Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOT (08/10/17)
- TITLE: Coals of Fire
By Yvonne Blake
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My mind sped back to that day. The meat and breads had smelled so good. How could something unclean give off such wonderful scent? We had been training since sunrise, and I was famished. The servant brought us the meal we'd requested – legume soup and water. It was filling and tasty, as tasty as bean soup could be. Anything tastes good when you’re hungry. Within days, we had been snatched from their homes and made orphans, eunuchs, and slaves. For months, I wondered if it was all a horrible nightmare, but each morning I woke, and we were still in Babylon.
We didn’t talk about that time. It hurt too much, emotionally and physically. Through the years, we probably would have scattered and fizzled out if it hadn’t been for Daniel’s strong faith. He kept reminding us of the things we had learned. “The LORD your God is with you whithersoever thou goest.” “Thou shalt worship no other gods before Me.”
My stomach growled again. I looked over at the others, Hannaniah and Azariah. At least, we were still together. Too bad Daniel wasn’t with us. It was strange the king had a special assignment for him that day.
Heralds wandered through the crowds. “When you hear the music of the trumpets, dulcimers, and psalteries, you must bow to the statue of the king. If you do not bow, you will be thrown into the furnace of fire. When you hear the music of the trumpets, dulcimers, and psalteries, you must bow to the statue of the king. . .”
I turned to Azariah and whispered, “What a pompous fool. Does he think he’s a god?”
With a knowing glance to Hannaniah, Azariah stood erectly and resolutely, and I did too. The music sounded and the earth vibrated with the force of everyone falling to the ground toward the golden glaring statue, except the three of us. We stood together, gathering fervent strength from each other. A king’s servant pointed to us. The king pointed to us. Soon a soldier escorted us before our royal master.
“Do you not understand my command? You must bow when you hear the music. I will give you a second chance, or you will be thrown into the furnace.”
Hannaniah straightened his shoulders. “O King, we don't need a second chance, for we are Hebrews, sons of Abraham and children of the Almighty God which made heaven and earth. We will not bow down to your gods nor your image. Our God is able to deliver us. Even if He does not, we will not worship your golden image.”
The king’s face boiled with rage. “How dare you defy my word! Increase the heat by seven.” His face reddened seven times more with fury. “Bind them! Throw them in the furnace!”
For some strange reason, I wasn’t afraid. I might die, but hopefully, it won’t hurt much. I looked at Hannaniah and Azariah. Their calm faces showed the same peace. Perhaps it was knowing that we had been true to God. It only mattered that He was pleased with us, not what anyone else said.
Soldiers carried us to the edge. The smoke and the heat made it nearly impossible to breathe. I must have fainted, for the next thing I knew I was surrounded by pulsating, wavering, and roaring yellow flames. My ropes were gone. Hannaniah offered a hand to pull me to my feet. Azariah was there, too, walking about in the glowing coals. And there was another figure. Was it Daniel? No, it was an angel, a messenger from God, perhaps God Himself. Whoever he was, he cooled our skin and comforted our souls. Our God was mightier than the flames of any heathen god or mortal king.
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