Into the fiery furnace

Published 7:43 pm Monday, August 27, 2018

My dad told me as a young boy to “learn at least one new thing every day,” and I started writing this article to do just that. One of the things I’ve learned from all the things I’ve learned is that we live on an amazing planet hanging in the midst of an awesome solar system as part of an even more incredible universe.

As I was beginning to work on this week’s article from Daniel 3, I typed “fiery furnace” into my search engine and up popped Arches National Park. Fiery furnace is “a collection of narrow sandstone canyons, fins and natural arches” in Arches National Park in Utah.

On their website, they offer ranger-led hikes with a warning: “You will walk and climb on irregular and broken sandstone, along narrow ledges above drop-offs, and in loose sand. There are gaps you must jump across and narrow places that you must squeeze into and pull yourself up and through. In some places, you must hold yourself off the ground by pushing against the sandstone walls with your hands and feet.”

A couple of years ago, we visited Zion National Park and took a bus tour. I simply cannot see myself holding myself “off the ground by pushing against the sandstone walls with your hands and feet.”

So, I did not add this “fiery furnace” to my bucket list, and I’m pretty sure King Nebuchadnezzar’s “fiery furnace” was not on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s bucket list, but sometimes, you’re not given a choice.

“When the men were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar asked, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you don’t respect my gods and refuse to worship the gold statue that I have set up? … If you don’t worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up (Daniel 3).’”

Do you believe in anything worth dying for? Family? Faith? Money? Opportunity? Freedom? Country?

On Patriot’s Day, we’ll recognize our “first responders” as men and women who are willing to risk their lives to save our lives. We’ll honor our military men and women, who are willing to risk their lives to preserve and protect our freedoms as Americans, and we’ll pray for the security and protection of our United States of America.