The Furnace

by Stan Smith

I live in the desert, and it has been a hot one here. One week we had temperatures near or beyond 120°F. They were grounding aircraft and warning everyone to stay indoors. So, there I was, walking the distance to my afternoon bus that would take me home … in the heat. And I’m thinking, “This is something new.” I’ve been in 105°, 110°, even 115° heat, but this was something different. It felt like … a furnace, like I was standing in an actual furnace. Which called to mind some guys who actually did.

You remember those three Jewish boys who refused to bow to the king’s golden statue (Daniel 3:1-30). The king was mad and said, “Look, guys, it’s simple. Just bow down at the next sound of horns or I’ll have you thrown into the furnace. Can your god save you from that?” And they answered, “We don’t have to answer you, but, yes, He can. However, even if He doesn’t, we won’t bow.” The king was hot under the collar, ordered the fires seven times hotter, and got some of his bravest warriors to toss them in. Mind you, this heat was not like what I was walking through. This heat killed the men who threw them in. Well, you know the rest. They didn’t burn. The king called them back out, finding the only thing they lost was the ropes that tied them, and he blessed God. . . .

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