30
Song 5 – 10 000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Song 6 – May the Peoples Praise You
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
-Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
Read Daniel chapter 3.
- As Christians we live as exiles in the world (1 Pet. 1:1). In light of the fact that God rules, when faced with a direct and hostile challenge to our faith, God expects us to take a bold and courageous stand. From a first reading of the chapter, how are we encouraged and inspired to do that?
II. Review the Text
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego face a direct and hostile challenge to their faith. What is it and what lies behind it? (vv. 1-12)
How did they react to the king’s decree and what does their statement to Nebuchadnezzar reveal about their faith and confidence in God? (vv. 13-18)
– What did God do? (vv. 19-27)
– How did Nebuchadnezzar react to what he had seen God do? (vv. 28-30)
III. Apply the passage
- What kind of direct and hostile challenges to their faith do Christians face in the world today? Are there circumstances when we face such direct challenges?
- God expects us to live distinctively, showing our allegiance to Him. What’s our motivation for doing this? What stops us doing it?
- The way Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took their stand is striking. What can we learn from their manner and approach?
Taking a bold stand against a direct and hostile challenge can be costly in terms of the consequences we face. What can we expect from God?
– If we take a bold and courageous stand for God, how will He use our witness to advance His Kingdom?
– What are the implications of the events described for unbelievers?
Close in Prayer.