Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 10:1-11.
Read: Daniel 3&4 - Read the Message paraphrase, and note 1-3 insights/questions that arise.Reflect: At first, it appears that all they are accusing the Jews of is not worshiping (3:8), then it looks like ‘certain Jews’ only, but eventually three names are mentioned (3:12). This of course could imply that they would start with these three and move out toward the other Jews. Very similar to Esther 4:13-14, because their ethnicity and religion are given before their names (Esther 3:8-9). Watch how prejudice builds; their one act of not bowing is escalated to imply three things: Ignoring the King, worship other gods, and not supporting the statue you set up. When Nebuchadnezzar calls them forward, as angry as he is, he does not mention the first accusation, but only the last two related to worship. Is this because it is possible to obey the civil laws but resist only the spiritual ones? The story of these three Hebrews has been inspirational to many people across the decades. Sometimes the silent witness is more powerful than the best testimony. Not least is Martin Luther King, Jr., who championed nonviolent civil disobedience, when the law is unjust, and wrote from a Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963:
“One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire.”
Respond: Pray for strength.
Research: Google “Great speeches that made the world better today.”