July 21, 2001 – July 27, 2001
MEMORY VERSE “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2.
STUDY HELP: Prophets and Kings, 503–513.
“Important are the lessons to be learned from the experience of the Hebrew youth on the plain of Dura. In this our day, many of God’s servants, though innocent of wrongdoing, will be given over to suffer humiliation and abuse at the hands of those who, inspired by Satan, are filled with envy and religious bigotry. Especially will the wrath of man be aroused against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and at last a universal decree will denounce these as deserving of death. The season of distress before God’s people will call for a faith that will not falter. His children must make it manifest that He is the only object of their worship, and that no consideration, not even that of life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to false worship.” Prophets and Kings, 512.
“In the Plain of Dura”
1 What gesture of pride did Nebuchadnezzar make? Daniel 3:1.
NOTE: “Light direct from Heaven had been permitted to shine upon King Nebuchadnezzar, and for a little time he was influenced by the fear of God. But a few years of prosperity filled his heart with pride, and he forgot his acknowledgment of the living God. He resumed his idol worship with increased zeal and bigotry. From the treasures obtained in war he made a golden image to represent the one that he had seen in his dream, setting it up in the plain of Dura, and commanding all the rulers and the people to worship it, on pain of death. This statue was about ninety feet in height and nine in breadth, and in the eyes of that idolatrous people it presented a most imposing and majestic appearance.” The Sanctified Life, 36, 37.
“Thus the grand lesson given by God to the heathen, and to all people, was misconstrued and misplaced. That which was designed by God to teach lessons of truth, and to give the world clear, distinct rays of light, Nebuchadnezzar turned from its purpose, making it minister to his pride and vanity. The prophetic illustration was made to serve for the glorification of humanity. The symbol designed to unfold important events was turned into a symbol which would hinder the spread of that knowledge which God designed the kingdoms of the earth should receive. By the height and beauty of his image, by the material of which it was formed, the king sought to make error and false doctrine magnificent and attractive, more powerful, seemingly, than anything God had given.” Signs of the Times, April 29, 1897.
2 What command did Nebuchadnezzar make regarding the image? Daniel 3:2–7.
NOTE: “This scheme, devised in the counsel of Satan, was made in order to compel the three Hebrew children to obey human laws in direct opposition to the laws of Jehovah. The most learned of the nation, men who were noted for their aptness and educational advantages, thus worked to form a confederacy that would exalt the king of Babylon and excite enmity against the Hebrew captives. They prevailed upon the king to enact certain laws which these youth could not consent to respect. The worship of the image which the king had set up, was made the established religion of the country.” Signs of the Times, September 2, 1897.
“There are Certain Jews”
3 What accusation was made by certain Chaldeans? Daniel 3:8–12.
NOTE: “These men who thus accused the Hebrews had been saved from death by Daniel’s appeal to the king in their behalf, but they were envious of the three Hebrews, and were desirous of hurting their influence; they therefore carried the complaint to the king that these men had dared to disobey his commands.” Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.
4 What was the king’s immediate reaction to the news of the three young men’s disobedience? Daniel 3:13.
NOTE: “The thought that his slightest wish should not be respected at the dedication of the image, filled the king with rage, and he commanded that the men be brought before him. ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? ’ How short-lived is the exaltation bestowed by men! How little dependence can be placed in them! These three men, once honored, and entrusted with great responsibilities, are now the objects of the wrath of a king whose will is law. Truly we can not trust in princes.” Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.
5 What was the king’s considered response? Daniel 3:14, 15.
NOTE: “As the three Hebrews stood before the king, he was convinced that they possessed something the other wise men of his kingdom did not have. They had been faithful in the performance of every duty. He would give them another trial. If only they would signify their willingness to unite with the multitude in worshiping the image, all would be well with them; ‘but if ye worship not,’ he added, ‘ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.’ Then with his hand stretched upward in defiance, he demanded, ‘Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? ’” Prophets and Kings, 507.
“Our God is Able to Deliver”
6 What response did the three give the king? Daniel 3:16–18.
NOTE: “They had learned from the history of their fathers that disobedience to God is dishonor, disaster, and ruin; that the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of wisdom but the foundation of all true prosperity. They look with calmness upon the fiery furnace and the idolatrous throng. They have trusted in God, and He will not fail them now. Their answer is respectful, but decided: ‘Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up’ (Daniel 3:18).” The Sanctified Life, 37.
“Thus these youth, imbued with the Holy Spirit, declared to the whole nation their faith, that He whom they worshiped was the only true and living God. This demonstration of their own faith was the most eloquent presentation of their principles. In order to impress idolaters with the power and greatness of the living God, His servants must reveal their own reverence for God. They must make it manifest that He is the only object of their honor and worship, and that no consideration, not even the preservation of life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to idolatry. These lessons have a direct and vital bearing upon our experience in these last days.” In Heavenly Places, 149.
7 What punishment immediately followed the young men’s reply? Daniel 3:19–21.
NOTE: “When the king saw that his will was not received as the will of God, he was ‘full of fury,’ and the form of his visage was changed against these men. Satanic attributes made his countenance appear as the countenance of a demon; and with all the force he could command, he ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than its wont, and commanded the most mighty men to bind the youth, and cast them into the furnace. He felt that it required more than ordinary power to deal with these noble men. His mind was strongly impressed that something unusual would interpose in their behalf, and his strongest men were ordered to deal with them. The king’s command was urgent. He was anxious to punish the men who had dared to exercise their will in opposition to his will; and without delay, with all their clothing upon them, they were cast into the fire.” Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.
“Four Men Loose Walking In the Midst of the Fire”
8 What was the effect of the furnace on the executioners of the three young men? Daniel 3:22.
NOTE: “The king’s wrath knew no limits. In the very height of his power and glory, to be thus defied by the representatives of a despised and captive race was an insult which his proud spirit could not endure. The fiery furnace had been heated seven times more than it was wont, and into it were cast the Hebrew exiles. So furious were the flames, that the men who cast them in were burned to death.” The Sanctified Life, 38.
9 What astonishing sight met Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes? Daniel 3:24, 25.
NOTE: “How did that heathen king know what the Son of God was like? The Hebrew captives filling positions of trust in Babylon had in life and character represented before him the truth. When asked for a reason of their faith, they had given it without hesitation. Plainly and simply they had presented the principles of righteousness, thus teaching those around them of the God whom they worshiped. They had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come; and in the form of the fourth in the midst of the fire the king recognized the Son of God. . . .” Conflict and Courage, 252.
10 What wonderful Bible promise was thus fulfilled? Isaiah 43:2.
NOTE: “He who walked with the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace will be with His followers wherever they are. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain. In the midst of the time of trouble—trouble such as has not been since there was a nation—His chosen ones will stand unmoved. Satan with all the hosts of evil cannot destroy the weakest of God’s saints. Angels that excel in strength will protect them, and in their behalf Jehovah will reveal Himself as a ‘God of gods,’ able to save to the uttermost those who have put their trust in Him.” Conflict and Courage, 252.
“Nor Was an Hair of Their Head Singed”
11 What words did the king address to the three young men? Daniel 3:26.
NOTE: “And now, his own greatness and dignity forgotten, Nebuchadnezzar descended from his throne and, going to the mouth of the furnace, cried out, ‘Ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.’ Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth before the vast multitude, showing themselves unhurt. The presence of their Saviour had guarded them from harm, and only their fetters had been burned. ‘And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.’” Prophets and Kings, 509.
12 What effect had the fire had upon them? Daniel 3:27.
NOTE: “And they obeyed, showing themselves unhurt before that vast multitude, not even the smell of fire being upon their garments. This miracle produced a striking change in the minds of the people. The great golden image, set up with such display, was forgotten. The king published a decree that any one speaking against the God of these men should be put to death; ‘because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.’” Review and Herald, February 1, 1881.
13 What was the king’s reaction to the courage and faith of the three young men? Daniel 3:28–30.
NOTE: “These three Hebrews possessed genuine sanctification. True Christian principle will not stop to weigh consequences. It does not ask, What will people think of me if I do this? or, How will it affect my worldly prospects if I do that? With the most intense longing the children of God desire to know what He would have them do, that their works may glorify Him. The Lord has made ample provision that the hearts and lives of all His followers may be controlled by divine grace, that they may be as burning and shining lights in the world. These faithful Hebrews possessed great natural ability, they had enjoyed the highest intellectual culture, and now occupied a position of honor; but all this did not lead them to forget God. Their powers were yielded to the sanctifying influence of divine grace. By their steadfast integrity they showed forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. In their wonderful deliverance were displayed, before that vast assembly, the power and majesty of God. Jesus placed Himself by their side in the fiery furnace, and by the glory of His presence convinced the proud king of Babylon that it could be no other than the Son of God. The light of Heaven had been shining forth from Daniel and his companions, until all their associates understood the faith which ennobled their lives and beautified their characters. By the deliverance of His faithful servants, the Lord declares that He will take His stand with the oppressed and overthrow all earthly powers that would trample upon the authority of the God of heaven.” The Sanctified Life, 39, 40.