Daniel reveals and interpret the dream as God answer their prayers.
First the Babylonian Kingdom (strongest because the king had absolute power)
Then the Medo-Persian Kingdom
Then the Grecian Kingdom
Then the Roman Empire
Then the Revived Roman Empire (taking us to the last days)
And then, the final Kingdom of all, when the Rock, Jesus Christ conquers, rules, and reigns forever and ever.
Daniel 2:44 (NKJV) “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
(I picture the Rock to be much larger)
What a witness Daniel was! Do you ever wonder why Daniel was used in such a way? Why God revealed this dream to him? Well…we always start with God’s grace and providence, but we need to also note Daniel’s heart for God, his prayer life, and especially the fact that when it “happened” – Daniel did dare to touch the glory (Daniel 2:30). Maybe the reason things like this don’t happen as frequently, is because we lack in these areas of prayer and heart, and maybe even God knows, we’ll somehow take the credit. Let’s do our best to rectify all that, even now.
Daniel 3 is an epic chapter in the Bible. God speaks to us through the stand Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego made. The world has an agenda FULL of idols they want us to bow down to. Nebuchadnezzar was not content being the head of gold, he wanted to embody the entire image – 90 feet tall – he wanted everyone to worship him, no doubt under the influence of the devil. I’m assuming that Daniel was on a mission as an ambassador out of the country, or not identified, for surely he wouldn’t have bowed down (as we’ll see in chapter 6).
Meanwhile, back in Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego are arrested for not worshipping the image and given one final chance to change their minds – if not – they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. The three Hebrew men let the king know that a discussion was not necessary, they would never worship the image. I’ve always loved their reasoning.
Daniel 3:17–18 (NKJV) “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
They knew that God was able, no doubt about it, God could deliver them. They knew the promise of:
Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
They knew God was able to deliver them from the fire, they knew God would be with them in the fire, but they weren’t 100% sure IF God would choose to do so. Sometimes God allows His people to be martyrs, and to suffer for His sake, His higher purposes…so they tag the truth with those words, “But IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…”
If not. If God DOESN’T do what we want Him to do, it doesn’t change who He is, may we embrace this, and never ever compromise.
In this case God DID choose to deliver, and the only thing that burned was bonds that held them. I can’t be dogmatic, but I believe Jesus was the one who entered into their trials, and walked among them. Of course this was another testimony to the power of the God of Israel, and Nebuchadnezzar was floored, once again. He realized there’s no god, like this God. But he needed to go deeper and understand that there IS no other God but this God!
What a witness…Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were able to give!
Daniel 3:28 brings to mind Romans 12:1, we must give God our bodies!
Daniel 3:28 (NKJV) “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!’”
Romans 12:1 (NKJV) ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Our bodies are neutral, they can be used for both good or bad, let’s do our best to make sure we offer them to God, to be used as tools, vessels, and even weapons of righteousness!
Halley’s Bible Handbook, “According to the Septuagint, this incident (in Daniel 3) occurred in the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, after Daniel and his three friends had been in Babylon for about 20 years. That was 586 B.C., the same year Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem. The Septuagint version of the book of Daniel (as well as other Greek versions) includes, among other additions, between 3:23 and 3:24 a section that contains a prayer of Azariah (the Hebrew name of Abednego; 1:7) and a song by all three men in the fiery furnace. It embodied a popular tradition but was never regarded as a part of the Hebrew Bible.”
Although we can’t verify the above information, it is interesting to consider…the prayer and song make sense to me.
1 Peter 4:7–5:14
What an honorable challenge 1 Peter 4:7 is, as Peter calls us to pray seriously. If there’s one thing the enemy will fight us tooth-and-nail on, it’s our prayer life. Friend, never give up that battle to pray seriously, wholeheartedly, watchfully, and obediently.
“Above all things…” Peter says in 1 Peter 4:8, we are to have that fervent love for one another. If we love, we’ll “cover” those sins, we’ll forgive from the heart, we’ll be hospitable, and faithful in exercising our gifts for the glory of God and the good of His people. What gifts or talents are you using for the Lord? Keep in mind, we all have at least one Spiritual gift.
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
One of the main themes of 1 Peter is suffering, or “pain with a purpose.” Sometimes we get that distorted mindset that thinks, “If I’m a Christian, I won’t go through hard times.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but Jesus promised that in this life we would have tribulation (John 16:33), so did Paul (Acts 14:22). Don’t think it strange or out of place – it’s all part of the plan. God doesn’t necessarily author these things, but He allows them to test us (reveal and refine who we are). Hold tight to Christ during those difficult days, let Him work in you and through you; let Him draw you close to rejoice, for one day you will be rewarded – if you suffer for righteousness sake.
The list in 1 Peter 4:15 is very revealing – people can suffer from any sin ranging from being a murderer to a busybody (meddling where we don’t belong).
Judgment begins in the house of God in order to purify the church; Christian beware! And if the church is judged in such a way, what will be the fate of those who have rejected Christ? People get ready, Jesus IS coming!
Peter begins chapter 5 by addressing the elders, usually older and more mature men called to be pastors. Peter doesn’t see himself as the Pope or anyone special there at the front of the line when it comes to leadership, he simply sees himself as a “fellow elder,” with a good word for us. His humility comes through loud and clear.
It makes sense that shepherds are to shepherd the flock – feed, lead, and protect the sheep spiritually speaking. We’re there to serve, not to be served; not because we “got to” but because we “get to”; not dishonestly, but honestly, not because we’re forced to but we do so eagerly. We mustn’t be a prophet for profit or power, we must have a heart to serve as examples to the people, after all, sheep are not cattle. Sheep are to be led, not driven. On “that day” Jesus, the Chief Shepherd will reward faithful shepherds who are in it for the right reason, with an unfading crown.
Sandy Adams summed it up this way, “As the Shepherd oversees the flock, likewise the elder oversees the church. His motivation is love, not duty – and God, not greed. He leads by example, rather than force. And he looks to God for His reward, rather than expecting it from the flock.”
Submission does have a structure, younger people are to be submissive to their elders, but at the same time, having said that, Peter reminds us that we are ALL to have that heart of submission.
When I read the call to “be clothed with humility…” (1 Peter 5:55) I think of Jesus who took a towel, girded Himself and proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). He told them (and us)
John 13:14-15, (NKJV) “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
That’s exactly what Peter is talking about! But it required humility.
Peter quotes from Proverbs 3:34 as does James (4:6).
1 Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “…for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
F.B Meyer said, “I used to think that growth in the Christian life was like steps we climb, higher and higher, but now I’ve come to realize that growth as a Christian is not a matter of climbing higher, but of stooping lower.”
How important it is that I give it all to God, that I cast all my cares upon Him – it’s too heavy for me or any other person, only Christ can carry them, and no one cares like Him.
These are not days to be drunk in disobedience or dancing with the devil, he’s a lion looking for the stragglers and strugglers whom he may devour. The devil would love to devour me, so I must resist him faithfully, never thinking that “I’m the only one going through such hard times,” because that’s the lie of Lucifer that leads to pity-parties (which are not productive).
Peter closes with the theme of the letter, and a prayer reminding us that we are called to suffer “a while” so God will mature us, restore us, establish, strengthen and settle our souls. Let’s hang in there and never give up. God is doing a good work in each one of our lives.
The Word of God is a living Word (Hebrews 4:12) and it is a working Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is by God’s Word we are saved and sanctified, and hence, Psalm 119 is no exaggeration whatsoever. Notice the many blessings and benefits of the Word.
The Word brings hope, the Word brings comfort, the Word is faithful, the Word brings revival, the Word of God is forever – settled in heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus said:
Matthew 24:35 (NKJV) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
The Word brings life, the Word is perfect, the Word is even exceedingly broad (Psalm 119:96) (it covers all we need to know).
The Word should therefore be searched to the point of making my eyes fail, it should be remembered, it should not be forsaken, it should be our delight, it should be sought and considered every day of our lives (Psalm 1; Matthew 6:11).
Proverbs 28:15-16 (NKJV) “Like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over poor people. 16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.”
A tyrannical ruler is like a beast, those types of rulers who are ruthless.
“The wicked ruler treats those of low standing (poor people) with unpredictable, uncontrollable ferocity. He is dangerous toward them.” – David Guzik
“No sentiment of pity softens his heart. No principle of justice regulates his conduct. Complaint only provokes further exactions. Resistance kindles his unfeeling heart into savage fury.” – Bridges
“In contrast, a person who refuses to abuse his power for personal gain (cf. ill-gotten treasures in 1:19; 10:2) will enjoy the blessing of a long life.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
Those prolonged days may also refer to the time he serves as ruler, a general principal, not an absolute precept.