~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Daniel 4:1-37 ~ 2 Peter 1:1-21
Psalm 119:97-112 ~ Proverbs 28:17-18
Old Testament - Daniel chapter 4 is an incredible chapter today! There is tons going on in this one. We open up this chapter with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon giving props to God as verses 2 & 3 tell us: "I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations." Does this sound like the Nebuchadnezzar we've come to know? We'll, we must read on as he tells us how he got to the point of praising God like this...
Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the tree in this chapter is relatively straightforward, as is the interpretation that Daniel gives. One intriguing verse to me was verse 27 where Daniel pleads w/ Nebuchadnezzar to repent to avoid what will happen per the dream - "" `O King Nebuchadnezzar, please listen to me. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past by being merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.'" Think Nebuchadnezzar listened to Daniel? What if Daniel was telling us to do this same thing today? Would we listen?
We see the sin of pride bring down Nebuchadnezzar in verse 30 as follows - "`Just look at this great city of Babylon! I, by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city as my royal residence and as an expression of my royal splendor.'" Are their times in our life where we boast of what we have "done" or "created" by our "own mighty power"? Good idea.... ?
Nebuchadnezzar becomes Gollum from the Lord of the Rings! :) Yes, I did hear someone teach on this chapter recently and he placed up on screen a picture of Gollum from Lord of the Rings and suggested this is what happened to Nebuchadnezzar essentially in verse 33 - "That very same hour the prophecy was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles' feathers and his nails were like birds' claws." Can you see how sin can drive us to basic animal instincts? Like Gollum? Do you see how godly wisdom can save us from becoming like animals? Like Gollum? Pride seems to be a very tempting sin for all of us - and not a good one to pursue - as Nebuchadnezzar tells us himself in verse 37 -"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud." Do you believe this to be true?
Verse 36 also jumps out at me in this chapter only because it reminds me of the tail end of the book of Job - "When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and officers sought me out, and I was reestablished as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before." A reminder that God gives and takes away - and can give again...
New Testament - Today we start the book of 2 Peter! This is another great letter from Peter to the early Christian church written in approximately 65 to 68 A.D., just before Peter was martyred during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. 1 Peter was more of a letter of encouragement to early Christians who were facing suffering, whereas 2 Peter is written to dispel false teachings within early Christianity. A good overview and introduction to 2 Peter is online here.
2 Peter 1 verse 3 brings up a couple of good questions we should ask ourselves - "As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life." Do you want to know Jesus better? How will you do this? (hint - reading the Bible daily is one great way...) How else? Do you want to live a godly life? What is a godly life? Do you believe Jesus' divine power gives you everything you need to live a godly life?
Verse 19 makes a One Year Bible Blog happy :) - "Because of that, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place--until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts." I think one of the beautiful things about the One Year Bible is going through both the Old Testament and New Testament each day. We learn from the prophets and can play close attention to what they wrote - for as Peter says, their words are like a light shining in the dark.
Psalms - Psalm 119 verse 105 is something to reflect upon - "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path." Do you believe God's Word, the Bible, is a lamp for your feet? A light for your path? To help put this in perspective - without God's Word, the Bible, is it possible that we would have no lamp for our feet? No light for our paths? That we'd essentially be groping in the darkness without God's Word, the Bible?
Verse 111 wow... "Your decrees are my treasure; they are truly my heart's delight." What is your treasure? Where is your treasure? Is God's Word, the Bible, truly your heart's delight?
Proverbs 28:17 has a very real example in Cain in Genesis chapter 4, where he became restless for the remainder of his days after murdering Abel.... Genesis 4:14 Cain himself tells us - "I will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!