Comfort in the Affliction – The Rise of Idolatry
“3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,[g] and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 NIV
When we ended Daniel 2, we saw King Nebuchadnezzar seemingly repenting and confessing Daniel’s God as the God of gods and the Lord of kings. He admitted with his lips that Yahweh was the great God, but the truth didn’t sink into his heart. While he praised the God of Daniel in chapter 2, we see that he did NOT have a genuine change in heart. He professed faith in chapter 2, but showed that his heart was still wicked and prideful in chapter 3. Although Nebuchadnezzar originally encountered God in Daniel 2, he let his heart drift by Daniel 3 (which was likely twenty years later).
1 – Don’t Let Your Heart Drift
There are times we think we are good because we’ve once recognized the work of God and confessed Him to be Lord. Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3 shows us that if we are not diligent and continually guard our hearts, we can fall into the same trap as Nebuchadnezzar and let our hearts drift into idolatry. A true faith in God requires more than a one time decision. Following God means making the decision day by day, moment by moment, to surrender our lives to Him.
In chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar makes an image of gold that he calls the people to worship. The image of gold was built to send the message to the people, “Behold. My empire will not be followed by another… my kingdom will last forever!” Then he summoned all the people and demanded that they fall down and worship the gold image whenever the music played.
When the music played, if anyone did not fall down and worship the image of gold, they would face death by being thrown into a blazing furnace.
Here’s an interesting side note on this passage.
2 – There is Great Power in Music
Satan is a musician. Before his fall from Heaven, Satan was likely the worship leader in Heaven. God created music and ordained music as a means of praise, but we must be aware that it can be used either to draw people to God or to distract them from Him. Music can still move people to worship with great intensity and passion, or as Nebuchadnezzar shows us, it can also be used to motivate and move people into a spirit of idolatry.
In worship today, while we are moved by great worship music, it is important that we continually be moved to greater intensity and passion for God rather than for the music itself. There is great power in music to influence people, but we must not forget that music should be used to draw us to God… not to particular music styles or genre.
In secular music, we need to be aware and watchful not to allow the power of music to lull us into idolatry. Music that treats women as bitches or whores need to be removed from our ears. Don’t give Satan a place to enter in.
With the rise of idolatry in the land, we will find that there are three things that we can observe and learn from if we are going to dare to be Daniel’s in our society.
3 – The enemy has no problem with half-hearted worship.
Historically, we know that Nebuchadnezzar conquered countries and was a powerful ruler, but he was also known to be very liberal in allowing people to worship their own gods – though he also wanted them ALSO to worship his gods. Similar to Rome in Jesus’ day, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t mind people choosing to worship whatever God they wanted, so long as they acknowledged his god as being the god above all other gods.
This is also the way of the enemy. He doesn’t mind if you go to church on Sunday, as long as you feel okay about bowing down to his idols. Go to church if you want, just don’t be changed by it. Worship on Sunday, but bow to the gods of sex, money, and convenience on Monday through Saturday.
It is VERY likely that this is what happened to many Jews who were in captivity during the time of Daniel and his friends. They worshipped Yahweh, but also obeyed Nebuchadnezzar to worship his gods.
Lord my heart has a tendency to drift just like Nebuchadnezzar’s did. Lead me to guard my heart in all things and to keep a childlike innocence in my faith in You. I want to please You Lord… wherever You would have me to go… whatever You would have me to do. I want to have a fresh fire and faith like I did in the beginning. Move my faith from my head to sink into my heart. Grant that I would be in awe of You again. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.