Three Men and an Arrogant Emperor

in
Speaker: 
Andrew Fountain
Date: 
Sun, 2018-07-01

Sermon Outline - Three Men and an Arrogant Emperor

Take your mind away from here in Toronto—a very hot day in the summer, to a distant land under a hot Persian sun 2½ thousand years ago

Outline

  1. Background
  2. The story of the statue and the firey furnace
  3. How it connects with us

Goal

  • Take this distant story in a distant land at a distant time under a hot sun
  • and connect it to us right hear and now in Toronto
  • so that it means something very directly and specifically to us

1. Background...

  • We have a lot of archeological remains from that time (actually slightly later than this event)

Behistun Inscription

Behistun Inscription

Image source: Aryobarzan

  • 25m x 15m in size, and 100m off the ground
  • Zoom in:

Behistun Inscription closer

Behistun Inscription closer

Image source: hapal

Behistun Inscription detail

Behistun Inscription detail

Image source: hapal

Behistun Inscription

Daniel 2:31-36

  1. “You, O king, were watching as a great statue — one of impressive size and extraordinary brightness — was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm.
  2. As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze.
  3. Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.
  4. You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces.
  5. Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth.
  6. This was the dream. Now we will set forth before the king its interpretation.

based on NET Bible


2. The Story

Daniel 3:1–2

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made. It was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. He erected it on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
  2. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a summons to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other authorities of the province to attend the dedication of the statue that he had erected.

Heracles rock relief at Behistun

Heracles rock relief at Behistun

Image source: dynamosquito

Daniel 3:1-2, 8–18

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made. It was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. He erected it on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
  2. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a summons to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other authorities of the province to attend the dedication of the statue that he had erected.
     
  3. Now at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought malicious accusations against the Jews.
  4. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!
  5. You have issued an edict, O king, that everyone must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music.
  6. And whoever does not bow down and pay homage must be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.
  7. But there are Jewish men whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—and these men have not shown proper respect to you, O king. They don’t serve your gods and they don’t pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”
  8. Then Nebuchadnezzar in a fit of rage demanded that they bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before him. So they brought them before the king.
  9. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you don’t serve my gods and that you don’t pay homage to the golden statue that I erected?
  10. Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?”
  11. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, “We do not need to give you a reply concerning this.
  12. If our God whom we are serving exists, he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well.
  13. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”

based on NET Bible


Artist’s impression of the scene:

The Golden Statue

The Golden Statue

Image source: Regan

Fiery Furnace painting in Catacombs

Fiery Furnace painting in Catacombs

Image source: public domain

Fiery Furnace 15th century painting

Fiery Furnace 15th century painting

Image source: public domain

Fiery Furnace illustration

Fiery Furnace illustration

Image source: Andrew Gray

Isaiah 43:1–2

  1. Now, this is what the LORD says,
    the one who created you, O Jacob,
    and formed you, O Israel:
    “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.
    I call you by name, you are mine.
  2. When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
    when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
    When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
    the flames will not harm you.

3. How the story connects with us

Connection with us

  • Does God have the exclusive authority in your life?
  • Or is he just one of many competing demands?
  • You have the same decision to make!

Updated on 2018-07-05 by Andrew Fountain