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Nebuchadnezzar

Babylon remains an astonishing empire in history with its wide-ranging achievements in fields such as anthropology, agriculture, and mathematics. It is an empire seemingly untouched by time. Similar to Rome and Greece, its influence persists in American culture through entertainment, architecture, and notably, religious studies. In the biblical narrative, during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Babylon was a significant force.

When Babylon invaded the Holy Land, its forces demolished Jerusalem and captured a significant portion of the Hebrew population. The captives, uprooted from their homeland by the invaders, were exiled and integrated into the Babylonian empire as a subjugated people. It was during this period that the term “Jew” emerged as a reference to those who identified Israel as their ancestral homeland.

Granted the freedom to traverse the empire and settle as they wished, the Jews established new lives in Babylon, pondering if their deity, Elohim, would uphold the covenant and accompany his people in this alien territory. Jeremiah, the prophet, bolstered their hope by penning a letter from the remnants of Jerusalem. This letter assured the exiles that their displacement would last only 70 years, after which they would return, through divine intervention, to the Holy Land to resume their devotion to Elohim.

Awareness of their time in exile provided limited comfort to their faith within the pagan culture. Challenges loomed on the horizon. As Daniel, a devout servant of God and member of the Babylonian court, gained recognition, King Nebuchadnezzar decided to erect a golden statue in his likeness. This statue was meant for all the empire’s principal overseers to revere. The king’s ego was evident.

The Jews recognized the one true God, yet defying King Nebuchadnezzar’s edict to worship Elohim meant facing death in a fiery furnace, an oven capable of vaporizing anyone within its vicinity. Complying with the statue worship was simpler, especially with the knowledge that the next generation would witness the Holy Land. Regardless of their faithfulness to God, those who arrived in Babylon as adults would meet their end in a foreign land.

Omnipotent and unwaveringly loyal to His covenant with His people, God was poised to make His presence known. Three Jewish men, fervent in their belief in Elohim, saw no possibility of yielding their will to the idolatrous embodiment of the king’s pride. Regardless of the consequences, their allegiance to God would stand firm. In life or death, they were determined to demonstrate their devotion to God, irrespective of mankind’s ability to harm the flesh.

This narrative stands as one of the most renowned in the biblical collection, and it resides on a brief roster of my personal favorites, which includes the ascent of King David and the emancipation of Israel during Deborah the Judge’s era. The extraordinary faith exhibited at the base of that golden statue that day is both stirring and heartening. The following story was my chance in 2021 to depict those valiant Jewish individuals as though the events were unfolding right before me, as a contribution to a devotional book for Kingdom Story Ministries, a non-profit entity.

Regrettably, the devotional book was shelved and remains incomplete, diverging from its original vision during my 2021-2022 contract period. Regardless of its publication status, the following story is presented as a sample of my work as a writer-for-hire. I present to you ‘In the Flames of Exile.’

Published inHistorical Fiction