What Does Daniel 3:1 Mean?

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

Daniel 3:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The book of Daniel opens with the fall of Jerusalem, the capture of King Jehoiakim, the exile of the Jews and enforced enslavement. Many good-looking young Israelites, of royal descent, were forced to serve in the Babylon court. The faithfulness of Daniel and his three friends are brought to our immediate attention. Their respectful request to abstain from eating Babylonian food identifies them as godly men, who trusted the Lord - whom He would use to fulfil His purposes and plans.

We immediately see the Lord working through these young men, whom He used to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's troubling dream, while revealing the course that human history would take, from the days of the Babylonian Empire to the time Jesus will return to earth - to destroy the kingdoms of this world and set up His prophesied Millennial kingdom, of peace, prosperity, and righteousness

Like the two previous chapters, Daniel Chapter 3 plunges into high drama. King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue, 90 feet high and nine feet wide. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. As the chapter unfolds we find the king ordering every subject in His realm to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar set up.

The moment the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music they were to fall down and worship the statue of gold. This opening verse of Daniel Chapter 3 catapults us into a most dramatic situation.

The previous chapter had finished with the king glorifying God and promoting Daniel and his three friends, because he had interpreted his terrifying dream. The dream showed how the rest of human history would unfold, starting with Nebuchadnezzar's mighty kingdom - the head of gold. The great God of heaven and earth had revealed how Babylon was the first and greatest of a series of successive world empires, that would dominate the world scene - until the kingdoms of this world would be smashed to smithereens, by a Stone that was cut, without hands.

So impressed was the king with this revelation that he fell down and paid homage to Daniel, and cried out, “Your God is indeed God of all gods. He is Lord of all kings, and a revealer of mysteries, since you were able to reveal this mystery.” The king even promoted Daniel, gave him many generous gifts, and appointed him ruler over the entire province of Babylon. But Nebuchadnezzar also glorified in his position as the head of gold and lustful pride entered his heart.

The king soon forgot his outburst of praise to the Lord and craved the worship that belongs to Him alone. He commanded the people of every nation and language to fall down and worship the gold statue that he set up, for Chapter 3 begins, "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon". 

Nebuchadnezzar rejected Daniel's prophetic timeline. He contradicted God's word and substituted his own preferred plan, making the "Head of Gold" into a massive, golden statue, where Babylon would remain the world-dominating, global power, forever! But God is not mocked. His plans and purposes will never fail. Indeed, Heslop records that, "On the plains of Dura there stands today, a mound, about twenty feet high, an exact square of about forty-six feet at the base, resembling the pedestal of a colossal statue.

God is the Sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth. Governments and kings are set up by God, and are brought down by His almighty hand. Worldly kingdoms come and go. Rulers are lifted up by the Lord and replaced as His wills - but God has purposed in His heart to set up His anointed King, Who will smash all worldly rule. Proud kings and arrogant people continue to reject the truth, and the same desire for world domination that was exposed in Nebuchadnezzar's heart, thrives today.

Daniel and his three friends had a choice to make when confronted with evil - to stand firm in the faith, and honour the Lord OR compromise their trust in God by bowing to the golden image. We too have a choice to make when confronted with evil. Joshua challenged Israel by saying, "choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me - we will serve the Lord" and we face similar challenges.

As we face the increasing difficulties and dangers ahead, may we choose wisely and correctly. May we not allow the world to shape us into its mould - BUT stand firm in the faith, knowing that He has promised to strengthen us to the end, so that we will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that in the difficulties and dangers that cross my path, I will stand firm in the faith and maintain my trust and my hope in You. Thank You for the example of men like Daniel, who honoured You, no matter what challenges he faced. Give me courage in the face of danger, wisdom when confronted by godless men, and hope in Your eternal word of truth. Thank You for my great salvation and for the knowledge that Christ has already gained victory over this world's system. Thank You that Jesus is coming back to crush the kingdoms of this world and set up His eternal rule of righteousness - praise Your holy name, AMEN.

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