It is truly amazing how capable sinful man is of hearing the truth and then living in such a manner that completely denies its reality. In chapter 2 of the prophecy according to Daniel, king Nebuchadnezzar came to understand that Daniel by the power of his God could understand things that only God could know. In that way the king was confronted with the reality of the one true God. Furthermore, the prophecy revealed that all things come from God, to whom all the world is morally responsible. Every earthly kingdom, no matter how great, will be destroyed; only the final kingdom that will be ruled directly by God will remain forever. It would appear that the one thing that made an impression upon Nebuchadnezzar was that his kingdom was the greatest, the fact that it would not last forever and would be the first to be destroyed seemed to escape his attention. Therefore, he made a statue to be worshiped in honor of himself.
It is at this point in the story that the king is confronted by 3 godly men. The main difference between the godly and the ungodly in this story as in life is that the godly hear and by God’s grace obey and go on to further obedience, while the ungodly hear without taking heed. Some of the most frightening words in all the Bible, and there are many, are found in the 3rd chapter in the letter to the Hebrews. There the author wrote,
“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. “Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways’; as I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:8-11)
The ungodly after hearing the good word of God turn from it and return to their own ungodly ways. We are told in Hebrews, “they do not know My ways.” Much could be said about the ways of God that the ungodly do not know, but one way extremely pertinent to the context is that God reveals His goodness, kindness, and especially His patience by allowing sinful men to continue in their sin, however, judgment is coming. The ungodly ignore their sin and the judgment that is to come upon them. They live this way mainly because they do not take the significance of God’s holy anger about their sin seriously. The godly are sinful men who are saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2;8, 9). They continue to sin but they no longer enjoy it but are made to feel guilty by the presence of the Holy Spirit of God who takes up residence in their heart. Jesus on the night of His death informed His disciples of this reality when He said,
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16, 17)
It has been said that more Christians were persecuted and killed during the 20th century than all the previous centuries combined. Last week 128 Christians lost their lives because they would not deny their their faith in Christ. It is a serious business to be a Christian in many countries of the world. So it was during the days of Daniel. When Daniel’s 3 friends would not worship the image that Nebuchadnezzar set up for himself he became furious.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire.” (Daniel 3:17-20)
Deliverance was not the main issue for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, but who they would worship. The godly take worship seriously, and that doesn’t mean what kind of songs they sing on a Sunday morning, but to whom they bow down all during the week. OH that God’s people in America would have the same resolve to worship God alone that 3 young men in Nebuchadnezzar’s court had.
There may not be idols of metal, stone, and wood in America today but there is career, status, family, knowledge, achievement, athletics, etc. Furthermore, ideologies take from God the worship that He alone deserves. I have been at odds with more than one dear brother and sister in the faith about the truth that God created the world in 6 literal days, as His word clearly states, because they believed the scientific community that favors billions of years. The amount of time is not the important issue but who should be believed. No one can worship God when they do not take Him at His word. You can find 10 posts about creation and evolution on this website if you would like to read more.
“Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.” (2 Kings 12:2, 3)
One of the high places of today, the golden statue that men are made to fall down and worship, is the false god of evolutionary science. May God deliver all His people from such a subtle and hideous form of false worship.