"The burning fiery furnace"

There is perhaps no story in the Bible with which we are more familiar than that told in the third chapter of Daniel, wherein is related the experience of the three young Hebrews who refused to worship the golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar. Now Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest and most powerful of the Babylonian kings, and disobedience to his wishes could involve no punishment less than death. In this instance we are told that any who would not worship the god that Nebuchadnezzar had made should be cast the same hour into a burning fiery furnace, and that the furnace was heated seven times more than it was wont to be.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been taught the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans, who were really the learned class, consisting of priests and astronomers, who probably made important discoveries from a standpoint of physical science. It was not this store of worldly knowledge, however, which inspired these young students with the courage of refusal to bow down to the god of Nebuchadnezzar; it was the "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom" given to man by God, the God of their fathers, whom they recognized and worshiped as the living God, which enabled them to answer when Nebuchadnezzar asked them who that god was that should deliver them out of his hands, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." It is interesting to note that it was the Chaldeans, the men so highly versed in all material knowledge, who accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Not one glimpse had all their learning given them of the protecting influence of a single spiritual truth. No entrance to "the secret place of the most High" had ever been effected by their knowledge of magic, astronomy, or priestcraft.

Restrain Your Ardor
January 21, 1922

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