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  • Writer's pictureTight Spine

Only the names have changed...

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

Only the names have changed…

His upper lip twitched unpredictably to the right multiple times, despite the pleasant smile plastered beneath his carefully coiffed moustache. Trying to still it only exacerbated the involuntary response. He was nauseated and his stomach roiled. The three men walked side by side through the people crowded around the colonnades of the government building. The exultant reveled and chattered with their faces aglow in official celebration, wearing their best and most brilliant ceremonial attire. The sound of the crowd faded into the background and he was acutely aware of the sound of his own footsteps, the feel of the ground’s support, and the swishing sound of the royal robes against the marble walkway. The calm, collected exteriors of the three men did not portray the angst each man carried while part of the officiant parade.

Under all of his finery, sweat pooled in his undergarments. He did not even attempt to look at the faces around him, to see if they knew. His gaze was unfocused but fixed to about four feet directly in front of himself, however his periphery kept his friends in sight. His mind was a metronome of thoughts. Anxiety after anxiety echoed, each accusational statement took its blood-chilling turn to terrorize him without relief. The numbing fear grew as the thoughts rang out, like a bell sounding in time with his heartbeat that he felt between his ears.

They had been seen.

Who would tell?

How much time would they have? Could they escape?

He did not want to die.

Turning a corner, the men met their driver for return to their residences at the palace complex. Through the open windows, the sun blazed and warmed their clothes to the same merciless heat of the baked clay plains they were driven through. The man closed his eyes. His retinas were still affected by the brilliant surface of the statue. The outline of the abomination was there; a blue-red blotchy haze in the darkness of his mind. Shrugging his shoulders and gentling rotating his head, he stretched his aching neck. It had born the weight of his headdress while he stood, craning at the statue’s base to see the top rising some ninety feet above them.

The men had prayed that the construction would see some delay. They had not stopped praying and discussing this statue since it was first mentioned in a meeting with the king.

Weeks prior, the king had gathered his cabinet unexpectedly. Notably excited, the king was barely restrained during the first hour or so of that meeting with all of the government officials. He managed to contain himself until all the official tasks and action items had been discussed, status-checked, and delegated. At what should have been the close of business, the king’s face bore an inexplicable grin. Silent and still, the king sat - with his excited and nervous wide smile. No one dared leave until he stood and either dismissed them, or left the room himself. So they sat in the tension of silence with the impetuous man, easily enraged and even more quickly able to issue execution orders.

Clasping the cuffs of his ornamental robe’s sleeves, the king leaned forward and explained that he had plans for a grand statue. While he rattled through the design concept, most of the men in the room continued to nod and smile in every day appreciation and respect. The kingdom was full of public art and honorary statues. Why take any special note of this one? The only difference is that the king was interested in this one.

However for four men, the oxygen in that room had suddenly left and left them struggling to breathe normally. As the king explained what the statue would be made of, where it would be located, and what it would symbolize - three of the men raised their eyes to the man standing to the right of the king. There was a light sheen of sweat on his brow and though he had paled, he calmly met each of their gaze and lightly nodded. They would discuss this privately. All four men understood the gravity of the situation, not having yet spoken a word. They knew of the king’s recent dream.

One of the king’s officials, seizing a moment to impress the king, suggested that all nobility and citizens could bow down to it. Another satrap, eager for his name to be known by the king, stood and with a gleam in his eye added, “The furnace for smelting is still on site, if anyone does not fall down and worship the statute, why – they should be immediately be thrown into the furnace.” Nebuchadnezzar smile broadened and agreed. That night Daniel met with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in secrecy. They prayed, they fasted, and petitioned the Lord.

Time passed. Hammers struck metal for weeks, rattling their nerves. Each day at least one of the men checked on the status of the statue to inform the others. And then one day, the four men stood gazing into the sky, while the shadow of the statue fell across them. The furnace was finally cold. In the shadow of the statue, they watched as it was overlaid with gold leaf. Later, all of them would find tiny glints of gold in their hair and beards, as it had fallen like snow from the worker’s burnishing tools and brushes.

The following day the hammering stopped and the construction site was swept clean to prepare for the statue’s grand exhibition. Daniel had been called away for other government business, but had promised to pray to their God for safety. And today was the day they had prayed would never come.

The three men left their self-preservation in their rooms at the palace after their private petitions with God. And later that morning, while the music played on, they once again stood in the shadow of the statue. Around their feet were prostrate administrators and astrologers. Standing, they made eye contact with each of the court musicians over the backs of everyone on the ground. There was no mistake. They had been seen. They had not worshipped the statue.

Daniel 1:6 – The renaming of the four

Daniel 2:48-49 – The promotion of the four

Daniel 2 – Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Daniel 3 – The statue and the furnace

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1 Comment

Dec 01, 2021

I felt like I was actually there! The details make this story more relatable. I've always loved this story and would love to see the rest of it!

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