Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” – Daniel 2:13-15
A Prize-Winning Poem
They have a pretty park,
In the daytime or the dark.
But the question that just won’t budge
Is, “Will they have their Pudge?”.
I was able to “Get in. Get on, and be good,” many years ago on the Fish For Lunch sports talk radio program in Dallas. The Texas Rangers had a beautiful new ballpark, but All-Star catcher Pudge Rodriguez was being sought by many other (better) teams. Because of all that I won tickets to a Dallas Mavericks pro basketball game.
The Mavs were not that good, but you wouldn’t know it by the hype and production at Reunion Arena the night of the game. It was a spectacle; a production from before the first tip-off of the game. Mavman climbed down a rope from the top of the arena, lights were flashing, fog was thick, and the music was driving. The show was on! Too bad the Mavs were not.
The same could be said for the king’s idolatrous call to worship. There was much ado: the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music was not a mere invitation to worship; it was a demand for homage. This was truly a command performance. Hear the music? Bow down and worship…or else.
Basketball hype gives way to red-carpet entrances, movie premier galas, politically-correct parades, and any number of showy expressions of self-importance. All of these demand attention. All of these require that we bow down and worship in some form or another.
The consequences of failing to give proper honor to these modern-day idols may be different, but the requirement is still there. Stare in amazement. Ooh and ahh. Giggle with glee. Get excited. If you don’t it’s not a fiery furnace that awaits you; it’s being left out in the cold, and ignored, or dismissed as a Luddite, stick-in-the-mud, or worse.
It is very difficult not to be seduced by these glittery expressions of American pop culture. In fact one TV show makes no bones: their contestants vie for the title of American Idol.
The only way one can avoid this alluring call to false worship is to know clearly who is and who is not your God. The king asks, “And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” We must answer: the Lord God, creator of the universe, redeemer of lost mankind, and sanctifier of sinners; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship the God who has delivered us from sin, death, and the devil, and poured out his Spirit on us so that we believe in him, and can stand against all the wiles, hype, and much ado of every idol. Thanks be to God!