Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel…
There is no other God that can deliver after this sort (ver. 29). Explain the king's real state of mind. He did not own Jehovah as the only God, nor command him to be worshipped. He only declared him to be able to save his servants as none other could, and commanded that there should be no reviling of his Name. Curious commingling of tolerance and intolerance. So slowly do men learn the principles of religions and ecclesiastical freedom. (Matthew Henry is full and good on this section.) But the text may be used as the starting-point for a good missionary sermon. Illustrations will be abundant in proportion to our acquaintance with the best missionary literature - not merely that which appears in so fragmentary a form in magazines but with full and exhaustive treatises, of which there are now many. The following outline is merely suggestive. and would have to be taken up selectively; for the whole would be far too much for one discourse.
I. EVILS FROM WHICH MAN CRIES FOR DELIVERANCE.
(1) Darkness of intellect in moral questions.
(2) Dwarfed, misplaced, perverted emotion.
(3) Torpidity of conscience (e.g. the extraordinary Pharisaism of the Chinese apart from the gospel, contrasted with his fear and pain when led by the convincing Spirit to a sense of sin).
(4) Terror of the awakened conscience, which nothing but the gospel can assuage.
(5) Paralysis of the will; i.e. sheer inability (i.e. moral) to do the thing we would. "I approve the good, but the evil I pursue" (Romans 7.).
(1) Individual. Perhaps most of the sorrows and discouragements of life wilt fall under this classification.
(a) Limitation. Nearly all forms of pain fall under this head; e.g. the feebleness of youth, weakness, sickness, deprivations, bereavements, discouragements, debility of age, etc.
(b) Strain. Battle of life. Work of life.
(c) Impending death.
(d) Imperfection of character; i.e. of the external manifestation of the good within.
(2) Social. There are evils that fall to us in our relations to our fellow-men. These arise from the extreme difficulty of carrying ourselves morally, rightly, in relation to our associates (see "Righteousness a Personal Relation," in Wace's 'Christianity and Morality,' p. 37, most suggestive). Hence many sorrows. Hence, too, many sins; wrongs in the family; unjust subjection of women; slavery; cruelty; neglect of ministration to suffering; breaches of the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments; war, etc. Hence, too, all political tyrannies and religious persecution. No liberty, equality, humanity, unity, or true independence.
II. DELIVERERS PROVED INCOMPETENT. All religions which have declined from the purity of the primaeval revelation, and in proportion to the extent of their departure. It may be necessary here to contrast the easy and flippant assumption that each religion is an evolution from the genius of each race, and con.genial with it, and conducive to its moral elevation. E.g. the contrast between the comparatively pure idea, which the New Guinea people have, of a Great Spirit and the horrors of their cannibal life. Surely these may not be left to such religion as they have evolved. In showing incompetence to deliver from evil, the religious of the world must be classified, and then the incompetence of each demonstrated in relation to evils enumerated above. The following classification is suggested:
1. Indifferentism; i.e. any negative system that ignores the religious nature of man.
4. Mere theism; e.g. the Brahmo-Samaj movement in India. Its failure to meet the sin and sorrows of men is abundantly proved (see its own literary organs in India).
5. Atheism ]PGBR> in all its modern forms; e.g. agnosticism, positivism.
6. Impure forms of Christianity. Note that even in Russia so deep is the void left by the Greek Church, that there are fifteen millions of Dissenters, whom Imperialism tries to crush. It would not be difficult to show that the Roman perversion of Christianity has proved incompetent, and just in proportion to its decline from primitive truth.
III. THE SAVIOUR ALMIGHTY. The whole history of Christ's kingdom, the facts of modern missions, our own experience, demonstrate the competence of Christ to fill the void of man's necessity, and to lift the burden from his surcharged heart; e.g. to enlighten the mind; to direct, purify, and elevate the emotions; to rouse and then soothe the conscience; to justify the will. And so with the other forms of evil marshalled above. Exhibit all this in detail, and demonstrate that "there is no other God that can deliver after this sort." - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
WEB: Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.