Sunday School Lesson – Sunday January 14, 2018 A Bold Faith
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: about 587 B.C. – Place: Babylon
Golden Text: Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God: (Daniel 3:28).
Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) were of the children of Judah who were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar. They were taken from their home as teenagers and were given pagan names to represent the different gods the Babylonians were worshiping. Although these teenagers were in a strange land they didn’t forget who the real God they were worshiping and they purposed in their hearts they would not serve any other god other than the God of Creation. They didn’t allow fear to make them bow and worship a strange god, they stood up for who they believed in and because of their sincere faith God delivered them from the fiery furnace.
Lesson Outline: I. An Angry Enemy – Daniel 3:19-23
Daniel 3:19 – Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a gold-plated image and decreed that all in his realm must worship it. They were instructed that when they heard the different types of instruments that were to be sounded they were to kneel and worship the golden image. Those who didn’t kneel were to be cast into the fiery furnace. When the different sounds of instruments were blown all the different nations that were held captive along with the different officials kneeled and worshipped the image. Certain Chaldeans informed the king that there were certain Jews who were set over the affairs of the province of Babylon that didn’t bow to the image namely, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They could have informed the king because they envied them as Jews and the position they had been given in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar became angry because of their defiant of his command of worshiping the golden image. He became so angry he no longer felt for the Hebrew boys as he once did When Daniel interpreted his dream and they were given authority over the affairs of the province of Babylon. He commands the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal.
Daniel 3:20 – 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. He commanded his mightiest soldiers to tie the three offenders and cast them into the furnace. His anger had become an outrage which caused him not to think rational as anger does with people today. People who do not control their anger and allow it to become a rage usually harm someone else. Since these were youngsters as well as small in stature he didn’t need his strongest soldiers to bind them. But through his rage all he could see was them being placed in the fiery furnace. He wanted them to be an example to others who would think about being defiant. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured to deny God, but they chose to be faithful to Him no matter what happened! They trusted God to deliver them but they were determined to be faithful regardless of the consequences. We should be faithful to God whether he intervenes on our behalf or not, our eternal reward is worth any suffering we may have to endure.
Daniel 3:21 – 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. Criminals were normally stripped before execution the fact that the fine clothes of the Jewish men were not removed implies that the king’s command was carried out with great haste.
Daniel 3:22 – 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, Meschach, and Abednego. The price of Nebuchadnezzar’s rage was the loss of capable men. The brave soldiers obeyed and led the offender’s to the furnace as they approached the heat from the furnace was so intense that the soldiers were killed by the flames. The king’s fury was so irrational perhaps the soldier’s became careless in their haste to carry out the king’s order which caused them their death.
tDaniel 3:23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. The three Hebrew boys fell into the furnace bound along with the soldiers. The Hebrew boys were delivered from the heat, but the soldiers died.
Lesson Outline: II. A Changed Superior – Daniel 3:24-28
Daniel 3:24 – 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. King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished for what he saw in the fiery furnace. Rather than seeing three men, he saw four and they were walking in the midst of the fire. He was so amazed at what he saw, he had to ask his counselors didn’t they cast three men bound into the fire, he wanted to make sure he was n’t hallucinating, and their reply was yes.
Daniel 3:25 – 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. The king’s reply to his counselors was, he saw four men loosed walking in the fire and neither one of them had any harm. He recognized Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but he also so saw a fourth man, like the Son of God. Because Nebuchadnezzar served pagan gods, some would say he was saying “a godlike figure”. It could have also been God giving him a revelation of His Son.
Daniel 3:26 – 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. When the king called the three to come forth from the furnace, he addressed them “as servants of the most high God”. He recognized that the Lord had delivered them. It was obvious to those that were watching that this fourth person was not human. Nebuchadnezzar is convinced by their miraculous preservation that he did evil in casting them into the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar used the term “most high” in recognition of the God of Israel.
Daniel 3:27 – 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. All who had witness Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being cast into the furnace was now witnessing them being unharmed from the fiery furnace. No scorch marks were found on them, and they didn’t even smell of smoke, only the rope that bounded them had been burned.
Daniel 3:28 – 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. Nebuchadnezzar recognized nothing human could have delivered the Hebrew boys from out of the furnace. He knew within himself, what was impossible with men was possible with God. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were known to be worshippers of fire as an image of the sun, God showed contempt for their idolatry by demonstrating His power over the flames. Nebuchadnezzar recognized God was faithful to those who were faithful to Him; although Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were to face death if they didn’t bow to the image they didn’t allow the king’s commandments to interfere with their obedience to God. As Christians, we go through many fiery trials, but if we place our trust and confidence in God, He will always bring us out with the victory, even in death, we have the victory because we’re going to be with the Lord and not to die anymore. With Him is nothing but joy and happiness! So whichever way God decides to deliver us, we will come out victorious!