Story 30 - Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came to Judah, destroyed the city of Jerusalem, stealing some of the articles from God’s great temple there. These he took back to Babylon and put in the temple of his god.

Daniel was one of the many from Judah carried off to Babylon as slaves. But, because he and his friends were nobility in Judah, they were sent to work for the King in his palace. They were considered qualified to do so because they were, ‘young men, without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, and quick to understand.’ They were to be trained for 3 years in all things Babylonian. They were also to eat Babylonian royal food and wine. Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach. and Abednego did not want to eat it. They wanted to remain faithful to God. As part of their religious faith, they didn’t eat particular foods, which unfortunately made up a lot of the Babylonian royal cuisine. They asked instead to eat vegetables and drink water. The official in charge of their training regime was worried about how they would look on this simpler diet. If they looked ill and scrawny it would reflect very badly on him, and the king might punish him. But Daniel persisted, asking if he could give them 10 days to show him how they were getting on  - and then the official could judge. He agreed and at the end of these 10 days, Daniel and friends looked fitter and healthier than ever. They were allowed to continue eating vegetables and drinking water.

They grew physically strong in their training and were excellent students, the very top in their class and were given important jobs working in the royal household.

Daniel grew in wisdom and because God reveals the meaning of scary dreams the king has, he is promoted and made a ruler of a province of Babylon.

King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden statute.

He then called an opening dedication ceremony where he commands that at the sound of ‘all kinds of music’, everyone is to fall down and worship the image that he has made. Those who didn’t obey would be thrown into a fiery furnace! Well of course, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worship God. They are faithful to God and they do not fall down and worship the gold statue every time they hear the music.  The king gets to hear about this and is furious! He summons the three friends, asking them angrily, “What god can rescue you from me?”  They reply that God is able to rescue them but, even if he wasn’t, they would never bow down and worship the golden image.

Nebuchadnezzar’s rage grew and he ordered the furnace to be heated up 7 times hotter and has the three thrown in. It is so hot that the guards throwing them in were killed!

Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace and was amazed because he could see 4 men, not 3 walking around, unharmed, in the furnace. “The fourth looks like a son of the gods” he said. He ordered them out of the furnace. When the three men came out they didn’t even smell of the fire!
Nebuchadnezzar then worshipped God and promoted the three friends!

I wonder if you would be happy to eat vegetables and drink water and NOT eat the royal delicacies? I would have been tempted to try!
Who do you think the 4th person was in that fiery furnace?
Even when I have a barbecue my clothes smell of the smoke. How could their clothes have not smelt of fire at all?

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