Be a Daniel (Stepping Up)
Part 3

This week we will be continuing our series of study in the book of Daniel.  We will learn of the faith of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, otherwise known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  The time had come for them to take a step up in faith.  They stood firm in their faith in The GOD of Heaven when faced with death and we like them can stand firm in our faith when facing fiery trials which are to try us.  I pray this lesson is as much a blessing to you as it has been to me learning it and teaching it.  I love you all and I am praying for you.  Please continue to pray for me. :O)

Handout: Be A Daniel (Stepping Up) Part 3

We will begin our study in Daniel chapter 3.

Daniel 3:1-7 “ 1Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
 4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.”

In our lessons thus far in the book of Daniel we have been making parallels from Babylon in Daniel’s day to the world and society we live in.  We have found much the same mentality in this present time as it was back in Babylon.  Keeping that in mind, we ask, where in the world did King Nebuchadnezzar get such an idea to build an image of this magnitude? 

Babylon was all about building up a name for oneself or building up ones image.  Just as King Nebuchadnezzar did, and this is very true in the world around us today. Advertisements are all about trying to get us to buy products that make our image better; we are all about making ourselves appear more amazing than we really are.  Not just with our looks but with our status in life, our jobs, and our possessions.  This world is all about impressions and making ourselves appear much grander, more popular, brighter, and richer than we really are.  It’s all a façade.  We should not be so concerned with how we look to others that we begin to lie about who we really are.  We should be who GOD made us to be.  Our priority should be in being the people GOD wants us to be.

We are talking about Image Builders here, building up our own images.  You may be asking, how would one know if he/she was an image builder?  I hope you are asking this to yourself because if you are, it means you have a desire to want to be genuine.  Now in searching our hearts about this, what we do not want to do is to become under slavery of guilt and condemnation.  What we do want is conviction in our hearts to become what we really are in CHRIST JESUS.  

Now the way to find out if you are in fact an image builder is to search your own heart and if you and I, are any different around others than what we are alone, then we are image builders.  If we are really different than what we appear to be around others, we are portraying a false image.  That’s not to say that we have to tell everyone our inner most heart or that we have to tell all in public, there are some things that should be kept between us and GOD, but we are placed here to be true, to be sincere and real.  We should be the same person at home that we are at church.  We should not be screaming and fussing and complaining on the way to church, and then going into church pretending to be little angels, only to fuss, argue, and complain etc. all the way back home and for the rest of the week!  We should be changed.  Yes, there will be times when we fall, but honest repentance and striving to be a good servant of GOD, whether in church or at home, is what we are to be.  Amen. We should be even more intimate with GOD when we are alone, and at home then we ever are in public.  Real intimacy with JESUS CHRIST will show in public if it is real and true in our everyday lives.  He will shine through us if we get ourselves out of the way.  Picture an eclipse in our solar system, a blockage of the sun.  The sun’s light can’t shine through.  We, many times if we are not very aware and careful, can have a spiritual eclipse to where we block THE SON trying to build ourselves up, and HE is blocked in our lives.  It is only when we step out of the way and let HIM overtake us, that HE will shine brightly through our lives!  That is what we want!  We are to lift up the name of JESUS CHRIST in every word and deed.

So where did King Nebuchadnezzar get the idea for this great image he set up?  He was definitely an image builder.  Remember the dream we studied in Daniel chapter 2?  That is exactly where he got the idea.  Let’s review Daniel chapter 2 for those who may just be starting with us.
Daniel 2:31-33 “ 31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.”
Daniel 2:37-38 “ 37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.”

Daniel had revealed the meaning of the image in the king’s dream.  He had told King Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom was represented as the head of gold, just the head mind you, but about sixteen years had passed and the king saw no signs of a silver kingdom taking over, or a brass or iron one, so he apparently got it in his mind that his kingdom was so powerful and great that GOD was wrong, that he was invincible and nothing could shatter his empire.  And so he built this image, a monument to himself, saying I am King and no other will over throw me, none will be like me.  He had the audacity to try to make everyone in the kingdom bow down to his image as if he were GOD.  

In our world today, isn’t that what so many people are trying to do?  So many are trying to be their own god?  Trying to raise themselves up above everyone else so that others will praise them?  It is the nature of this flesh to be puffed up in pride and to think that we are something great.  We like praise and prestige.  However God tells us in His word what we should strive to make ourselves in the image of.  

Romans 8:29 “For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of HIS SON, that HE might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The image of GOD’S only begotten SON JESUS CHRIST is image we should strive to be like.  Not just pretending to be like HIM, but honestly striving to be more like HIM in every word and deed.  When we are around others and when we are alone in the dead of night.  That’s what the Holy Spirit is here for.  He is our comforter and our helper.  He has started this work in us. To make us like JESUS… To be like JESUS!  Praise The LORD…HE IS WORTHY!  JESUS is the ultimate role model!

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”

Satan fights against this every way he can, and we are foolish if we give in to him and to self.  We are wise to walk in the spirit like Galatians 5:16 tells us to do so that we can become more and more like JESUS every day that we live and breathe!  That is the goal! So yes let us be image builders, but only with the goal of being just like JESUS CHRIST our perfect example!

Daniel 3:8-12 “ 8Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10Thou, 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: 11And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

 12There 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.”

Imagine it and put yourself right beside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  You have been told you will be burned to death if you do not bow down.  That’s some scary stuff.  However, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego WOULD NOT BOW DOWN.  I like to imagine that they remembered sitting at their mama’s knee and hearing their father tell them the laws given to Moses by GOD that they were not to bow down to anything or anyone other than the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.   They were not to praise any other god other than the GOD of Heaven and they stood firm!  Are you and I standing firm today?  Or are we bowing down to false idols.  Is there anything standing between you and GOD?  Search your heart.  
In your mind’s eye, picture the Plain of Dura and all these people stood and the music played and then dramatically, automatically, the horizon went flat…all except for three silhouettes standing upright and firm in their faith in the face of death.  Wow!  What a moment that must have been.  A jaw dropping moment for everyone around, and a proud moment for GOD who was looking down from HIS throne on his three faithful servants, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  What a smile must have crossed HIS face!  How blessed HIS heart must have been.  I want that.  I want to make HIM smile, and to make HIM proud.  I want to be a faithful servant, a good daughter to My FATHER.  

Now remember when we take a stand, there will be opposition, look for it.  The devil doesn’t give up easily.  The Chaldeans saw that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow and so they ran and told the king about this.  Now where do you suppose Daniel their strong one was?  Remember in Daniel chapter 2 the Word of GOD told us that Daniel had been placed on post at the King’s court, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been placed in positions of high rank in the kingdom at Daniel’s request.  Let’s review.

Daniel 2:49 “Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.”

Daniel was not there on the Plain of Dura because he was back where he was supposed to be at the king’s court doing his work.  Daniel had been their leader.  It had been Daniel who stood up and proposed that they not eat of the king’s meat when they were first brought to Babylon.  It was Daniel who had asked them to pray with him about the dream and it had been Daniel who GOD had given the secret to and had gone to the king and interrupted his dream.  It was Daniel who had requested that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be placed in the positions that they had at the time, but now it was time for them to make a stand alone without their leader.  It was time for them to stand on faith alone.

Who is your strong one?  Who is your leader?  Is it your pastor?  Your youth leader, is it the praise and worship leader, or the song leader, your Sunday school teacher, or your spouse?  Perhaps your strong one is the lady down the street who is a known prayer warrior.  Role models and leaders are good to have, but what happens when your strong one isn’t around and you are facing a fiery trial of your own?  You have to keep in mind that no matter how strong and close to GOD your strong one is, they are still human and they can only go so far with you, GOD has given them their own post to be at and their own work to do.  So what do you do when they are not there?  Do you just bow down like the rest of the world, or do you find strength in your faith in GOD and make a stand on your own?  That is what we are called to do!  Because no matter who has been the strong leader of your group or your church, there will be a time when you must stand alone, but know that if you will by faith, you are not really alone!  Because the true Strong One is with you at all times.  There is one who stands beside you and His name is Holy!  Praise The LORD!  You walk by faith and not by sight.
It is time for us as individual’s to step up!  It is good to have mentors, but what about when they are weak?  Will you fall too?  There comes a time that you will have to realize that it’s up to you.  You will never know what GOD wants to do in your life, until you step up and allow Him to work through you instead of depending on someone else to do what GOD has called you to do!  Yes, Beloved it’s time to step up on faith and allow GOD to make it grow and to do the work in you and through you that HE has planned.  This is my prayer for each child of GOD today.  Know that when you step out on faith, HE is your rock and will always keep your feet steady when you are trusting HIM.  GOD Bless you all until next time when we continue our series in Daniel chapter 3. :O)

Dear Righteous, Loving Father…
Thank You for Your Word and for this lesson today.  Thank You for comforting my heart in this time of trial and teaching me that it is for a reason and that You are with me.  I ask You to comfort each one of Your children today as they live and run the race that is before them.  Give us more wisdom, strength, and enable us to endure what we must endure and deliver us from what You choose to deliver us from, and help us to be thankful always in all things great and small, understanding that all good things come from You LORD. 

May, 2015