That Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that the God of Daniel, who he has maintained covenant with, through these fruits, vegetables, and water, is a true God and an authentic God. And he therefore promotes Daniel to be head of the wise men, third in power and influence in the kingdom.

And in turn, Daniel takes the three Hebrew boys who also subsisted on fruit, vegetables, and water and promotes them to serve as his assistants. Now, this is what's going to really, really kind of mess you up. And this is something that we don't always talk about. It's one of the unobserved items in the story. Remember, Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head. You are the gold. You, the Babylonian Empire, remember gold of all of the metals that are described in the dream, gold, silver, brass, bronze, iron, clay, of all of those

elements, gold is the most valuable. Gold is the most highly regarded. And he likens the gold to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire. Now, in response to that, beloved, get this, in response to that, and given that interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar then creates a statue of all gold. But here's what you miss. He creates this statue representative of his empire because he is told by Daniel that he is the goal, that the head of the statue,

the golden portion of the statue is Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar. In response to the interpretation of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar creates this golden statue and then requires everyone to kneel down and bow to that statue. Now, of course, to do so would be a violation, again, of the covenant with God. Now, remember, the Hebrew boys are in Babylon because their people had not maintained a covenant with God. And so from their vantage point in perspective,

the very worst thing that they could do was to aggravate that situation of not being in covenant with God by falling out of covenant or doing something that was not within the covenant of God.

And so when this golden statue that's created in response to what Daniel has shared with the king and informed the king that these three Hebrew boys who have been promoted over them are ignoring the decree and the edict of the king, and they are not worshiping him, the king,

as instructed by the law. Now, this is what is subtle, and this is what I need you to see. The form and the protocol for worship was to bend at the knee, to bow the head, and to bow forward in a kneeling position,

position and bowed head in the direction of the deity. So at the sound of the trumpet, everyone was to drop to their knees and then bend forward with the upper portion of their body, get where I'm going, and their head bowed in the direction of the deity, which would have been the statue. Now, I can liken this. Many of you have seen Muslims who pray five times facing

the east. They'll get a carpet. They'll kneel on that carpet or that prayer cloth. They kneel. And then with the upper portion of their body, they bow forward with their head down in order to pray. That was the position of worship in the ancient world.

Now, Bishop, why are you telling us this? I'm telling you this because it becomes painfully obvious that the only way the other noblemen could have told on the three Hebrew boys if they themselves were as disobedient as they were accusing the three Hebrew boys of being. Watch this now. Because if at the sound of the trumpet,

they all had dropped to their knees and they all had bowed forward with their head down, it would have been impossible to see who was not bowing, who was not worshipping as instructed by the law. And the fact that they were eyewitnesses to the three Hebrew boys not bowing meant that they were disloyal. They were disobedient.

They were not doing what the law said in order for them to tell the snitch or to reveal to the king what the three Hebrew boys were not doing. Well, you perhaps know the story that when the king learns of the refusal of these three Hebrew boys not to bow, he orders them to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Now, here's what I need to go back and you've heard me teach this before. There are four syllables in the Hebrew language,

all of which mean God. Four syllables that mean God. E-L, A-L,

E-H, A-H.

So in the Hebrew tongue or the Hebrew language, anytime you see E-H or A-H or E-L or A-L, it always means God. And wherever you find it, it means God is connected to that word or that name that includes one of those four syllables, E-H, A-H, E-L, A-L. You'll notice that the names of these Hebrew boys all have one of those four syllables

embedded in their name. Daniel, D-A-N-I-E-L. Azariah, A-Z-A-R-I-A-H, Mishel, M-I-S-C-H-E-L, Hananiah, H-A-N-N-I-A-H, which means that the name of their God

is embedded in their Hebrew names, Daniel, Azariah, Hananiah, Mishael, all have the name of their God embedded in their name. Now, their names are changed when they arrive in Babylon. Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. And what is equally interesting is that just as their Hebrew names included the name of their Hebrew

God, their Babylonian names included the names of the Babylonian gods. It was an effort to erase their Hebrew culture and to dismantle their faith in God. However, because they maintained their covenant with God, when questioned about their refusal to bow to this idol God of gold that was made in response

to the interpretation provided by Daniel, they offered two responses, beloved. Response number one, our God is able to keep us against the harshest punishment you might apply to us. But even if he does not, we still will not bow down to your God because our ultimate affinity, our ultimate affection, our ultimate loyalty is to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And these three Hebrew boys are cast into the fiery furnace.

What has always puzzled me, and I will not speculate too much here, is why Daniel was not included in this. And I can only speculate as to how Daniel escaped detection by these envious noblemen who revealed and testified against the three Hebrew boys. But they are placed in the fiery furnace. He not only observes their preservation and their protection in the fiery furnace, but he sees, and you can see a picture here, that there is a divine presence that is with them in the fiery furnace. And this, like the first dream of Nebuchadnezzar,

convinces the king that the God of these Hebrew boys is indeed a true God, an authentic God. And he passes a new decree that no one, no one is to speak against these three Hebrew boys because their God is an authentic and genuine God. So hot was the fire that was prepared for these Hebrew boys until the men who built the fire were actually consumed by the fire that they were building. And here is what is so dazzling about this portion of the story. The Bible says that once the Hebrew boys come out of the fire-lit furnace, it says that

even the smell of smoke was not even on their clothes. preaching moment, but you can surely see and understand how the preaching perspective here is that when God is holding you up, he doesn't take the heat out of the flame, but he air conditions the body. Let me say it again. He doesn't take the heat out of the flame. He did not reduce the temperature of the flame. He did not reduce the temperature of the fire. But he insulated the bodies of those who were in the fire with such an air-conditioned preservation until none of the aspects, none of the Hebrew boys who were

such an air-conditioned preservation until none of the aspects, none of the Hebrew boys who were in the fiery furnace.

Transcribed with Cockatoo

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