A few weeks ago, I introduced the church to chiasms in the Bible. For those of you who did not see that note, let me remind you what a chiasm is: a pattern within a passage in which the second half parallels the first half, but in reverse order. For instance a verse, chapter, or book may be laid out in a pattern of A-B-C-D-C-B-A. Remember that the first ‘A’ corresponds with the last ‘A’, ‘B’ with ‘B’, etc. Whatever lies at the center is the main point. The whole book of Daniel consists of two-interlocked chiasms. But Daniel 3 presents us with a chiasm inside a chiasm—a main point (in the chapter) inside a main point (in the book). The main point in Daniel 3 comes when they confess their faith in God (point ‘D’ below).
|A Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship the golden image (vv.1-7)|
|B The Jews accused (vv.8-12)|
|C The Jews threatened (vv.13-15)|
|D The Jews confess their faith (vv.16-18)|
|C The Jews punished (vv.19-23)|
|B The Jews vindicated (vv.24-27)|
|A Nebuchadnezzar’s decree honoring the Jews & their God (vv.28-30)|
*Chiasm from Lucas, Ernest C., Daniel. InterVarsity Press, 2002.
What you and I are to primarily take away from this chapter is that we must confess our faith and trust in God no matter what the circumstance or consequence. Perhaps you will not be as well liked or respected or even privileged if you take a stand by confessing your faith and trust in God. But you must do so anyway. God is able to deliver; maybe He will, maybe He won’t. That’s up to Him. Don’t play God by being overly concerned with the results or consequences. Do what you know to be right and let God do the rest. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God’s Word; they knew it was necessary to obey it. They knew that God had the power to deliver; they also knew that He had the right not to deliver. You are to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. If you do this, you will be saved (Rom 10:9). This happens every day in a million tiny ways. Confess Christ, and no other.