Review: We have state enforced worship of the head of state’s statue; decked out in gold no less. For those numerically inclined Nebuchadnezzar’s likeness measured roughly 90 feet tall x 9 feet wide (vv. 1-7)…Three Jewish boys refuse to bow and worship the idol statue (vv. 8-18) which, in turn, provokes the king to anger…As punishment, the three are sent into a burning, fiery furnace (vv. 19-23)…Remarkably, within the furnace, they meet their deliverer (vv. 24-25)…Nebuchadnezzar recognizes God and “His Angel” as the reason Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego survive the furnace (vv. 26-28)…By decree, God is publicly recognized and boys are give status in Babylon (vv. 29-30).
Analysis: That Nebuchadnezzar had an ego is a gross understatement…Here is an example of state enforced (v. 6) worship of said countries leader. Other examples of this happening that come to mind include Roman Emperor’s. Japanese Shinto’s, and communist Russia’s worship of Lenin, and his remains…At some point, going forward, the Bible predicts something like this will become a worldwide phenomena (cp. Rev. 13:4-15, 14:9-11)…The furnace is actually a crematorium…Babylon is bent on repeated propaganda (cp. vv. 5, 7, 15) to convince the populous of it’s right governance…One recall’s similar repeated broadcasting in Orwell’s “1984”…The boys simply decided not to participate in Babylon’s national insanity…That their actions not to worship Nebuchadnezzar is worthy of a death sentence comments on the extent of the totalitarian government that existed…The refusal to worship (vv. 17-18) Nebuchadnezzar and his idol regardless of whether God acts to save them or not is certainly one of the “crown jewel” testimonies in our Bible…Strikingly, the boy’s deliverance (vv. 24-27) is from within the furnace, not from it…There certainly are some big ideas in such a small chapter.