I had to throw some zoo pictures in. Aren't they cute? You should have heard the choir of bleating I started with the goats. They're freakin' hilarious. I NEED one.
Anyway, I went to the women's study all by my lonesome last night because Hayden is out of town. Hayden--if you can get ahold of one of the videos and catch up, go for it. It was really good! If not, I'll let you copy off my paper. :)
We studied Daniel 3 last night.
I'm sorry if I'm boring you with recounting what I've learned, but I think writing it down helps me remember. Plus, it's my blog and I can write what I want to! :)
My favorite parts of Daniel 3 are these (emphasis mine):
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
The thing I like about studies like this is the opportunity to learn about the context of the verses and what history has shown life was really like during that time. We learned in our study that it was common for a king to throw his enemies into a furnace and watch them burn to death. So these three guys would have known that Nebuchadnezzar meant business. Also, the furnace was already going when they were having this conversation with the king. It says they would be thrown in the furnace immediately, which seems to imply that the furnace wasn't far away. Maybe they could hear the roar of the flames from where they were standing.
22 The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."
25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
We also talked about what that moment would have been like when you're being tied up to be thrown into a furnace. We talked about what a total lack of control these guys would have had--how they couldn't have even used their hands to shield their face or try to catch themselves when they fell into the furnace.
The interesting thing about that is that they made it out of the fire unscathed. There wasn't a hair on their heads that was singed and they didn't even smell like smoke when they got out of there. But their bonds were burned away. They were set free by the fire that was meant to harm them.