What happened in the furnace changed many lives that day . . . even his own.
|Note: This isn't part of the Good Friday play, but a monologue I wrote for one of my Christian Writer's Guild correspondence course assignments.|
My name is Arioch, and for those unfamiliar with me, I was King Nebuchadnezzar’s Commander of the Guard. During my king’s reign, I saw many things, both astonishing and horrific. One memory stands out above the rest, but to this day, I have trouble convincing myself it actually happened.
It happened not long after the king decreed a golden statue to be built in his image and then worshipped by every nation and tongue. Three men, Jews, refused to bow down to the image, and according to the law, they had to be thrown into a furnace.
More furious then I had ever seen him, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be brought before him and explain themselves. As they explained their reasons, I couldn’t help but marvel at their faith in their God, however misplaced it might be.
When they still refused to follow King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree, he was so furious, he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. Even standing far away and next to the king, I could feel its heat. I ordered three of my strongest soldiers to bind the Jews and throw them into the furnace. But the king wanted those men killed so quickly and the furnace was so terribly hot, my men were killed, incinerated in an instant.
I nearly fell to my knees at what happened next. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not go up in flames. They simply stood in the middle of the furnace. But strangely, another man, facial features indistinct, but brighter than any of the flames stood with them. Who was that man? I wondered.
Nebuchadnezzar approached the furnace, but I grabbed his arm to pull him back lest he also be incinerated. Struggling against me, he yelled for the three men to come out.
They did as the king ordered, and even now I have a hard time believing in what I saw. Each one had not a scorch mark on their skin or their clothing. They didn’t even sweat.
King Nebuchadnezzar fell to his knees and uplifted his arms to praise their God. I fell on my knees and I did the same. I marveled at these three men who were more than willing to die for their God, but I also felt humbled and even terrified at the power their God showed us all that day.