Daniel 2:31-49

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon at the age of sixteen, and handpicked for government service, Daniel becomes God’s prophetic mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present and eternal purpose. Nine of the twelve chapters in his book revolve around dreams, including God-given visions involving trees, animals, beasts, and images. In both his personal adventures and prophetic visions, Daniel shows God’s guidance, intervention, and power in the affairs of men.[1]

TODAY’S READING

2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. 2:34 You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we will set forth before the king its interpretation.

Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, wild animals, and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. 2:39 Now after you another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. 2:40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others. 2:41 In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 2:42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 2:43 And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. 2:45 You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.”

2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed down with his face to the ground and paid homage to Daniel. He gave orders to offer sacrifice and incense to him. 2:47 The king replied to Daniel, “Certainly your God is a God of gods and Lord of kings and revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery!” 2:48 Then the king elevated Daniel to high position and bestowed on him many marvelous gifts. He granted him authority over the entire province of Babylon and made him the main prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 2:49 And at Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon. Daniel himself served in the king’s court.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 220–225). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Daniel 2:1-30

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon at the age of sixteen, and handpicked for government service, Daniel becomes God’s prophetic mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present and eternal purpose. Nine of the twelve chapters in his book revolve around dreams, including God-given visions involving trees, animals, beasts, and images. In both his personal adventures and prophetic visions, Daniel shows God’s guidance, intervention, and power in the affairs of men.[1]

TODAY’S READING

Nebuchadnezzar Has a Disturbing Dream

2:1 In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. His mind was disturbed and he suffered from insomnia. 2:2 The king issued an order to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men in order to explain his dreams to him. So they came and awaited the king’s instructions.

2:3 The king told them, “I have had a dream, and I am anxious to understand the dream.” 2:4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its interpretation.” 2:5 The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm. If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble! 2:6 But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation!” 2:7 They again replied, “Let the king inform us of the dream; then we will disclose its interpretation.” 2:8 The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. 2:9 If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful until such time as things might change. So tell me the dream, and I will have confidence that you can disclose its interpretation.”

2:10 The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret, for no king, regardless of his position and power, has ever requested such a thing from any magician, astrologer, or wise man. 2:11 What the king is asking is too difficult, and no one exists who can disclose it to the king, except for the gods – but they don’t live among mortals!”

2:12 Because of this the king got furiously angry and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 2:13 So a decree went out, and the wise men were about to be executed. They also sought Daniel and his friends so that they could be executed.

2:14 Then Daniel spoke with prudent counsel to Arioch, who was in charge of the king’s executioners and who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 2:15 He inquired of Arioch the king’s deputy, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 2:16 So Daniel went in and requested the king to grant him time, that he might disclose the interpretation to the king. 2:17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the matter. 2:18 He asked them to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends would not be destroyed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 2:19 Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised the God of heaven, 2:20 saying,

“Let the name of God be praised forever and ever,
for wisdom and power belong to him.
2:21 He changes times and seasons,
deposing some kings
and establishing others.
He gives wisdom to the wise;
he imparts knowledge to those with understanding;
2:22 he reveals deep and hidden things.
He knows what is in the darkness,
and light resides with him.
2:23 O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you,
for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me.
Now you have enabled me to understand what I requested from you.
For you have enabled me to understand the king’s dilemma.”

2:24 Then Daniel went in to see Arioch (whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon). He came and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Escort me to the king, and I will disclose the interpretation to him!”

2:25 So Arioch quickly ushered Daniel into the king’s presence, saying to him, “I have found a man from the captives of Judah who can make known the interpretation to the king.” 2:26 The king then asked Daniel (whose name was also Belteshazzar), “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I saw, as well as its interpretation?” 2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed are as follows.

2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom than any other living person, but so that the king may understand the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 220–225). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Daniel 1

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Daniel’s life and ministry bridge the entire seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon at the age of sixteen, and handpicked for government service, Daniel becomes God’s prophetic mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present and eternal purpose. Nine of the twelve chapters in his book revolve around dreams, including God-given visions involving trees, animals, beasts, and images. In both his personal adventures and prophetic visions, Daniel shows God’s guidance, intervention, and power in the affairs of men.[1]

TODAY’S READING

Daniel Finds Favor in Babylon

1:1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem and laid it under siege. 1:2 Now the Lord delivered King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, along with some of the vessels of the temple of God. He brought them to the land of Babylonia to the temple of his god and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.

1:3 The king commanded Ashpenaz, who was in charge of his court officials, to choose some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent – 1:4 young men in whom there was no physical defect and who were handsome, well versed in all kinds of wisdom, well educated and having keen insight, and who were capable of entering the king’s royal service – and to teach them the literature and language of the Babylonians. 1:5 So the king assigned them a daily ration from his royal delicacies and from the wine he himself drank. They were to be trained for the next three years. At the end of that time they were to enter the king’s service. 1:6 As it turned out, among these young men were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego.

1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 1:10 But he responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? If that happened, you would endanger my life with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; deal with us in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden agreed to their proposal and tested them for ten days.

1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine from their diet and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.

1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived, the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service. 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire. 1:21 Now Daniel lived on until the first year of Cyrus the king.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 220–225). Nashville: T. Nelson.

2 Peter 3:9-11

3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. 3:11 Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness,

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Ezekiel 4:1-17

Ominous Object Lessons

4:1 “And you, son of man, take a brick and set it in front of you. Inscribe a city on it – Jerusalem. 4:2 Lay siege to it! Build siege works against it. Erect a siege ramp against it! Post soldiers outside it and station battering rams around it. 4:3 Then for your part take an iron frying pan and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face toward it. It is to be under siege; you are to besiege it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

4:4 “Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. For the number of days you lie on your side you will bear their iniquity. 4:5 I have determined that the number of the years of their iniquity are to be the number of days for you – 390 days. So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

4:6 “When you have completed these days, then lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days – I have assigned one day for each year. 4:7 You must turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared and prophesy against it. 4:8 Look here, I will tie you up with ropes, so you cannot turn from one side to the other until you complete the days of your siege.

4:9 “As for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, put them in a single container, and make food from them for yourself. For the same number of days that you lie on your side – 390 days – you will eat it. 4:10 The food you eat will be eight ounces a day by weight; you must eat it at fixed times. 4:11 And you must drink water by measure, a pint and a half; you must drink it at fixed times. 4:12 And you must eat the food like you would a barley cake. You must bake it in front of them over a fire made with dried human excrement.” 4:13 And the Lord said, “This is how the people of Israel will eat their unclean food among the nations where I will banish them.”

4:14 And I said, “Ah, sovereign Lord, I have never been ceremonially defiled before. I have never eaten a carcass or an animal torn by wild beasts; from my youth up, unclean meat has never entered my mouth.”

4:15 So he said to me, “All right then, I will substitute cow’s manure instead of human excrement. You will cook your food over it.”

4:16 Then he said to me, “Son of man, I am about to remove the bread supply in Jerusalem. They will eat their bread ration anxiously, and they will drink their water ration in terror 4:17 because they will lack bread and water. Each one will be terrified, and they will rot for their iniquity.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Ezekiel 3:4-27

3:4 He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 3:5 For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel – 3:6 not to many peoples of unintelligible speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand – surely if I had sent you to them, they would listen to you! 3:7 But the house of Israel is unwilling to listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hard-hearted.

3:8 “I have made your face adamant to match their faces, and your forehead hard to match their foreheads. 3:9 I have made your forehead harder than flint – like diamond! Do not fear them or be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house.”

3:10 And he said to me, “Son of man, take all my words that I speak to you to heart and listen carefully. 3:11 Go to the exiles, to your fellow countrymen, and speak to them – say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says,’ whether they pay attention or not.”

Ezekiel Before the Exiles

3:12 Then a wind lifted me up and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me as the glory of the Lord rose from its place, 3:13 and the sound of the living beings’ wings brushing against each other, and the sound of the wheels alongside them, a great rumbling sound. 3:14 A wind lifted me up and carried me away. I went bitterly, my spirit full of fury, and the hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me. 3:15 I came to the exiles at Tel Abib, who lived by the Kebar River. I sat dumbfounded among them there, where they were living, for seven days.

3:16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 3:17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must give them a warning from me. 3:18 When I say to the wicked, “You will certainly die,” and you do not warn him – you do not speak out to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked deed and wicked lifestyle so that he may live – that wicked person will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 3:19 But as for you, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wicked deed and from his wicked lifestyle, he will die for his iniquity but you will have saved your own life.

3:20 “When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I set an obstacle before him, he will die. If you have not warned him, he will die for his sin. The righteous deeds he performed will not be considered, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 3:21 However, if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he will certainly live because he was warned, and you will have saved your own life.”

Isolated and Silenced

3:22 The hand of the Lord rested on me there, and he said to me, “Get up, go out to the valley, and I will speak with you there.” 3:23 So I got up and went out to the valley, and the glory of the Lord was standing there, just like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I threw myself face down.

3:24 Then a wind came into me and stood me on my feet. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Go shut yourself in your house. 3:25 As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and tie you up with them, so you cannot go out among them. 3:26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. 3:27 But when I speak with you, I will loosen your tongue and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says.’ Those who listen will listen, but the indifferent will refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Ezekiel 2:1-3:3

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Ezekiel, a priest and a prophet, ministers during the darkest days of Judah’s history: the seventy-year period of Babylonian captivity. Carried to Babylon before the final assault on Jerusalem, Ezekiel uses prophecies, parables, signs, and symbols to dramatize God’s message to His exiled people. Though they are like dry bones in the sun, God will reassemble them and breathe life into the nation once again. Present judgment will be followed by future glory, so that “you shall know that I am the Lord.” [1]

TODAY’S READING

Ezekiel’s Commission

2:1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.” 2:2 As he spoke to me, a wind came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.

2:3 He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house of Israel, to rebellious nations who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. 2:4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says.’ 2:5 And as for them, whether they listen or not – for they are a rebellious house – they will know that a prophet has been among them. 2:6 But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words – even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions – do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house! 2:7 You must speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. 2:8 As for you, son of man, listen to what I am saying to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”

2:9 Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. 2:10 He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe.

3:1 He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you see in front of you – eat this scroll – and then go and speak to the house of Israel.” 3:2 So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll.

3:3 He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.” So I ate it, and it was sweet like honey in my mouth.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 212–214). Nashville: T. Nelson.