The God Who Deserves Our Allegiance
Daniel – one of the Major Prophets written during the time of Judah’s captivity to the Babylonian Empire. The events of the book span approximately 70 years (605 – 530 B.C.) … from Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) to Cyrus (Persia).
Daniel was a part of the first deportation (605 B.C.) while Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Jehoiakim, was a wicked king who rejected the Word of the Lord as spoken by Jeremiah sealing the fate of the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
There were three deportations: 605 B.C., 597 B.C., and 586 B.C.
The first six chapters are primarily (not entirely), historical, while the last six are prophetical, revealing the progression, rise and fall, of world empires (Babylonian, Medo/Persian, Grecian and Roman), and ultimately the Kingdom of God.
The events of Daniel take place in ancient Babylon, located in modern in Iraq, near the city of Baghdad.
Daniel may have been 20 years of age at the time of his deportation, and 90 years old during the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia.
Daniel (God is my Judge) to Belteshazzar (Refers to the Babylon god, Bel and means “May Bel protect his life.”)
Hananiah (The Lord is gracious) to Shadrach (Sumerian moon god).
Mishael (Who is like God) to Meshach (Who is like Aku, moon god).
Azariah (The Lord helps) to Abednego (may mean “salvation of Aku, or servant of Nebo).
Chapter three challenges the believer to be courageous in the face of adversity, trusting God’s plan for your life, and His power to deliver.
God’s people bow down to God alone (Daniel 3:8-12).
The statue may have been an image of one of the Babylonian gods or might possibly have been a representation/image of himself.
This is not simple a story from biblical history, but a reality for today. While persecution and pressure to conform may vary in form and intensity, it is still a part of the believer’s journey of faith.
How are believer being persecuted today? What are some different forms of persecution?
“Some Chaldeans” – There will always be those who are looking for an opportunity to cause problems, not just to defeat or destroy you, but to detract from your God.
How are Christians pressured to conform to the world?
Christians are not to fear the threat of judgment by the world.
Bottom line: The three Hebrews were chosen for persecution because of their unwillingness to bow to the gods of the Babylonians …. Christians are targeted today because of their unwillingness to bow to the norms of culture holding to the standards of the Bible as the only rule for life.
Like Peter, they were committed to obeying God, rather than men (Acts 5:29)
What determines your actions or response to the pressures of society to act a certain way?
God’s people trust that God is sovereign and good (Daniel 3:13-23)
No problems until Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego “refused to go along to get along” (Sunday school leader’s guide).
The question that had to be answer then, and must be answered today is “and who is the god who can rescue you?” (3:15)
The three Jews were unwilling to do something simply because everyone else was doing it.
“Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable will of the Lord” (Romans 12:2).
Am I willing to trust God in my situation or do I seek my own remedy?
Because Christianity often runs contrary to the culture, believers must decide whether they will “please God or man” (Galatians 1:10).
God requires absolute devotion which requires absolute trust which brings the power and protection of God.
The three Hebrew men were committed to obedience confident that God could and would delivers them; however, such was their devotion to God that they were willing, if God chose not to intervene, to die for Him.
God’s people trust in God for protection (Daniel 3:24-30).
Unsure the identity of the fourth man in the fire. May have been an angel, or may have been a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus … just know whoever it was represented the presence of God.
The writer goes to great lengths to inform the readers of the expected outcome of the fire … seven times hotter … killed the guards who carried out the sentence ….
Leader’s guide “The God who did not deliver them from the fire was the God who met them in the fire and delivered them out of the fire.”
God’s Promises to the believer in adversity:
“No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, 39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:37-39
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
God’s Purpose for the believer in adversity:
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. 14 If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
1 Peter 4:12-14
God honored the faith of Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego by placing them is positions of honor in a heathen kingdom from which they would honor Him.
Daniel would remain a testimony of the greatness of Jehovah God throughout the Babylonian and Medo/Persian Empires (1:21). Daniel’s faith in God and faithfulness to God gave testimony to the greatness of God for approximately 70 years.
Theological Theme: God deserves and demands our ultimate devotion.
Christological Theme: Christ, who delivers us from our sin, will deliver us through the fiery trials of life.
Missional Theme: We are called to live in obedience to the Scripture (often a lifestyle contrary to the culture), trusting God’s power and plan, which results in the glory of God.