Monday, January 28, 2013

The Catholic Defender: The Fourth Man in the Fire

King Nebuchadnezzar created a golden statue and wanted to honor his creation setting up a herald to cry out: "Nations and peoples of every language, when you here the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments, you are ordered to fall down and worship the golden statue".

The King ordered "Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be instantly cast into a white-hot furnace".

The Gentiles seem to have complied to this order, but the news was spread that the Jews did not play the game.

King Nebuchadnezzar became enraged and called for the Jewish administrators Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego to be brought before him.

The King became upset at them finding out that it was true, the Jews did not nor will not worship a false god, especially one made of gold. The King began to replay the music for the Jewish representatives only to find that they refused to comply.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stated, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).

The king became very enraged and ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men bind Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego and they were cast into the firery furnace.

The flames enkindled those who threw the Jews into the furnace. Yet, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were seen walking in the fire singing praise to God.

With this scene, King Nebuchadnezzar began to praise the Lord recognizing the miracle.

As the three men were praising God, hearing them sing, King Nebuchadnezzer rose asking, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire, I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God" (Daniel 3:91-92).

Upon their release, not even the hair on their head had been singed, there was no evidence they had been in a fire. They were not even smoking!

Angels were seen as "sons of God" (Jb 1:6), in the singular case, I can't help but see Jesus involved in this.

Regardless if this is an image of Jesus or this fourth man was purely an angel from God, the power source is the same. Jesus is the Word made flesh. God's protection of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, reveals that God can save his people.

We might find ourselves under extreme pressure and we too must cry out to God. The most important thing for us is to remain faithful to God and keep a song of praise in our heart towards God.

The Jews told the king, win, lose, or draw they would not bow down to any god but the one true God.

We too must have this kind of courage and strength to meet the challenges we face. This story from Daniel gives us hope that the Lord will be with us through any danger that lies ahead.

I have been delivered from the battlefield, I thank God for my life. We must continue to pray for our Nation, for our troops in harms way, and for our families.

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