Monday, March 7, 2011

The Songs of the Three Young Men, Daniel 3: 26 - 88

These sequential verses from the Apocrypha represent two songs, but I'm going to combine them for this post. In the Hebrew version of the book of Daniel, we find the familiar story of the three young men who are tied up and thrown into a furnace for refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzar's statue. The king peeks in and sees four men walking around unbound and unharmed. In this Greek version, we get more details about what was going on in there. They were singing and praying and had a visit from an angel of God who "made the inside of the furnace as though a moist wind were whistling through it." Sounds kind of like summertime in the South right after a thunderstorm, doesn't it?

I love stories of courage. I wonder if anyone can know in advance of a calamity if he is courageous. Would I be strong, or tuck my tail and run?  Or would I respond to a real disaster by being unable to run or scream? That's what happens in a recurring dream that I have.  As these young people faced certain death, they stood their ground. How long did it take for them to realize that they weren't on fire? How long after that did they start singing and enjoying themselves? In the song, they thank God for everything they can think of, even for fire and heat. They're as giddy about the rescue as Moses was about the Red Sea episode.

I suppose we're all facing certain death. We might as well enjoy the gift of life that God has given us and fill it with as much singing and thanksgiving as possible.

1 comment:

  1. I have often wondered if I would be courageous enough to die for my Faith. Those three young men had no idea that they would not immediately burn when they stepped into that furnace, and I can only imagine how terrified they must have been. I have faced what I believed to be certain death only once in my life, and when that happened ALL I could do was pray. It was not the death I feared as much as the pain that would most certainly accompany. Once the threat of pain was over, all I felt like doing was singing.