September 15

Read Daniel 1 -- 3

In Today's Reading:

Daniel and his friends' loyalty to God when confronted with the king's food; Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a giant image and its interpretation; fiery furnace proven harmless to the three Jews who were loyal to God.

Verses for Today:

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled. . . . the king commanded . . . the Chaldeans, for to show the king (what) his dreams (were). . . . The Chaldeans answered . . . There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: . . . (But, after Daniel and his friends prayed) concerning this secret. . . . Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the Name of God for ever and ever. . . . There is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known . . . what shall be in the latter days (2:1-2,10,18,20,28).

Soon after their capture, Daniel and other selected Israelite captives were given new names which would identify them as citizens of Babylon. This was an attempt to remove their identities as children of God. The king's intent was that these select men be taught to think and live like the Babylonians. Their new names would be a constant reminder of the Babylonian gods. Daniel means "God is my Judge," but his Babylonian name Belteshazzar means "Prince of Baal." As Daniel heard his name called day after day, it was intended to remind him that the good times, comfort, and high position he enjoyed in his new society were all the results of his being "the Prince of Baal."

These select Israelites were separated from fellowship with the people of God and given a three-year training course in the customs and language of their new country. Thus, Satan attempted to seduce them into the lifestyle of the world before they would eventually serve in the king's palace (Daniel 1:4).

But, the people of God think differently than the people of the world because their lives are God-centered. The four young Israelites remained loyal to the God of Abraham. Their first concern was to please the Lord.

In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar was greatly disturbed over a dream of a giant image he could not remember. Daniel not only described the giant image, but interpreted its meaning as well. The dream represented kingdoms that would rule the world until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24). Nechadnezzar was represented by the head . . . of fine gold (Daniel 2:32). His breast and his arms of silver symbolized the Medo-Persian Empire, which would become the next dominating world power. This was followed by the Grecian Empire, which was represented by his belly and his thighs of brass. The fourth empire, his legs of iron, (and) his feet part of iron and part of clay (2:33), depicted the Roman Empire, which will be revived as the one-world government to be ruled by the Antichrist. The Antichrist will be destroyed at the return of Christ, Whose Kingdom shall never be destroyed (2:44). Jesus was portrayed as a Stone . . . cut out without (human) hands. . . . and the Stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth (2:34-35).

Babylon and Jerusalem symbolize two diverse loyalties of which Scripture speaks -- and their two masters. Are we living according to God's Word or to the ways of this world? As Jesus said: No man can serve two masters: for . . . he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve (both) God and mammon (material wealth) (Matthew 6:24).

Christ Revealed:

As the Stone that smote the image (Daniel 2:35). The Stone is Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-8).

Word Studies:

1:4 Children = Young men; 2:1 sleep brake from him = he was unable to sleep; 2:31 terrible = awesome; 3:19 the form of his visage was changed = his facial expression was changed; 3:21 hosen = tunic or undergarments.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Joe Barton (TX) and Rep. Mark Kirk (IL) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Tonga (109,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: Tongan and English · Religious freedom · 55% Protestant; 22% Mormon; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Raise your hands in praise and prayer, and worship the Lord (1 Timothy 2:8).

Optional Reading: Revelation 20

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 5:10-11