Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)
TITLE: Even if ...
By Pat Guy
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Every instrument known to man performed its melodious part in celebration to please the king … and jubilant he was on this day of dedication. Ninety feet of gold reflected his image for miles unto the horizon – a beacon of pride – a beacon of warning for citizens and travelers alike … on the plains of Dura, in the province of Babylon – the greatest kingdom in the world.
The music played on … harps, lyres, flutes and zithers. Master musicians quaked in fear of releasing one discord, but there were three administrators who trembled at the harmonious beauty that filled their ears and heart, for it would be their last song to hear.
Government officials of all levels had been summoned and the decree had been heralded throughout the provinces, “ O peoples, nations and men of every language … as soon as you hear the sound of all kinds of music, you must bow down and worship the golden image … whoever does not … will be immediately thrown into the blazing furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood among the miles of bodies prostrate before the lustrous image and were immediately summoned before an angry king.
“Is it true …?” the king seethed. “That you do not serve my gods or worship my image of gold? Fall now and worship the image I made!”
The music played on … harps, lyres, flutes and zithers, resonating in the palace walls reminding the men of their faith, strengthening their stand before the king. The chill of fear lifted with each breath of prayer.
Peace loosed their tongue. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you … if we are thrown into the furnace, our God is able to rescue us from your hand. But even if He does not, we will not serve your gods or worship your image.”
Royal fury bellowed its indignation, “Soldiers! Tie them up! Heat the furnace seven times more! Now!”
Tongues of fire leaped and lapped at the furnace walls – the crackling whip of Hades reached out and consumed the king’s strongest soldiers as Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego fell from the grip of dead men into the pit.
The king’s eyes gleamed and waited … gleamed and …
He leaped to his feet and exclaimed above the roaring wind of fire, “Weren’t there three men firmly tied? Look! I see four men walking around unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods!”
The music played on … and the word spread.
Fear could not keep the king from stepping over bodies still smoldering to reach the opening of the blazing furnace – not questioning why he, himself was not consumed, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
Not a hair on their heads was singed, not a hem of their robes was scorched, nor was the smell of fire upon them.
Wonder transcended all peoples, nations and men of every language.
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego who has rescued His servants. They trusted in Him even if they were to give up their lives to serve only Him. No people of any nation or language shall say anything against their God.”
Murmurs ceased; and all turned towards the fiery furnace … where three men had been destined to die … where the Son of God walked … where He set the men free.
The plains of Dura, in the province of Babylon – the greatest kingdom in the world … were silent.
Based on Daniel Chapter 3
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