I Am Not Ashamed…or am I?

Over the weekend, a friend posted a video from graduation ceremonies half a continent away from the Edge of Nowhere, and I was able to hear one of my former students sing “I Am Not Ashamed (of the Gospel).” By herself, she was every bit as good as the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I got chills…

Moving to a New Chapter…or not

Look! We’re starting a new chapter! That is, we’re starting a new chapter unless you happen to be reading the Hebrew Bible…then we’re still in chapter 3, verses 31–33. In any English Bible, the same verses are in chapter 4, verses 1–3. In these three verses Nebuchadnezzar makes a proclamation to “all peoples, nations, and…

At least he could count to 4…

Counting to ten is not in Nebuchadnezzar's skill set. When the king figures out that the three Jews didn’t, after all, misunderstand his command about bowing down to the golden image, his “image” changes. The narrator plays on the word “image” here, though the cleverness is lost in most English translations. They say something like “his attitude toward…

He’s Able, He’s Able, I Know He’s Able…or Is He?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are usually held up as paragons of faithfulness and of faith – they wouldn’t bow down and they believed God was able to deliver them from the furnace. Whether or not He would deliver them was another matter – but He certainly was able. And all God’s people said, “Amen!” Most…

Men of Few Words

The heroes of the fiery furnace story are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but they are quiet heroes, speaking a mere forty-one (Hebrew) words in a single speech (vv. 16–18). The Chaldeans and the king are regular chatterboxes by comparison. The Jews are also collective heroes – that is, never do we hear of just Shadrach…

He’s Too Much (ba-dum-bum-bum)

You’ve probably never associated Nebuchadnezzar with any part of Christmas – and I can understand why – but I’ve found a connection. As a child of the 70s, I loved the Christmas TV special The Year Without a Santa Claus – not because I wished for such a year (though Santa never made it down our…

The Bad Guy and the Worse Guys

The king is an arrogant fool in Daniel 3, but the real bad guys in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are the “Chaldeans,” a group of the king’s experts who specialized in astrology. When the population of Babylon fell down to worship the golden image (which Nebuchadnezzar the king set up), the Chaldeans…

Sticks & Stones & Unburned Bones

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is nowhere in the mind of the storyteller of Daniel 3. He fully intends to mock Nebuchadnezzar, and he does so through his use of repetition. But why is he picking on poor old King Nebuchadnezzar? Is he worth mocking just because he’s a…

Let the Music Play

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego step onto a stage that is set for them in Daniel 3:1–7. It’s a stage replete with pomp and ceremony and, I suggest, a fair bit of mockery. The king has orchestrated a grand occasion. You can tell it’s grand because everyone who’s anyone is summoned to be there (v.2). And…

Pete & Repeat…

I grew up a dog person, which might explain why I didn’t meet the book Millions of Cats until I took a children’s literature class in college. I don’t remember the plot (except that it involved lots of cats), but I can still recite half the book to you – every other page or so…