Dan. 3:1-30





We usually teach the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to our children.

But the lessons are for everybody.



And they are well worth our time.

These three young men were captives in Babylon.



They attended Nebuchadnezzar’s brainwashing school.

They graduated at the top of their class.



They received high positions in the Babylonian government.

But things changed drastically.



I’ve divided the story into five parts:

          1. The crisis they faced.

          2. The compromise they rejected.

          3. The confidence they possessed.

          4. The companionship they experienced.

          5. The confession they heard.



1st---Let’s look at the crisis they faced.

Verse 1 reads, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was         

threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits:”




“He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.” (Vs. 1)

This was an incredible statue;



Made out of gold;

Taller than an eight story building;



Ninety feet high and nine feet wide.

Think about what a ninety foot high stack of gold would be worth today.



But that wasn’t a problem for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Babylon was called “the nation of gold.”



After he built this statue, Nebuchadnezzar decided to have a dedication service.

So he commanded all the leaders in the top eight levels of his government to

assemble from all over the world.



Verse 3 reads, “Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the         

treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces,     

were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar          

the king had set up;”

“And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Vs. 3).



This was the greatest gathering of politicians the world had ever seen.

They traveled to Babylon;



Moved to the Plain of Dura;

And stood before the great golden statue.




“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and        


“That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery,    

dulcimer, and all kinds of music,”



“Ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set

up” (Vs. 4, 5):

Evil was in the air.



Nebuchadnezzar was establishing a one-world pagan religion.

And he intended for everyone to be a member of his one-world pagan religion        

whether they wanted to or not.



One of his heralds loudly proclaimed, “When the music starts you are commanded

to fall down and worship the statue.”

“And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the

midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Vs. 7).



This was the crisis Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced.

Their freedom to worship the Living God was going down the drain.



The most powerful man on earth was commanding everyone to commit idolatry.

He said everyone who refuses will immediately die.



The command was “bow or burn” right now.

Nebuchadnezzar even had a giant furnace on site so he could quickly carry out the  




Most of us don’t realize how blessed we are.

We live in a society that allows us to worship the God of our choice.

But according to the Bible things will change.

The time is not far off when people will have to choose between worshiping a statue         

of Antichrist.



And worshiping the Living God.

Those who worship the statue of Antichrist will be cast into hell.



And those who worship the Living God will probably be killed.

There will only be two choices:



Perish in the fires of hell for worshiping the statue of Antichrist,

Or, be killed for worshiping the Living God.



2nd---Let’s look at the compromise they rejected.

The music sounded.



But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t bow down to the great golden statue.

Verses 8-12 read, “Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and  

accused the Jews.”



“They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.”

“Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the  

cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall

down and worship the golden image:”



“And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst        

of a burning fiery furnace.”

“There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of        

Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego;”


“These men, O king, have not regarded thee:”

“They serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”



Notice, that Daniel called the tattle-tales “certain Chaldeans.”

These “certain Chaldeans” were Nebuchadnezzar’s master astrologers.



Their ancestors helped Nimrod build the Tower of Babel.

God wouldn’t accept a one-world pagan religion in Nimrod’s day.



God wouldn’t accept a one-world pagan religion in Nebuchadnezzar’s day.

And God won’t accept a one-world pagan religion in the future when the Antichrist

          arrives on the scene.



God is on the throne.

There’s no justification for anyone to dabble in astrology or idolatry;



No justification for anyone to believe the stars, or the planets, or a great statue can  

determine our future.

The early astrologers believed demons and gods were behind these things.



That idea comes from Satan.

God forbids it.



Anyway, certain Chaldeans (meaning not all of them, but some of them) tattled on   

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Here’s a stark truth about a one-world pagan religion.



It will turn violent against those who love the Lord.

Today, the United Nations is pushing it’s Global Ethic.

This is the beginning of the coming one-world pagan religion;

The beginning of the coming great persecution that Jesus talked about.



The Chaldeans reminded Nebuchadnezzar of his decree that all who didn’t bow     

would be cast into the fiery furnace.

They made sure he remembered what he said.



In essence, they said, “The three Jews have ignored you.”

“They have refused to serve your gods;”



“Refused to worship your statue of gold.”

“AND YOU SAID anyone who refuses to worship your statue will be burned         




They were putting him between a rock and a hard place.

They were saying, “If you don’t burn them alive, your words will be worthless.”



Verses 13-14 read, “Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring        

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”

“Then they brought these men before the king.”



“Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and  

Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I  

have set up?”

Nebuchadnezzar was furious.



He issued an order for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be brought before him.

But it appears that he didn’t want to kill them.



They were valued servants.

They had demonstrated great wisdom from God.



They were personally promoted by Nebuchadnezzar at the request of Daniel.

He wanted to give them a second chance.



He acted like they didn’t bow down because they weren’t ready.

He said, “Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute,        

harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music,”



“Ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well:”

In other words, “I’m giving you a second chance.”



“If you will get ready and bow down, everything will be okay.”

“But if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning    

fiery furnace;”



“And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” (Vs. 15)?

He was saying, “Reconsider what you are doing.”



“We will restart the music.”

“If you bow down, everything will be okay.”



“But if you don’t bow down, you will die within the hour.”

Then, he made this a competition between his god and our God.



He arrogantly asked, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”

What a temptation!


Surely, God would want them to obey their government.

Surely, God wouldn’t mind, if they bowed just a little bit.


Wouldn’t they be more useful to God by saving their life.

And continuing to serve Him?



We can almost hear Satan say, “It’s just a little sin.”

“Do it.”



“It’s just a little white lie.”

“Tell it.”



Two men drifted on the ocean in a life boat for several days.

They ran out of water.



Someone had said, “Don’t drink the ocean water.”

But they were very thirsty.



And one man said, “I will drink just a little bit.”

Ocean water contains seven times more salt than our body can stand.



The man didn’t drink much.

He drank just a little bit.



Then, he needed fresh water to flush the salt out of his kidneys immediately.

But he didn’t get it.



He dehydrated.

And died.

Sin is like ocean water.

It looks like a little sin couldn’t be all that bad.



But a little sin will kill you.

It’s easy to compromise our faith;



Easy to cut just one little corner;

Easy to break just one little rule;



Easy to miss church just one time;

Easy to say a little sin doesn’t matter.



But what if Jesus had compromised with Satan in the wilderness.

And turned just one little stone into bread?



What if Jesus had compromised with Satan at the Temple.

And jumped just one time.



What if Jesus had compromised with Satan on the cross.

And come down for just a few minutes?



Don’t say a little sin doesn’t matter.

If Jesus had committed just one little sin, we would perish in hell.



Anyway, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego wouldn’t compromise their faith.

And this is the compromise they rejected.




3rd---Let’s look at the confidence they possessed.

Verses 16-18 read, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the




“O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.”

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery      

furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.”



“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.”

Nebuchadnezzar had asked the Jews two questions.



So they gave a two-fold answer.

First, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter” means we won’t use

carefully chosen words to deceive you.”



“We won’t try to hide our faith in God.”

Don’t you wish our politicians would be this honest?



Don’t you wish they would stop trying to deceive us with carefully chosen words?

Because many times carefully chosen words are an effort to avoid the truth.



Some church members use carefully chosen words.

Some are a little squeamish when it comes to talking about Jesus.



Some lack the confidence of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

If it embarrasses you to talk about Jesus, something might be wrong.




Second, Nebuchadnezzar had asked, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of         

my hands?”

They answered, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning    

fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.”



“Who is that God?”

“Our God;”



“The God we serve.”

“We believe He will deliver us.”



“But if He doesn’t, we still won’t bow even a little bit.”

Notice, two things here.



First, God’s people don’t always know God’s will.

But God’s people always know that we shouldn’t sin.



Second, God’s people aren’t always delivered.

But He is able;



Able to heal;

Able to remove the thorn in our flesh.



He doesn’t always do it.

And that’s tough.



But it’s important to remain faithful.

Polycarp was Bishop of Smyrna.


The Romans arrested him.

They wanted him to curse Jesus.



They promised to release him, if he obeyed.

Polycarp replied, “Eighty-six years have I served Him.”



“And He has done me no wrong.”

“How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”



A Roman officer replied, “Unless you change your mind, I will have you burned.”

Polycarp said, “You threaten a fire that burns for an hour and after awhile it is         




“You are ignorant of the judgment to come and of the everlasting punishment          

reserved for the ungodly.”

“Do what you wish with me.”



Don’t go back on your commitment to Jesus.

Don’t be ignorant of the judgment to come.



Verses 19-23 read, “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury,”

 “And the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and   




“Therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven  

times more than it was wont to be heated.”

“And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach,

Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.”



“Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their     

other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”

“Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding        

hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and        




“And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the        

midst of the burning fiery furnace.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had great faith.



But their great faith didn’t keep them out of the fiery furnace.

Your great faith may not keep you from getting sick or whatever.



Nebuchadnezzar blew his top.

The expression on his face even changed.



He furiously commanded his soldiers to heat the furnace seven times hotter than     


He wanted to be sure Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego roasted in the fire;



So he commanded his strongest soldiers to tie them up.

And throw them into the fire.



The strong soldiers responded so fast Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t    

even have time to remove their clothes.

The furnace was so hot the strong soldiers died the instant  they shoved Shadrach,

Meshach and Abednego into the fire.





Because of the intense heat and what happened to these strong soldiers, everyone   

would expect the three Jews to die in the blink of an eye.

4th---Let’s look at the companionship they experienced.



Verses 24-25 read, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in    

haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors,”

“Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”



“They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.”

“He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, “



“And they have no hurt;”

“And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”



Nebuchadnezzar was seated far enough from the furnace to be safe.

But he was close enough to see inside.



He jumped to his feet.

“Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”



“Yes,” was the reply.




“They’re not tied up anymore.”

“They’re not even hurt.”



“And there’s a fourth man in the fire.”

“He looks like the Son of God.”


Who was this fourth Man in the fire?

We believe He was Jesus.



And Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were safer in that fire with Jesus than  those         

strong soldiers were on the outside with Nebuchadnezzar.

Perhaps, you’re in a crisis today.



Perhaps, it looks hopeless.

I can’t promise that you will be delivered.



But I can promise that you’re better off in that crisis with Jesus than you would be  

out of that crisis without Jesus.

The faithful Bishop Polycarp wasn’t delivered from the Roman fire.



But he’s better off today than the Roman soldiers who burned him to death.

5th---Let’s look at the confession they heard.



Verses 26-29 read, “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning   

fiery furnace, and spake, and said,”

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come

forth, and come hither.”



“Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.”

“And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being

gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power,

nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor

the smell of fire had passed on them.”





“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,

Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants

that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies,      

that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”

“Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which

speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is     

no other God that can deliver after this sort.”



We’re looking at the confession they heard.

The king said,  “There is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”




He even issued a threat, “If you say even one bad word against this God, I will cut

you in pieces and make your house a dung heap.”

In closing, the theme of this story is commitment.



And there’s no doubt that we need more commitment in the Church today.

I know a 27 [2003] year old woman who has gone to church all her life.



She started dating a fellow who was taking drugs.

Her parents and pastor tried to get her to break it off.



She didn’t.

Her boy friend wound up in jail.



She went out with another fellow she hardly even knew.

He was taking drugs too.




It was a date-rape.

She got pregnant.



She wasn’t married.

When one or both of the parents are taking drugs, there’s a terrible risk that the baby        

won’t be normal.



Her baby was born with some minor abnormalities.

Then, the first fellow got out of jail.



The girl went back to dating him.

She gave birth to a second child out of wedlock.



Now, she has to work hard.

She’s struggling to support two children without a husband.



My point is, what happened to the 27 years of Church attendance?

It’s obvious she had a lack of commitment.



But she’s not alone.

Her story can be repeated millions of times.



Our young people have grown up in a society that constantly talks about freedom   

and self-expression;

The sexual revolution;



Do your own thing;

If it feels good, it is good.


Our young people are the product of a society that’s changed.

But God hasn’t changed.



He still wants people who will stand up and say, “This is wrong because the Bible  

says it’s wrong;”

Or, “This is what I will do because the Bible tells me to do it.”



How should we characterize a lack of commitment anyway?

As willful sin?



As being lukewarm?

Is there any doubt what the Bible says about that?



Will you make a commitment?

Will you renew your commitment?



Will you say, “I haven’t been keeping my vows to support my church with my       

prayers, my presence, my gifts and my service.”

“I’m going to do better.”



Will you say, “I pledge to keep the commitment I’ve already made?”

Will you young people learn something from this girl who was dating boys on         




Drugs can ruin your life.

Drugs can harm your children.



Drugs can get you in jail.

It’s better to make a commitment to Jesus and stick to it.