Read Daniel 3:8-15
The part of this scripture that stands out the most to me is not the idol worship (we talked about that last week) and it wasn’t the fact that the three Jews did not bow down to it. What really caught my attention this time was the use of music for idol worship. I mean how could I not find it to be a focus point the instruments and the decree were repeated no less than four times during these first 15 verses of Daniel 3. Clearly there is some significance that I want to begin to unpack today.
You’ll want to hang on because we are going down, we are going deep today. Before Satan was cast out of heaven he was known as Lucifer. When Lucifer was an angel in heaven, he was the most powerful and beautiful being, an angelic heavyweight if you will. Ezekiel 28:13 says that he was fitted with trimbels and pipes. Basically, he was equipped to create various sounds like an instrument. Sounds, melodies, high and low pitches, he could produce musical sounds that no other creation could produce. Some people think the pride he had in his abilities is what led up to him becoming prideful and ultimately cast out of heaven.
Isaiah 14:11 talks about the noise he made or will make when he was cast down and when he will be cast down. It will have a sound like a bagpipe.
My point in all this is Lucifer had a unique place in the worship of God in heaven. He became arrogant and prideful and in his heart he declared that he would “ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13-14. He held true to his words; he has done everything he can think of to mimic the most High. He replicates all the good the Lord does. This section of Daniel is no different.
Lucifer worshiped God day after day until he decided that he wanted to be worshiped, then he was cast down to the earth. Now that he is here on earth he does everything he can to be “like God”, including creating images that people will worship instead of God. Music was meant to be a part of worship for the God of heaven. Over the years it has been defiled just like so many other things. Music’s original intention was to lead you into worship, it was intended to cause you to think of God and to celebrate him. But Satan has corrupted it.
As we read here in Daniel music is now being used to usher people into worship of an idol. Satan has drawn people’s attention from God and onto an idol. Daniel listed an impressive list of unique instruments, both wind and string instruments. He also mentioned all kinds of “musick”. The word musick in Hebrew means praise. In other words, every time you hear praise music you must bow down and worship the idol.
I wonder how it would be if you were told to bow down and worship an idol every time you heard a certain song playing on the radio? It seems silly, but honestly we do that in a way already. When a favorite song from your rebellious teenage years plays, what do you think about? Are you worshiping God or are you thinking back to that time when you were with your friends having a rebellious time, doing the things you knew were wrong? Sneaking alcohol or a smoke.
What about a song that you shared with a previous love interest? Are you thinking about your spouse or does it take you back to the times you shared with another? 80’s metal music makes me remember all the headbanging I did at dances; it does not prompt me worship Jesus. The music itself draws us away from God if we are not careful. That is the enemy’s intention to have us form a relationship with music that does not prompt us to worship the Lord. Music itself can become an idol and the question becomes who are you bowing to when you hear it?
Babylon is the head of the statue in the dream and this empire was the first to create an idol and now this idol is worshiped with music. The king decreed that anyone who does not bow down when the music plays will be cast into a fiery furnace.
The last empire to form (the toes of the statue) will be led by the antichrist and he will force people to bow to an idol. Again, Satan is mimicking the word, because if you do bow to these images rather than worship Jesus you will be tossed into a fiery furnace. This almost seems like a no-win situation here at least for three very well-known Jewish men.
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego are three of the Jewish men who were taken captive from Jerusalem. They are currently in leadership in provinces of Babylon. The Chaldeans apparently are not happy about their status and they take this opportunity to get even with them and to earn some bonus points with the king.
While the music played and thousands of leaders bowed, these three men stood, they stood out like sore thumbs. They refused to bow to this image, they refused to worship any idol for fabricated image at all. They chose, instead to stand, they chose to obey the law of Moses. They understood the importance of keeping God first, they understood their Jewish history and how idols worship lead to the downfall of Judah in the first place. These men saw firsthand how angry God became when his children worship other gods.
Everyone else was doing it, there really aren’t any other Jews standing so they could have easily gone along with it. Daniel was nowhere to be found so he would know what they did. They were men of integrity and they did the right thing even when they could have seemingly gotten away with it.
How many of you would have just thought, “oh I’ll bow down, except I’ll pray to Jesus instead” “no one will know I will just be worshiping God.” Desperately keeping one foot in the world and trying to keep the other foot in heaven. It doesn’t work that way though. You can not bow to an idol and worship God with your mouth. You are to present your body as a living sacrifice and so whatever you bow to is what you worship. Whatever you give into continuously is what you worship. If you can’t say no to the flesh then that means you have an idol, that thing you can’t say no to is your idol.
They knew God was watching though. They knew God was there in the midst, ruling and watching. Just like he is with us. When you bow or worship other gods, the God is watching, he sees you. Knowing this these men refused to compromise.
Watching the three Jews stand, some Chaldeans decided to turn them in. They went straight to the king with the news. They remind him that he made the decree and yet the very Jews that he put into positions of influence are ignoring his commands. They tell the king they have no regard for him, they deliberately disobey him, and they give the names of the men to the king.
This caused the king to become furious with rage. He became a raging lunatic, he ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to brought before him, and he asked them if this is true. He must have had some respect for these men because he is giving them a second chance. Remember they were also found to be wiser than any of his wise men, I think he did have respect for them in that regard.
He asks if it true and gives them one more chance to bow down, if they do not they will be immediately tossed into a blazing furnace, then adds “Then what God will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
He knows he is the king of kings, but now he believes he is a god of gods and no other god has more power than he does.