Introduction: Have you been in a crowd which is standing to praise a
person? What if you did not agree that special praise was due? Did
you stand anyway? Have you been in church when they asked those to
stand who wanted to make a new commitment to God, and you were fine
with your current commitment? If you stood because of peer pressure,
or a concern about how you might look, imagine if your life depended
upon standing up? For most people, sin comes to them in small
decisions. It is not, as we study this week, one big, clear decision
that determines life or death. Let’s jump back into our story of
Daniel and his friends!
- The Image
- Read Daniel 3:1. This image is about the same height as
the Statue of Liberty in the harbor of New York City. What
do you think inspired King Nebuchadnezzar to build this
ten-story artwork? (It is the result of the dream we
studied last week.)
- Has Nebuchadnezzar taken some artistic license with
his dream? (Read Daniel 2:37-38. In the dream, only
the head was made of gold. The head represented
Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. But, now the whole
statue seems to represent him. No doubt the face was
made to look like Nebuchadnezzar.)
- Aside from pride and arrogance, why would
Nebuchadnezzar make this alteration? It would
cost a lot less to be faithful to the dream!
(To be faithful to the dream would broadcast to
the world that Nebuchadnezzar’s empire was
temporary and his glory fleeting.)
- Read Daniel 3:2-3. Is this the “hot ticket” in town? Is
this the dedication to which you would want to be invited
to show that you are important? (If you were part of the
power structure of the nation, if you are “somebody,” then
you want to be invited!)
- The Challenge
- Read Daniel 3:4-6. Now do you want to be invited?
- Read Daniel 2:46-47. How could Nebuchanezzar have
gotten so off track?
- Do you think the other wise men might have had
something to do with this? Is this a way to
get back at Daniel? (If so, apparently they
have forgotten that he saved their lives.
However, he is now their boss. See Daniel
- What does the death threat in Daniel 3:6 tell us
about the nobility’s view of Nebuchadnezzar?
(Something must be wrong if he has to threaten them
with immediate death. Perhaps they are loyal to their
gods. Perhaps the wise men are still angry about
their near-death experience that this statue
- We are going to see later ( Daniel 3:12) that Daniel
is not present. How could this be? Isn’t he the most
obvious person (other than Nebuchadnezzar) to be
present? (We will discuss this in more detail later,
but Daniel’s absence seems very unusual. Keep in
mind that one commentator suggested this event is
about 18 years after the dream.)
- Read Daniel 3:7. Was there any problem among the people,
according to this text, with worshiping the image? (No.)
- Read Daniel 3:8-12. Why do you think these astrologers
came forward to report Daniel’s three friends? (One key
may be in the language “whom you have set over the affairs
of the province.” They are jealous about their position.
Imagine the indignity of captured slaves being promoted
over you! Perhaps the astrologers are anxious to preserve
the dignity of their gods.)
- I asked earlier about Daniel. Do you think these
friends were with the crowd when the command came to
worship the statue? (I do not. Otherwise, it would
have been instantly known that they refused. Somehow
Daniel and his friends managed to avoid being in the
crowd when the command came.)
- Why did the astrologers not mention Daniel? (We don’t
know. It seems unlikely to me that Daniel would have
arranged a trip for himself and not his friends. My
best guess is that these astrologers were afraid to
- Read Daniel 3:13-14. How do you explain the change between
Daniel 2:46-47 and Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude now? (Pride
warps a person.)
- From a legal point of view, what good thing do you
find in these verses? (Nebuchadnezzar is affording
them “due process.” He does not accept the allegation
as true, he confronts Daniel’s friends with the
allegation and allows them to answer.)
- Read Daniel 3:15-16. What other mercy does Nebuchadnezzar
show to them? (He gives them a second chance. This makes
it appear that worshiping the statue was becoming a
- Daniel’s three friends have the opportunity to defend
themselves, but they say they do not need to defend.
Why is that? (They are simply reminding
Nebuchadnezzar of what he confessed in Daniel 2:46-47. Essentially they say, “You know about our God and
you know why we cannot do this.”)
- Read Daniel 3:17-18. This is the most interesting
statement in our study this week. Are they expressing a
lack of faith in God when they admit He might not save
them? (I love this. First, they assert that their God has
the power to save them. Second, they assert that they
believe that He will. But, they admit they are not in
charge and they might die.)
- Why the admission that they might not be rescued?
(Consider what just happened to their nation. They
are not going to predict their God or dictate to Him.
Part of their loyalty to God is to accept that He is
- Read Daniel 3:19-20. Does Nebuchadnezzar have an anger
management problem? Do you think he is especially angry
because he knows better? (We know that Nebuchadnezzar
later on manifests a serious mental illness ( Daniel 4:29-33) that is a result of his pride.)
- Re-read the last part of Daniel 3:15. What does this
tell you about Nebuchadnezzar’s pride?
- Read Daniel 3:21-23. If you were tossed into the fire,
would you think that God decided not to save you?
- Read Daniel 3:24-25. Will God wait until the last minute
to save you?
- What is your view about the fourth person in the
fire? (Nebuchanezzar calls him “son of the gods.” I
believe that it is Jesus (before His incarnation) the
Son of God.)
- What does this tell us about Jesus? (He might not
keep us from experiencing problems, but He is with us
in the fire.)
- Read Daniel 3:26-27. Why does Nebuchadnezzar call them
“servants of the Most High God,” and why is he no longer
- Has the decision of Daniel’s three friends brought
glory to God?
- Read Daniel 3:28-29. Notice the King admits that they
defied him, yet his anger is gone and his attitude
completely changed. What does this teach us about problems
with our employer? (God is able to change things if we
- Does it seem to you that Nebuchadnezzar has an
- Put yourself in the place of the astrologers who reported
them. How is life going for them?
- What does this tell us about problems in life?
(Whether we follow God or not, we will face problems.
The advantage of following God is that He has
authority over everything and every problem.)
- Friend, have you figured out which side you should take in
life? Why not determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
to be faithful and bring glory to God? There will be a
promotion in it!
- Next week: From Pride to Humility.