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Nebuchadnezzar was an empire builder. He was really, really good at it, too. At one time, his vast empire covered most of the Middle East. Not bad for one who was little more than a teenager when he began his reign in 605 B.C. References show that he was a little older than Daniel and Daniel was about sixteen when he was sent to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace.
About 20 years into his 43-year reign, he had been so successful he decided it was time to ascend to god-like status. He had an image of himself built out of gold. It was 90-feet tall and 9-feet wide. His next move was to command all peoples of every language to fall down and worship the image at the sound of a loud chorus of instruments. It’s documented in Daniel 3:1-2. Not too bad for someone who was probably not quite 40. At least, that’s what Nebuchadnezzar thought.
Anyone who didn’t fall down and worship was to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Death by fire was common in the ancient world. The difference here is the furnace. This one was used to fire bricks. Nebuchadnezzar liked to have his bricks fired so his name and titles would be stamped on them for his building programs. The 3 who refused to worship the idol, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, were thrown into one of these furnaces. Nebuchadnezzar was so furious he had the fire stoked so high that the guards transporting the prisoners vaporized from the heat.
Imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s surprise when he looked to see if the traitors were toasted only to find them walking around and visiting with a fourth he said looked like a son of God. He called the three to come out. But where did the fourth go? That was the text of today’s sermon.
Copies of the sermon are always available and we would love to send you a CD of it. They are free. Call (417) 543-6219 to get a copy. However, if you would rather just pick one up, they are available at Strong’s Watch Shop in Barnes Shopping Center, Ava.