For those gentle readers who do not know me, one of my all consuming passions (when I’m not snarking on the Comboverlord, that is), is my fishkeeping.
I’m one of those doting owners who names all of her fish and probably spends way too much money on them, but, they eat out of my hand and generally bring me hours of joy.
Several years ago, we had a devastating fire in our community. I watched nervously as the fire jumped line after line, destroying homes and businesses in its rampage, knowing we lived dangerously close to the area it was headed toward. The acrid smoke became nearly unbearable.
At that time, I only had four beautiful huge fancy goldfish (aged 4 to 10 years old) – all of whom had names, of course. But, just a few weeks prior to that I’d purchased three little Corydoras, thinking that Cory Cats would be great bottom feeders for my ever so messy goldies. I had not named them yet.
And finally, we got the reverse 911 call that we had to evacuate. Panicked that I was going to come back to ashes and a fish fry, I scooped up the goldfish into a giant bucket easily for transport to a friend’s house with a pond where they’d be safe. The Corydoras on the other hand, were having none of it.
Despite my pleas, they refused to be netted. After half an hour of trying, I sadly gave up – said a little prayer for them, and drove off to safety.
As it turned out, thanks to providence and the heroic efforts of the fire department, my home was spared. The raging inferno never got more than 500 yards from my front door. I returned home to an intact, smoky hacienda albeit with a few tiny char marks on the patio – and three very safe (and hungry) Corydoras who now had their names – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
The panicked move, however, was not kind to the goldfish. One of them never survived the emergency transport and died a few short days after we got back home. Within a year, the other three all died.
The Cory Cats, however – are thriving. And that brings me to my analogy for today.
Yes, there was imminent danger. Yes, the need to get to safety was paramount in my mind. But, the panicked, haste filled drive to escape the conflagration was deadly for four. The three who refused to panic and run with the herd are left to tell the tale.
From Daniel 3:1-18 (NIV):
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. (*Sound familiar?)
They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Furious with rage, (*Sound familiar?) Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 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? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe 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?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Now don’t get me wrong, or assume that I’m putting on airs here. Especially given my less than Christian responses to Trumpkins who have defiled my Twitter feed, I don’t think that anyone is going to mistake me for a Biblical scholar any time soon. But, believe it or don’t, I take great solace in the books of the Latter Prophets, especially in days such as these.
So go for it, Trumpkins. Tell me that I must bow to the ring of your idol. Urge me to panic and run from the impending fire. I know what happened to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – both in the Book of Daniel and in the House of Judianna.
No ring kissing or bowing down here, thank you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some fish to feed.