Daniel 3:1-18 (Part 1) – When People Are Calling a Daffodil A Rose…

Posted: May 27, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 3:1-18

Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew what you were doing is wrong but because you were with a crowd of people you did it anyway? We like to think that we have outgrown that as we mature and become adults. However, behavior learned when you are young is difficult to break. When I think back to my youth, I was always a chameleon. Joining in with the crowd to gain acceptance was my mode of operation. When I was elementary school kid that meant standing with the crowd making fun of some poor kid. When I was a teenager that meant doing something that might not be legal just to gain acceptance. You know the drill. We all have been there before. It is so much easier to join in with the crowd than stand against it and be singled out, laughed at, and shunned. As grown-ups, we face the same challenges in our day to day lives. It is easier to accept unethical behavior at work than it is to call it out and potentially lose a job or at least be blackballed for future promotions. It is easier to take the path of least resistance.

 

As Christians, I am afraid that we do this much too often in the public arena. For example, the majority of Christians remain quiet as we slide further and further into a society that glorifies behaviors that are clearly against Scripture. Case in point is the current uproar over gender identity and public restrooms or locker rooms. We as Christians for the most part may quietly say to ourselves that this is just plain out wrong but yet we say nothing in the public arena. Meanwhile, these behaviors become part of the culture and become acceptable over time. The line of acceptable behavior keeps getting redrawn and we say nothing. We take no action. We are afraid of being vilified in the court of public opinion particular when it comes to the very vocal and well-organized alternative lifestyles movement, colloquially known at the LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) movement. The society has become so enamored with being considered cool and hip and progressive that it joins forces with this movement when issues arise. Rather than stand against the public push for “anything goes” and tolerance of all things, they are extremely intolerant of those who stand against those behaviors as being morally wrong. Certainly, we are to love our neighbors and not “go all Westboro Baptist” on the world but we are called by Christ to stand on His Word and not simply go along with whatever the world dishes out at us. My dad (and probably your dad too) use to say, “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you join in with them?”

 

The LGBT movement has said that Christians are scaring people when we point out that we are opening the door, literally, to sexual predators being in the same bathrooms and locker rooms with our daughters, wives and sisters. They say that most transgenders are harmless people who were never hurt a flea. And, we, as Christians, will cower away and become afraid to speak out. That the public accepts this as a new normal bothers us but we feel we are being backwards and don’t want to stand out. Much of the time, it is because we have less confidence in our faith and more confidence in being accepted by the general wave of public opinion. We generally don’t understand our own theology well enough to take a stand. We generally do not read, study, and meditate upon God’s Word on a regular basis to take a stand. Without being grounded safely in God’s Word, we often accept behavior as consistent with Scripture when it is not. We don’t want to fight so we join. It is clear from Scripture that transgenderism is not normal. It is also clear that we should not shun transgenders. We are to love them just as we are to love all sinners so that we may draw them closer to the cross. However, even though we are to love transgenders, we are to work with them and help them see that their fascination is deep-seated emotional issue that requires careful and loving attention to get at the root of this rebellion of who we are designed to be.

 

Clearly, Scripture tells us, as probe.org states in the article found at  https://www.probe.org/what-is-a-biblical-view-of-transgendered-people-and-hermaphrodites/ that:

God’s intent for every male is to grow into masculinity, and for every female to grow into femininity. When that doesn’t happen, the culture has come up with new labels to describe something new and different: transgendered, transsexual. I believe God isn’t affected by these new labels nor does He have to honor them: He sees the people behind the labels as His precious, broken children. It’s only recently that the culture has tried to suggest that “a woman in a man’s body” and vice versa is a variation of what is normal and right. The biology of sex alone tells us that homosexuality (under which these other categories of emotional/sexual dysfunction should be put) is not normal. The Bible tells us (Gen 1:26) that God’s intent is heterosexuality, with definite boundaries between men and women in both appearance and behavior.

 

And the author of the article concludes the piece by saying:

 

You asked for sound doctrine; I can only respond with the wise and loving boundaries that God has established for sex (which is usually the issue here, right?). All sexual behavior is to be contained within marriage (see the many condemnations of fornication). Men are to act and appear as men, and women are to act and appear as women (Deut. 22:5). Even those born with genital ambiguity are expected to submit to His boundaries. I realize this is a very politically incorrect perspective in a sex-saturated culture that declares sexual expression is a right for everyone. But it isn’t. God wants every person, regardless of their genital or chromosomal condition, to submit his or her sexuality to Him and to glorify Him in whatever state we find ourselves.

 

It is clear that we as Christians must submit to God’s leadership in this area and stand on Scripture. But before we do, we must examine our own sexual behaviors and submit our lusts, our affairs, our porn addictions and so on to Him and repent of these sins while we counsel those that feel they are in the wrong bodies. God designed us to be males and females attracted to one another and express our sexual desires to one another in the marriage bed. It is from this design that God intended families to be created and to ensure that line of man will continue. That is God’s plan. That the species cannot be continued through alternative lifestyles is clear that it is not part of God’s plan as well. Cosmetic surgery and feelings do not change chromosomes. Saying that Bruce Jenner is a woman does not change the fact that he can never menstruate, ovulate, and bear children. Alternatively, a woman who says that she feels like man does not change the fact that she can never father a child by generating sperm to fertilize a female egg. Feelings do not change scientific facts designed by God. Therefore, we should counsel those who live alternative lifestyles toward the cross and allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing. We should stand on the validity and the timeless nature of God’s Word and not simply accept the ever-changing boundaries of man’s moral landscape. The boundaries are clear and defined in God’s Word. Just because we have the ability to stick our hand on a hot burner does not mean we should do it. God’s Word guides in all areas of life and teaches us that though we can certainly do certain things in our free will but He protects us from what He knows is bad for us when we obey His Word. He is a good, good Father who wants to protect us from those things that will turn us away from Him and destroy us in the process.

 

However, most of us will simply fail to use these situations as opportunities to witness in love to those of transgender lifestyles. We would rather be seen as part of the hip-now-wow crowd that is accepting and glorifying such behavior because it’s hip and it’s cutting edge. It takes guts nowadays to stand up against this tide as it rushes over us. We would rather blend in and worship the idol of total tolerance of any behavior than we are willing to stand up and stand out. We would rather worship this idol than suffer the consequences of the intolerance of the tolerance movement. We would rather not stand on principle because we do not want to lose our boats, cars, 3,000 square foot homes, and our vacations at the beach. We would rather be quiet and just accept the coming tide. We would rather watch our 70” inch televisions and complain that the world is going to hell in a handbasket than we are willing to stand up against the tide of public opinion.

 

Having the trust in God to stand up against a command that we know to be against God’s commands is what we see in Daniel 3:1-18 today when we read:

 

3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,[a] 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.

 

8 At this time some astrologers[b] came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

 

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

 

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood their ground in not submitting to the decree to worship an idol. They did not care what it would cost them. They trusted in God completely. They knew that either God would spare them from death or they would find themselves in heaven at their Master’s feet. They lived in complete and total trust in God. They would not compromise their principles just to keep their cushy lifestyle. They had good jobs and lived in the emperor’s palace. They had it good. However, they knew that this blessed life they were living came from God and not from man. They were not willing to swallow what was against God’s commands just to get along, just to fit in, just to keep their income coming in. They would not throw their faith under the bus just to get by.

 

So, here we are in the 21st century facing similar circumstances. Do we stand up and say that we that the new normal is not normal. Do we stand up to the court of public opinion? No one is doing the talking but the LGBT movement. We are silent. We are afraid. When no one else is doing the talking, the public is going to drift toward the noise of those who are saying that a daffodil is a rose because we say it’s a rose even though everyone looking at the daffodil knows deep down that it’s a daffodil. No one is willing to say it’s a daffodil because we would rather just keep out boats, our new cars, our jet skis, our country club access, and our vacation home at the beach. May we one day have the guts of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to stand up and scream, “IT’S A DAFFODIL!”

 

 

Amen and Amen.

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