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!

  1. The Image

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.)

    2. 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!)

  2. The Challenge

    1. Read Daniel 3:4-6. Now do you want to be invited?

      1. Read Daniel 2:46-47. How could Nebuchanezzar have
        gotten so off track?

        1. 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

      2. 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

      3. 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.)

    2. Read Daniel 3:7. Was there any problem among the people,
      according to this text, with worshiping the image? (No.)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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
        challenge Daniel.)

    4. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    5. 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
      regular practice.)

      1. 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.”)

    6. 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.)

      1. 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
        in charge.)

    7. 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.)

      1. Re-read the last part of Daniel 3:15. What does this
        tell you about Nebuchadnezzar’s pride?

    8. Read Daniel 3:21-23. If you were tossed into the fire,
      would you think that God decided not to save you?

    9. Read Daniel 3:24-25. Will God wait until the last minute
      to save you?

      1. 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.)

      2. What does this tell us about Jesus? (He might not
        keep us from experiencing problems, but He is with us
        in the fire.)

  3. Aftermath

    1. Read Daniel 3:26-27. Why does Nebuchadnezzar call them
      “servants of the Most High God,” and why is he no longer

      1. Has the decision of Daniel’s three friends brought
        glory to God?

    2. 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
      remain faithful.)

      1. Does it seem to you that Nebuchadnezzar has an
        extreme personality?

    3. Put yourself in the place of the astrologers who reported
      them. How is life going for them?

      1. 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.)

    4. 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!

  4. Next week: From Pride to Humility.