Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 9:1-12.
Read: Daniel 3&4 - As you read in the ESV translation, note 1-3 insights/questions that arise.Reflect: “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose” - “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” That is what Daniel and his three friends lived under. At any moment the tables can be turned. The king’s favor withdrawn. Despite that tension, the story told over these two chapters reminds Nebuchadnezzar he is only an earthly king. The title “king” is used repeatedly at the start and all through the chapters, in direct contrast to “the King of heaven” (4:3). Watch for the humor all through the chapters, especially chapter 3. They repeat all the instruments and official lists who act like robots on command by the king. The only time that the three Hebrews speak is in Daniel 3:17-18. Their decision and confidence is not based on knowing God is all powerful, it is not based on the “best bet,” it is not based on prudence, but on principle. It is based on character that has grown confident, character that makes truly ethical decisions. Note that they are not saved from the fire, but are saved in the fire. God is with them. Who would the Apostle Peter be thinking of when he wrote 1 Peter 4:12-14?
Respond: Pray for confidence.
Research: Google “Daniel’s fiery furnace technology.” Read the story in Genesis 11. As noted before, the connection between Daniel and Genesis continues in this story, with the plain of Dura. Some have suggested that this is the same as the plain of Shiner (Genesis 11:1-2 & Daniel 3:1). Archaeological excavations discovered in a place three miles south of Babylon near the river Dura a platform that was 19.5 feet high and 16.5 sq. yd. The connection with Genesis 11 keeps on recurring, in Genesis 11:1 the “whole earth” was gathered together, in Daniel 3:4 all “peoples, nations” gathered together. Note this characteristic of Babylon’s religious identity - it does not tolerate diversity.