~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Daniel 7:1-28 ~ 1 John 1:1-10
Psalm 119:153-176 ~ Proverbs 28:23-24
Old Testament - Allright, Daniel chapter 7 with the vision of 4 beasts is not exactly an easy one for me to interpret here in a daily blog. :) But I'll give it a bit of a go. Actually, if you're looking for a really more in depth look at this chapter, check out this link on bible.org. Overall, very powerful chapter to read... I definitely was feeling drawn into this chapter and the description of the beasts - it was kinda like reading a Harry Potter book... :) (on a random side note, I read a very interesting article in Catholic Digest this month about the Christianity in Harry Potter... very interesting read. If I can find a link to that article I'll post up)
Basically here in chapter 7 we're seeing a parallel with the vision of these 4 beasts in this vision of Daniel's with the dream Nebuchadnezzar had of the statue in chapter 2 of Daniel. The lion with the eagle wings represents Babylonia, just as the head of gold in ch. 2 did. The bear represents Medo-Persia, as the silver did in ch. 2. The leopard represents Greece, as did the bronze in ch. 2. And the terrifying and frightening beast represents the Roman empire, as the feet of clay & iron did in ch. 2. Roughly speaking of course... :)
The coolest verses in this chapter are in my mind verse 13 & 14 where we get a Messianic vision of Jesus - "As my vision continued that night, I saw someone who looked like a man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal--it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed." Wow... very cool stuff.. Do you believe that Jesus has been giving authority, honor and royal power over all the world? Do you believe that his rule is eternal and his kingdom will never be destroyed?
Verse 8 & 20 are intriguing to me when they talk about - "This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly." The thing that jumped out at me was the mouth that was boasting arrogantly. How did this read to you when you came across it? As a good or bad thing to have a mouth that boasts arrogantly? Again, this reminds me of the sin of pride that we have been seeing over and over again here in the book of Daniel with the Babylonian kings & Darius the Mede. Essentially some commentaries suggest this little horn that boasts arrogantly represents the antichrist...
New Testament - whoo-hoo! We start 1 John today! yeah, I'm pumped. I love this book.. Well, I'm becoming more and more of a fan of many books in the Bible. But this one, well, I find special. I don't know why for sure - other than one thing I know is that it does of course remind me a lot of the Gospel of John - which makes sense since it was written by the guy... :) Anyhow, I'm glad we're here at this book.
1 John was written by one of Jesus' 12 disciples, John son of Zebedee - who also wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. 1 John was written between 85 and 95 A.D. when John was in Ephesus (in modern day Turkey - pretty cool panoramic pics at this link) late in his life. The purpose of this letter was in large part to dispel Gnosticism, which was a twisting of Christianity - it basically meant salvation through knowledge (gnosis is Greek for knowledge). I could go on and on about Gnosticism, but check out this link for all the details.
1 John starts out strong right out of the gates in verse 1 and is very similar to the beginning of the Gospel of John - "The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life." Do you believe that Jesus Christ has existed from the very beginning of time with God the Father? Do you believe that Jesus is the Word of life?
And verse 5 is a message to us from Jesus via John - "This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all." I love this. A month or so ago in this blog I reflected on God being a God of no shadows. All light. I love that thought. Do you believe God is light? And that there is no darkness, no shadows, in him at all?
And in verses 8 & 9 we read: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Do you claim to be without sin? Do you confess your sins regularly and ask for forgiveness from God? Do you believe that God is faithful and just and will forgive you? And not just forgive you but purify you from the confessed sins? And heal you from the confessed sins?
Psalms - We finish Psalm 119 today... :( I am sad. I loved reading through this Psalm this year. For some reason it meant more to me than ever before. I pray this Psalm has been good for you as well this go round.
I think the last 3 verses of this Psalm are worth us camping out on here for a moment. In verses 174, 175 & 176 the author of Psalm 119 closes out the Psalm with what I think is a prayer and a confession all in one - "O LORD, I have longed for your salvation, and your law is my delight. Let me live so I can praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands." Wow... not a bad prayer and confession, eh? Is God's Word our delight? Do we wish to live so we can praise God? Does his Word sustain us? Actually check out these verses again and then check out the 1 John 1 verses 8 & 9 again above. Think this Psalmist claimed to be without sin?
Proverbs 28 verse 23 is a great reminder to simply be sincere with people. Just be sincere. I appreciate sincerity in others - and I pray at times I am sincere for others. Are you sincere?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!