Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo Survive the Test of Fire

Some of the stories you come across in the Bible are so horrifying – and so human – that they still have a compelling immediacy. People do the most horrible things to one another, it mystifies me. This King, Nebuchadnezzar, is so incensed that his Jewish bureaucrats won’t bow down and worship his statue that he orders them cast into a furnace, which he heats seven times hotter than normal. That’s pretty angry!


Daniel 3:19-30

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace to be heated up seven times more than was customary, 20and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics,* their trousers,* their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.

22Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counsellors, ‘Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘True, O king.’

25He replied, ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.’* 26Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!’

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counsellors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics* were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them.

28Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.’ 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

When I read this, I think of the recent legislation proposed in Kuwait against insulting God or his prophets. Let men insult. Let them build their gods, their statures, let them pursue their little gods of vanity, power and wealth. The one true God laughs. He holds all the true power. He doesn’t need our protection; he is in charge.

In Florida, some friends complain about “the law that says our kids can’t pray in school.” There is no law that says kids can’t pray in school. Kids pray in school all the time! I did, specially when I had a really hard test I hadn’t prepared adequately for 🙂 What the law says is that no one can make all pray together, using the same words, as we did at one time. It’s not such a bad thing; even as Christians, we don’t all share the same beliefs. You might not want your children praying a prayer I might compose 🙂 because I might have a dogmatic belief a little different from your own. Our job is to teach our children to pray; the Holy Spirit will be with them, and put the words in their hearts.

April 13, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Leadership, Lectionary Readings, Venice | Leave a comment