Daniel 2: 24—3: 30
The fact that Daniel could tell Nebuchadnezzar (from now on known as Neb) what he dreamed of is the authentication that Dan is speaking with the Lord’s authority. It is the “near prophecy” coming true, if you will. So then what Dan says about the interpterion of the dream can be trusted. Neb is awed and believes that God is the greatest God. On this side of that prophecy we have the advantage of being able to see history play out, and parts of this interpretation come true. The gold is Neb, the silver is the Medo-Persians, the bronze is the Greeks, the iron is the Romans and the clay/iron is the kingdom that was left in the wake of the very disunified Romans. Obviously, the rock cut from the mountain is representative of the fact that God will overthrow all human government in the future.
But Neb’s awe is short lived and before long he runs with the “gold” theme and erects a statue for himself. He then makes it an edict that everyone must worship him. That my friend is where we faithful get to draw a line in the sand. That is when you refuse government officials and stick with God. The theme today is that faith is purified by fire. When you are being persecuted for refusing to bow down to an idol God will show up for you every single time.
1 Peter 4: 7—5: 14
Hmmmm, “don’t be surprised at fiery trials” you say dear Peter? Ok, we will take that and the example of our three friends fresh out of the furnace from the section above and choose joy when we are suffer for believing in Christ. But don’t miss this either! Don’t you dare blame the consequences of your bad choices on God. Suffering from your bad decisions is just reaping what you are sowing. Suffering for refusing to deny Christ will be rewarded. Let me put it another way….If you are broke because you are up to eyeballs in debt, demoted at work because you are a punk who can’t show up on time, car breaks down because you never change the oil, hated because you are gossip and mean and persecuted by the law because you murdered someone who made you mad—DON’T SEND GOD THAT BILL, THAT IS ALL YOU BUDDY. However, if you are broke because you gave all your money to the church but live in your means, demoted at work because you wanted to lead a bible study, your car is damaged because you pull over on the side of the highway to render aid to someone, made fun of because you always talk about Jesus, and persecuted because you will not bow down and worship a fake god—TRUST GOD WITH IT BECAUSE HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.