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Friday, July 2, 2010

Daniel 3:18

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

For further study - Daniel 3:1-30

For our extended reading today, I would like for you to read the entire chapter of Daniel 3. This chapter, in the book of prophecy written by Daniel, is not a prophetic passage.

However, it is very practical and is one of the three very practical passages in Daniel, which also includes Daniel 4 and 6. We will use these chapters in another devotional, later on.

Daniel, the author of the book, is not mentioned in chapter 3 and there is not a definite reason that we can point you to scripturally on the subject. There have been suggestions that Daniel may have been traveling during this time.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had an "image of gold", verse 1, erected in Babylon, most likely an "image of a man", an image of himself that was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide at it's base.

Nebuchadnezzar's wise counselors set a trap for the three Hebrew companions of Daniel; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, which are their godly Hebrew names. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the Chaldean names for these three Hebrew boys.

The trap for these three was the royal order for everyone to bow to the "image of gold" when they heard the sound of music. Failure to bow would be met with the punishment of being thrown into the "fiery furnace".

Please let me point out several real blessings from the many that you will notice as you read our extended reading for the devotional today.

The three Hebrew boys refused to bow and when brought before Nebuchadnezzar they told the King that "their God which they served was able to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace", verse 17.

That assurance was a real blessing for the three, as it is for us today, an assurance that He can deliver us from any "fiery trial". However, look at the next verse, verse 18, "but if not".

Please read our key verse several times, "But if not", if God decides not to deliver us, the boys said, "we will not serve thy gods or worship the golden image".

That is the attitude missing today. Often we want God to be "Johnny on the spot", to take care of us all the time. I love that phrase, "but if not". What God decides is best, whether I think so or not.

The three boys did not "bow" and they were thrown into the furnace where they did not "burn". They not only did not burn, even the smell of smoke was not upon their bodies nor their clothing, verse 27.

When the Lord does something, He does it right. It was Jesus Christ, in a "pre-incarnate" appearance, that came to rescue the three Hebrew boys, verse 25.

This is a great story that ended with the three Hebrew boys being promoted in the Babylonian Kingdom, verse 30. Though it's not actually a prophetic passage, it does have a prophetic spiritual application.

In the last days God will protect the Jewish people from the "fiery Tribulation", a period of time known as "Jacob's trouble", that seems to be coming very soon. Remember, the Lord will preserve the Jewish people, He has a special plan for them in the future.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for Your protection. Please give me that "but if not" attitude when You have a better plan for me.