Old Testament: Daniel 4:1-37
Daniel 4:1-37 A Real Nightmare
This is a chapter that explains how God humbled Nebuchadnezzar after he set up the image of his own likeness in the last chapter. Nebuchadnezzar had another dream. He didn’t understand it and had all his wise guys come in to try to interpret, just like the last time. The difference was that this time the king told them the dream. Daniel came in last (v. 8, cf. Prov. 18:17).
The dream (vv. 4-18) was of an angel (“watcher”) who came to earth and commanded that the branches be cut off a large tree. All the birds and animals that had nestled in it scattered and a band was clamped around its base. It stayed that way for seven years collecting dew on his back every morning and wandering like an animal lowing and looking for food. The “tree” would have the mind of an animal during that time. The purpose of all this was to show that God is sovereign over all men and kingdoms.
Daniel said that he hated to tell the king but the tree in the dream represented him. He was the tree that would be lopped down with the birds and animals absconding. He would wander out in the wilderness for seven years, eating grass like a cow. Then he would come to his senses and his kingdom would be restored to him. Daniel recommended that the king change his ways immediately so none of this would happen to him (vv. 19-27).
God graciously allowed a year to pass (v. 28) before the king stepped out on his balcony one night and reflected on all the great things he had done. It was at that moment that God caused the king to have a mental breakdown. He left the palace and wandered out into the fields for seven years, his hair and nails growing out as the dew settled on his back each morning.
One morning he began to praise the Lord and give Him His proper place. It was at that moment that his sanity was restored (v. 36)
New Testament: 2 Peter 1:1-21
2 Peter 1:1-21 Nailing Down Our Salvation
For just being a simple fisherman, Peter sure wrote some great stuff! He was supposedly “uneducated and untrained” (cf. Acts 4:13). This book is a bit darker than his first. It contains some interesting things about the end times. It has similarities to Jude as we will see. Of course, like the first book, Peter shows us what God expects of us as disciples. Peter was the ultimate disciple. He spearheaded the church (cf. Matt. 16:18, “Peter” means rock) and life ended by being crucified upside down so he wouldn’t die the same death as His Lord and Savior.
Just as Paul called himself a “bond-slave” (v. 1), Peter uses the same word of himself. It was most likely a reference to a slave in the Old Testament who could be free but chose to serve his master for life (Exod. 21:6; Deut. 15:17).
In verses 5 -7, Peter explains that we should be growing in certain virtues. If we do, we will become even more convinced that our destination is Heaven and we will have assurance of our salvation (vv. 9-11, cf. 1 John 5:13). Those qualities are moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and finally, love (vv. 5 -7). These qualities will also make us useful to God as we grow in the knowledge of Christ (v. 8). It becomes much easier to backslide if we don’t have these characteristics (v. 9).
Peter was reminding his readers about these things since he knew he was nearing the end of his life (vv. 12-15).
He reminds them that he had seen Jesus doing miracles and exhibiting power on earth. He wasn’t just making up stories. He actually saw Christ displaying His majesty (v. 16). Peter was there when the voice came from Heaven and God gave His approval of Christ at His transfiguration (cf. Matt. 17:5).
Peter says that although He saw Christ changed up on the mountain and heard the voice of God that the Bible is more reliable than was his experience (v. 19)! Peter says that interpreting Scripture is not the domain of any one person (v. 21). There is only one interpretation of Scripture and that interpretation comes from the writer, the Holy Spirit (vv. 20-21).
Psalm 119:97-112 The Word, Part 7 A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous
Proverbs 28:17-18 No Crooked Hilarity
Since almost the beginning of creation, men have fled their own murderous guilt. Cain is a good example. That is almost the beginning, isn’t it? He had to be protected by being marked by a special sign by God because he had murdered his brother, Abel (cf. Gen. 4:15-16). Not long afterward, a man named Lamech had threatened to protect himself after murdering a person (cf. Gen. 4:23-24). He did not seek the Lord’s protection.
Under Mosaic law, God designated special places for people to dwell to be protected from their avengers after killing someone by mistake (cf. Num. 35; Josh. 20:2; 21:13, 21, 27, 32, 38; 1 Chron. 6:57, 67). They were not free to wander around the kingdom. They had to stay where they were put. Those who were guilty of outright murder were not afforded a place of refuge. They were to be put to death (cf. Num. 35:25).
I believe those who reject Christ are guilty of murder. Some who trust Christ are protected by faith (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). Others who willfully reject Him are not protected (cf. Heb. 10:26).
Those who walk in the Spirit will be protected by God (v. 18a, Gal. 5:16). Those who reject God will spend eternity in chains (v. 18b, cf. Rev. 20:1).
The sinful do not have a place of refuge. They have not trusted Christ.
They are crooked and there is nothing funny about it.
There is no hilarity.
There is no crooked hilarity.
Choose Life: Scripture: 2 Peter 1:21 NASB “A Miracle To Go”
” . . . for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:21
Can you trust your Bible? I believe that the Bible is a miracle on the order of the Resurrection. Imagine that paperback you carry around or that leather-bound copy of Scripture picking up dust on your shelf is the actual Word of God. It is as if God Himself came down and dictated everything he wanted us to know.
But that would be too easy! So he worked through human writers who sometimes didn’t even know that He was writing Scripture through them (cf. the book of Philemon, a letter to a friend). Of course, sometimes maybe they did (cf. 1 Cor. 7:40 and, of course, the prophets spoke in the name of the Lord and wrote it down, cf. Jer. 36:27-28).
Here, Peter says that the writers of Scripture were “moved” by the Holy Spirit. Paul says that the Bible was “God-breathed” (literal meaning of “inspired,” 2 Tim. 3:16). The author of Hebrews says that it is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12).
So when you read your Bible today, realize that you are interacting with a living, breathing miracle!
How cool is that?
And when you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
How do you treat your Bible? Do you think enough of it to buy a leather-bound copy? A study version with lots of notes? Multiple translations?
You should. What else do you have to do that is more important than reading the Bible? Binge-watching HBO? I don’t think so. Sports? Buffets? Nope. Discipline is a good thing. Read your Bible every day. Respect it.
Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily food” (Job 23:12, HCSB).
Is that the way you feel about the Bible? You’ll be blessed if you do!
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A Real Nightmare