Saturday 13 April 2013

Bible Book:

Daniel 3:1-18 Saturday 13 April 2013


This story is a separate one about Nebuchadnezzar, unconnectedwith chapter 2 where he practically has become a Jew in the way heacknowledges Daniel's God (Daniel2:47).

As you read this passage, think of it less as repetitivewriting, and more as a story to be read out to a crowd, who areinvited to join in the 'chorus' by repeating the lists of theofficials and the musical instruments along with the storyteller.The officials' names are a mixture of Akkadian and Persian offices;the musical instruments include Greek instruments which were notinvented or so-named at the time of Nebuchadnezzar but would havebeen known in second century BC Judea.

This is because this story is pure allegory. How do you respondin the second century BC to a Greek ruler who has desecrated thetemple by erecting a huge metal statue to the god Zeus, and who isburning alive Jews who are refusing to bow down to the other Greekgods? Antiochus IV Epiphanes wasn't content with anannualofficialbirthday. He demanded sacrifices were made on hismonthlybirthday -and for all the Jews to take part in the Greek rituals (2 Maccabees6:1-11).

So the story of Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue was told -standing 90 feet (27 metres) high and 9 feet wide. He too had toldJews to bow down to a statue; he too had threated to burn to deaththose who disobeyed. There are jealous officials who have lost outon promotion to Daniel's friends and have everything to gain bydenouncing them (Daniel 2:49). And the scene is set for ashowdown as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stand firm inworshipping God alone. The translation of verses 17-18 is difficult- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego don't question God's power to savethem; rather they see rescue as something that is God's choice.Even if God chose not to save them, they state that they wouldrather die in the fiery furnace than be unfaithful to God (1Maccabees 1:62-64), and are thus perfect examples to those whohear the story.

To Ponder

  • There are many differences between the way that Christianspractise their faith and live their lives. What practices would yousay are your 'bottom-line'? What would you refuse to do and see asnon-negotiable because of the way you choose to live yourlife?
  • To what extent do you think God would rather people be faithfuland die horribly than try to compromise in order to live longer andhope to change their enemies?
  • What are the idols that people of today worship?

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