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Daniel He Answers
Week 20 Day 1
Reading: Daniel 2:1, 5, 17-18, 27-28 "Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him... "if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins"... Daniel made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven... Daniel answered the king, "there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:..." ESV
Thought: When met with such a request as this, most of us would answer in the same way the magicians and astrologers of Nebuchadnezzar's court did. "There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand... The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh" (10-11). But Daniel did not reply as such, He went to his friends and they committed the mystery to prayer, and their prayer was answered. We must never forget that unlike all other peoples, all other languages, and all other religions, we have a God who answers prayer with grace and with mercy. The answer may not always be the one we were first looking for, but God will always work things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Let us not be like the magicians, but let us be like Daniel, committing every request in prayer to our God, and wait patiently on His answer, being ready for what that answer is.
Prayer: Lord, let me never forget that You listen to each of my requests. Thank You Lord that You answer with wisdom far beyond my own comprehension, may Your grace and mercy ever abound in me.
Reading: Daniel 2:31-35 "You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." ESV
Thought: In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, revealed to Him are the coming kingdoms of the world, with the head being the Babylonian empire. Considering the history we can make
this interpretation: the silver chest represent the Persian empire, the bronze middle would be the Grecian empire. The iron legs and the iron and clay feet would represent the Roman empire, which split into ten kingdoms. The stone is the kingdom of God with Christ as King, crafted by God Himself to fill the entire world. Daniel's interpretation here is significant to events of the time and would have been 500 years later. Daniel was given charge over all the wise men of Babylon, and as such would have taught them of the Messiah. The Babylonians interest in astrology would allow us to understand the wise men who visited the baby Jesus were of the inherited teachings of Daniel. The question might be asked, "Since when has God been planning or putting in place the plan for Jesus' life?" Rather the more prudent question would be, "When has God not been putting the plan in place?"
Prayer: Lord, since before the beginning of time Your plan has remained strong, to unite people to You through Your Son. Thank You Lord that even in the times we don't think You are working, or in the times we consider an occurrence insignificant, that You can be found there, ever guiding our lives in the course of Your plan. Guide me Lord to understand Your ways and prepare me for all You are bringing to effect.
Reading: Daniel 3:1, 4-6 â€œKing Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon... "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace."â€? ESV
Thought: Having had his dream interpreted Nebuchadnezzar glorified God, but he did not hold to the revelation he had received. Instead, probably inspired by the dream, Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden image, and thus commanded all peoples to worship at every occasion of music. How often after encountering God, do we fall back into the practices of sin to which we were once attributed? We have encountered God, we have been baptized into the death of Jesus, a baptism into death from sin, risen again to new life in His resurrection, and filled with the Spirit of God. How then can we fall back into the practices of sin to which we have been made dead? Let us not continue in our slavery to sin, but live in the life and freedom won by Christ. Let us every day show the love we have for the Lord, for Jesus and for other people. Let us never forget to love everyone in the same way Jesus did, that iour witness would be to His glory, breeding opportunities for the gospel to be received by another.
Prayer: Lord, I put to dead all my sin, I embrace the life You have given me with my whole heart. Let Your life in me lead me to be a witness for Your name, ever glorifying You by showing love for others. In my witnessing Lord, let opportunity for the gospel to be found and received that others should receive You also.
Reading: Daniel 3:23-25 "And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" They answered and said to the
king, "True, O king." He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."" ESV
Thought: Many times throughout the Old Testament we see glimpses and revelation of a pre-incarnate Christ, that is Jesus appearing before being born of Mary. He walked with Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, journeyed with Moses, called Isaiah to ministry, and appeared in the furnace with these three. Christ appears at this time to save these three who have been faithful to the Lord, not bowing down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. This is now the second time Nebuchadnezzar has encountered the Lord, and the first fruits of the Spirit are beginning to show, slowly bringing Nebuchadnezzar to repentance. These steps are all leading to produce faith in the Lord in the leaders of the Babylonian and Persian empires, which would become important later on when Nehemiah wanted to rebuild Jerusalem.
Prayer: Lord, thank You Lord that You continued to reveal Yourself throughout all of history, continuing to guide the path of mankind all with the aim to ultimately reveal Yourself fully through Jesus. Continue to guide us I pray, revealing Yourself to Your elect, until that day when You come again.
Testimony & Witness
Reading: Daniel 4:1-3 "King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation." ESV
Thought: After seeing Christ in the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar undergoes a radical change from the spiritual position he had been in before. Whereas before in response to the revelation of God he worshipped himself, building an idol in gold, now he bears witness to the works of the Lord in a testimony sent throughout all the nations. He testifies of the revelation he received through the dreams given to him by God. The dream was a prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would be driven from men and would live like an ox of the field for seven periods of time. The prophecy came true, and for some time he left the palace and was not seen of, till during his exile he lifted his eyes to heaven and worshipped God. On his return he was a changed man, no longer worshipping idols of man, but humbled before the king of heaven in praise and honour. In the same way that Nebuchadnezzar gave testimony of the work the Lord had completed in him, so must we, for it is our personal account of how Jesus has called us and saved us, an account which melts the hearts of the non-believer; in doing so we bear witness to Christ, not only through our story, but through our living, that is the demonstration of Christ in us.
Prayer: Lord, glorious You are, who humbles the prideful and builds up the poor in spirit. Lord thank You for the way You have worked to bring me to salvation, never let me cease from giving testimony of Your works, may You be lifted up by my witness and may You graced be displayed for all to see. To You be the glory.
Every knee shall bow
Reading: Daniel 6:25-27 "Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." ESV
Thought: King Darius the Persian makes this decree following the scheme plotted by the satraps which resulted in Daniel being thrown to the lions. Darius was fond of Daniel but had no way to override his previous decree even though he was king. When Daniel is saved by God who closed the mouths of the lions, Darius rejoices of the Lord and sets an unbreakable decree that all of the empire must fear the Lord. The Persian empire stretched from India to Ethiopia. Through His working God had produced an opportunity for His Word to be heard throughout all of Asia and into Africa too. In a form, God had evangelized most of the major Gentile nations. God's actions here likely resulted in the permission for Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem after construction stopped due to the previous decree by Darius which again was arranged by the satraps of Persia. This could then imply that following Daniel's salvation from the lions, Darius searched for a reason the reconstruction could continue; finding the previous decree by Artaxerxes still in effect.
Prayer: Lord, throughout all of history You have guided and established Your Word in the world. Thank You Lord that all You have done has led to the revelation of Your Son, both in history and personally in me. Establish Your Word more so in me now that every day would be filled with Your wisdom and presence.
The Everlasting Kingdom
Reading: Daniel 7:13-14 "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." ESV
Thought: This is one of Daniel's prophecies of the end times. It suggests a similar return of Jesus as written later in Acts 1:11 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, that He should return with the clouds of heaven. Most notable about this passage though is not necessarily the return by what Jesus receives in His return, that is dominion and a kingdom that shall not pass away. This is the image of both the earthly and the heavenly church, but also comprises the entirety of the creation. In the last days Christ will be given all power over heaven and the earth and will rule the nations. The kingdom of heaven is established forever and Christ rules it as King, though He has gone away for a short time, and will return at any time. Are we living as if we were expecting His return? Has the whole city been filled with teachings of Jesus yet? Has the gospel gone out to all the nations yet? No, then we must be busy sharing the testimony of Jesus and being witnesses for His name.
Prayer: Lord, come again in glory! Send us out to those who You are calling! We go Lord in Your name, be a witness with me, reveal to my friends the wonders of Your love through my witness and testimony. Let me see lives changed and people saved by Your grace.