And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar would force people to worship his golden image with threats, and almost everyone would simply comply. He would demand praise and honor, and because he was a powerful man, a ruler and a conqueror, people would give him what he demanded. He was used to taking things he wanted by force, of getting his way, and he wanted to be exalted. He wanted his greatness to be known. And he would do anything to ensure that happened.
What a contrast this is to God, who truly warrants all our worship and praise but gives us the choice whether we will do so or not. He is a great God, full of all power and might, all glory, all truth, all goodness, and He deserves to be exalted more than any man ever could, but still He wants us to honor Him from our heart because we want to, not because we are forced to. He does not compel us to worship Him with threats of punishment, but desires heartfelt gratitude and praise given out of love.
God does not want anything from us that we don’t give Him willingly. He doesn’t want us to do what He says because we think if we’re good we can avoid punishment or gain some special favor. He wants us to be obedient because we want to honor Him by doing so. He doesn’t want service that is merely done out of duty, but He wants us to serve out of love and thankfulness. He doesn’t want us to bring meaningless offerings as some kind of holy ritual, but He wants them to be gifts of love given out of humble appreciation of all that He is to us and all that He does for us. He is not a dictator, but our Father, not a slave driver, but a loving Master.
The truth is, prideful men like Nebuchadnezzar can demand honor for themselves and use their power to get it, but what an empty thing they gain. God isn’t like that, but let’s not forget that He is worthy of all honor and glory and praise. His greatness far surpasses everything else. He is almighty, true, holy, just and full of love for us, and even though we are not forced to glorify Him, how can we not when we think about all that He truly is? So let’s seek in our lives to exalt the one true God and Him alone.