"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Daniel 3:1-30 Commentary
by Richard W. Nysse
No Other God -- that assertion is at the core of this chapter as it is in the entire book of Daniel.
Our religious culture has commonly appropriated the book of Daniel in one of two ways:
1) heroic examples of faith that we are to emulate.
2) predictions that we are to decode and align with.
Both shift the focus from God to the pivotal action(s) we must/should do. While it may be self-evident that God is at the center of the book, our actual interpretive practice is to slip into an emphasis on our conduct.
In chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar intensifies his tyrannical demands. From a statue in a horrifying dream in the prior chapter, we move to a statue of the king's own making (3:1). He commands everyone to worship his statue (3:3-6) and thus the contest between divine pretension and God is set in motion. True, this directly challenges the faithfulness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and they are threatened with death (3:13-15). Their faithfulness to God is exemplary, but that is not the final point of the chapter.
The deepest source of amazement is God's faithfulness to them. Nebuchadnezzar ...
| Bible Text
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 014: Daniel
December 11, 2011
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is Daniel: Dan. 3:1-30.