Daniel 3-4: Praise and Extol
November 21, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Two famous stories. First, the fiery furnace. The king makes an image of gold and commands everyone to worship it or else be thrown into a fiery furnace (3:1-7). The Jews are accused for failing to engage in such idol worship (3:8-12), and so they are thrown into the furnace (3:13-23)—but amazingly they are preserved (3:24-27). And even more so: “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods” (3:25). And recognizing this as God’s extraordinary miraculous intervention (3:28), the king recognizes God’s unique power: “there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” (3:29). The king even says, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation” (4:3).
Now comes the king’s second dream, this time one less favorable than the first (4:4). The king is growing arrogant and so “shall be made to eat grass like an ox” (4:32), until “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me” (4:34). And therefore “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (4:37).
The lesson, of course, is that God is sovereign. And that even a fiery furnace, or an arrogant individual empowered by his own wealth, cannot long gainsay the sovereign power of God. And we should therefore also “praise and extol” the Lord God.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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