Covenant and Testimony

                                  36 x 48

Gouache, chalk, pencil, and ink on canvas

Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah were aware of the building of the statue long before it was erected on the plain of Dura, because they "stood before the king"...due to their knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom - gifts God had bestowed on them (Daniel 1:17-18). Neither could they keep a low profile until the event blew over, because they held administrative positions over the affairs of the province of Babylon (Daniel 2:47).

HOW THEY GOT THEIR POSITIONS

They were promoted to this rank as reward for assisting Daniel in interpreting a dream King Nebuchadnezzar had - a dream that terrified him, but could not later be recalled. The king was so frustrated over the dream that he had ordered all his wise men, magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans put to death unless they could show him the interpretation of the dream. The king's men protested they were being tasked with an impossible demand, and they would have all been executed - had it not been for Daniel, Mishael, Hannaniah, and Azariah interpreting the dream.

             UNGRATEFULNESS TRANSITIONS TO HATEFULNESS

Obviously many of the wise men were grateful Daniel and these three youths saved their necks, but that didn't stop a few from accusing them to King Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to bow to the image. Daniel 3:8-12 gives the details:

 

"Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up". Net, they reminded the king of his decree word for word, emphasized the offenders were captives from Judah, and said, 'these men don't care what you've said; they don't serve your gods, and they won't worship the golden image you set up".

King Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and commanded the three young menbrought into his presence. There, they had an opportunity to face the accusation and save their skin, or accept the consequences.

Black Bible Illustrations

Black Bible Illustrations
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You can face your persecutors, false accusations, and

the spectre of death when you know God has your back.

THE INSULT TO HIS ROYAL MAJESTY

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick,
ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" Daniel 3:13-15

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

Daniel 3:16-18

IN OTHER WORDS

  • We don't even have to think carefully about how to respond to your demand

  • We know our God is able to deliver us from both you and the fiery furnace

  • But even if He chooses not to, we must advise you we still won't serve your gods, or worship the golden image you set up

That took holy boldness, but Proverbs 28:1 tells us "The righteous are as bold as a lion." Mishael, Hannaniah, and Azariah are getting ready to endure a type of "baptism by fire", andKing Nebuchadnezzar will shortly have the answer to his question "who is that God that shall deliver you?"