Track 8 - Offerings

Azariah and his friends have been thrust into a Babylonian furnace and the king, his servants, and the people look on waiting for the men to turn to ash.  Azariah lifts up his voice in song and offers himself to God as a sacrifice.  His prayer for deliverance was answered, and the fire has no effect.  

The king in frustration at the slowness of their consumption commands his servants to stoke the fire hotter.  The youths inside the furnace survive, yet the servants outside are burnt by their own efforts.

Suddenly the king sees a fourth man in the furnace and this man shakes of the "fiery flame of the furnace".  The Lord makes the fire as a "dew-laden breeze".  The young men together cry out with one voice in praise to God.  
"The hymn begins with praise of God, the Creator and Lord of all. God is sitting upon His throne in His heavenly temple, and from there He is praised by all creation. The young men function as priests of creation, offering all that God made back to Him in praise.
This is an essential aspect of man’s nature and is evident in Genesis, when God commands Adam to name the animals and to be a steward of all creation. This priestly function is fulfilled perfectly in the celebration of the Eucharist, when the ordained priest calls out, “Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all.” The royal priesthood (the laity) then responds, “We hymn Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks to Thee, o Lord, and we pray to Thee, o our God.” offering creation back to God in thanksgiving and praise is the heart of this hymn.
For after praising God, these men call all creation to offer up praise to God. They begin with the heavenly hosts, then proceed to the sun and moon, all things in the heaven including the weather, then the various parts of the earth, the sea creatures, the birds of the air, and the earthbound animals—just as the days of creation move from the heavens to the earth, the animals, and then man."         excerpt from the The Rest of the Bible
 If worship is a coin with two sides, both this hymn and Azariah's prayer demonstrate both sacrifice and offering.  Only through sacrifice can there be offering.  

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the Cross.  On the Cross, Christ has made the ultimate act of worship.  He gives Himself totally to the Father, and in doing so can offer up all of creation in worship to Father.  

The three youths are but a shadow of what Christ does on the Cross.  For on the Cross, the way of worship has made clear, and man like Adam in the Garden can now make offering on behalf of all and for all.  

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