Archive for October 27th, 2013

Band Bible Study: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Sackbuts

Well, this post is a little bit late. Three days late, in fact. I think that’s a record in the short life of this blog.

In band Bible study on Thursday night, contrasting with the first couple of discussions, we talked about music being used in ways that don’t praise God, starting with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. It has been a long time since I last heard the actual passage from Daniel, probably some time in elementary or middle school, but has some really good points for children and adults especially those in between. For one thing, the three followers of God should be models for how to live by faith. When faced with the option to bow before an idol or be put to death, they definitively choose the latter. But they don’t die. Even as they are brought to the furnace they are to be incinerated in, they tell the king Nebuchadnezzar that “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand… [but even if he doesn’t] we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3: 17-18) Inside the furnace, however, they are unharmed and come our alive because of their faith.

The lesson that stood out to be more, however, dealt with the idol Nebuchadnezzar built and the worship of it. There were many interesting comments, especially about the act of worshipping such a statue, brought up by the other members of the Bible study group. One pointed out how the fact that all of the land was supposed to worship together plays on mob mentality, drawing many people into the action that might question it in other circumstances. Another suggested that the idea of worshipping to music (the signal to worship the idol was music) could have made the act seem routine or more harmless than it actually is. A third made a comment that challenged me personally about what “line,” if there is one, between simply liking something and worshipping it. In today’s pop culture and capitalist economy, there are more idols than ever, but almost none that are as obvious as Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue. Wealth, sex, video games, the “American Dream,” comfort, fame, famous people (think American Idol?) and many others draw our focus away from the single entity we should worship: God. Obviously we need money and other earthly possessions to live, but at what point does our interest in such things become worship?

I don’t think I could name specific idols that I struggle with in my life right now, but I think it is important to keep in mind who we should  be “idolizing” all the time. If anything gets in the way of that, I pray that I may notice it and appropriately “take care” of it.

Oh, I almost forgot. As is normal, we had some fun just talking and joking about things at Bible study. One of the things that I found really funny was in the wording of one of the versions we read from. In Daniel 3: 5, as well as a couple of other places, it lists instruments that will be played during the worship of the golden idol. In the King James Version, which one of the other people in the Bible study was reading, it mentioned “sackbuts.” For those of you who don’t know, a sackbut is basically just an early (15th and 16th century) version of the instrument we now know as a trombone. The instrument itself isn’t all that exciting, but the name, you have to admit, is pretty funny. We had some fun with that, and may attempt to make calling our trombone section the “sackbut section” a thing. We’ll see if that works out…

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Michael W. Smith – Save Me From Myself

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