Topic: Worship The Lord Thy God Under Penalty Of Imprisonment Or Death
Series: The Smurfs, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episodes: King Smurf (Smurfs), Angel One (Star Trek: The Next Generation
Lesson PDF link: 33.pdf
This lesson equates Brainy Smurf to the attitude of King Nebuchadnezzar. I am using the episode of the Smurfs Called "King Smurf". Brainy isn't a good leader and tries to bully his way into popularity and respect. He wants the Smurfs to bow to him as king or else.
Scriptures Used Include: Daniel 3, Philippians 2: 12-18, II Timothy 3:10--4:8
I am going to open this discussion with a possibly tough question. How faithful do you think you are to God Almighty; how far would you go to express your faith in Him? This may look easy to Christians, but trust me it is not as easy as you might think. There are certain places in the world where gruesome penalties await Christians who practice their faith. Case in point, we are going to show a cartoon about potential tyranny and we will have a Bible study and discussion.
Cartoon: The Smurfs: "King Smurf":
This study comes from Daniel 3
The Bible States:
Da 3:1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
Da 3:2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
Da 3:3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
Da 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, 'This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language:
Da 3:5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
Da 3:6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.'
Da 3:7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Da 3:8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.
Da 3:9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, 'O king, live forever!
Da 3:10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,
Da 3:11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.
Da 3:12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon'Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego'who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.'
Da 3:13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abed nego. So these men were brought before the king,
Da 3:14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, 'Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?
Da 3:15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?'
Da 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
Da 3:17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
Da 3:18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'
Da 3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual
Da 3:20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
We are using Brainy as the symbol for King Nebuchadnezzar. Why?
First, I want everyone to see how arrogant and prideful Brainy is. He takes the village with at first, subtle force. Then, he wants to rule with a surprisingly like-minded iron scepter, severely and unfairly punishing his subjects for not following his bad commands (remember the dam is in trouble and is not getting fixed). To dupe his objectors, he gives token jobs in his 'kingdom' and puts them to work. If left unchecked, Brainy might be like Nebuchadnezzar with even worse punishments. If the Smurfs had gold to use, Brainy probably would have erected a likeness of himself (like in the Bible). Would you be able to say 'no to the takeover of Smurf Village if you were there? How? The interesting thing is that Brainy had no true power until the others let him. He couldn't have done much (punishment of subjects etc.) because he had no authority and no means of executing his plans. What other spiritual symbol(s) do you see in this cartoon?
The way I understand it, Smurf Dam represents the true kingdom work both for the Smurfs and for us. Without it, they would not have control over their river effectively (hurting agriculture and life because the river runs through the village looks like). Have you allowed yourself to be distracted from the true kingdom work of your life? How?
Papa Smurf is a good leader, unlike Brainy. Why?
Papa seems to represent a strong leader who is very wise and righteous like Daniel in this scripture passage. He commands great respect because of this.
Does everyone remember the consequences of our three friends in the furnace?
The Bible States:
Da 3:21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
Da 3:22 The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
Da 3:23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Da 3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, 'Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?' They replied, 'Certainly, O king.'
Da 3:25 He said, 'Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.'
Da 3:26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, 'Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!' So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,
Da 3:27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Da 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, 'Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
Da 3:29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.'
Da 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
That's exciting isn't it? God delivered everyone from death because they knew Him. They became leaders and witnesses for their faith.
This is what happens for us as Christians, we are promoted in Christ to do kingdom work that is right and good. Even if we are in tough physical trouble and might die because of persecutors like King Nebuchadnezzar, God will either deliver and extend His kingdom that way or the martyrdom could happen and then watch out worldly villains because the cause gains many people because of the example (a martyr's voice cannot be silenced - nothing for the Lord is in vain).
Commander Riker says much the same thing in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is unusal for our Toon Language friends, but take a look at these clips from Star Trek: The Next Generation with me.
Clip: Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Angel One":
Clip: Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Angel One":
As you can see, our character from this episode named Ramsey was exiled instead of martyred, however, he was willing to die for what he believed in as we should be as Christians.
We need to take Paul's example. The Bible states in Philippians 2: 12-17:
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed'not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence'continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,
Phil 2:15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Phil 2:16 as you hold out the word of life'in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Phil 2:17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
Phil 2:18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
The Bible States In II Timothy 3: 10--4: 8:
2Ti 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
2Ti 3:11 persecutions, sufferings'what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconi um and L ystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
2Ti 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
2Ti 3:13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2Ti 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
2Ti 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2Ti 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
2Ti 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage'with great patience and careful instruction.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2Ti 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2Ti 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2Ti 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2Ti 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day'and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
In this set of clips we are looking at revolutionary evolution of ideas. This is what Paul was putting himself on the line for, as was Ramsey in a different way inside of our clips that we just saw.
Paul vowed and succeeded in keeping the faith even in deathly circumstances and went on to witness even more after this section of scripture was written.
History records that Paul most likely was martyred by Emperor Nero; this is according to
(This is the same information without all the confusing links etc.)
On a side note, John was exiled on Patmos (probably by Emperor Nero) when he wrote Revelation which is mostly about the vision God gave him while exiled there on the island. No matter what, God will get his messages through. You can count on it.
How can we persevere in the midst of strife and persecution like our three friends in the Old Testament and Paul's testimony in the new? How will you apply this to your life?