In Today's Scripture Reading:
Nebuchadnezzar's second dream and Daniel's interpretation; Belshazzar's feast; Daniel in the lions' den
Belshazzar ruled Babylon near the end of the 70-year-long Jewish exile. On the night that the Medo-Persian army invaded Babylon to defeat and execute Belshazzar, he was celebrating a great feast with a thousand of his lords. . . . they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the Temple . . . at Jerusalem; and . . . drank in them. . . . and praised the gods of gold, and of silver (Daniel 5:1-4).
Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand (5:5) appeared and wrote on the wall. Belshazzar panicked and his knees smote (struck) one against another (5:6). His astrologers and soothsayers could not interpret the message. In desperation, Belshazzar summoned Daniel who boldly proclaimed: This is the interpretation . . . God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it (5:26). That night Darius . . . took the kingdom (5:31).
Darius decided to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes. . . over the whole kingdom; And over these, three presidents; of whom Daniel was first. Because of envy, the other presidents and princes said to the king: All . . . have consulted together to establish a royal statute . . . that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions (6:1-2,7-8). Without realizing its real purpose, the king signed the decree.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber (room) toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime (6:10). Daniel could have reasoned that, since he was not asked to worship an idol, why not cooperate for thirty days or just pray in secret? We need to ask ourselves: “If a similar decree were issued today, would it make a difference if we were told by government officials that we could not worship in church on the Lord's Day?” Yes, Daniel ended up in the den of lions but, afterwards he was able to testify to the king: My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths (Daniel 6:22).
By Daniel — a stone was rolled across the mouth of the den of lions and set with the king's seal (Daniel 6:16-17). There was a stone rolled across the mouth of the cave where Jesus was buried and it too was set with an official seal (Matthew 27:63-66). As Daniel came forth unscathed, so Jesus came forth from the dead proclaiming the saving power of God (Revelation 1:18).
4:11 the sight thereof =b> its visibility extended; 4:16 seven times =b> seven years (4:32); 5:2 father =b> grandfather; 5:5 against the candlestick =b> opposite the lampstand; 5:12 shewing of =b> explanation of.
Pray for Staff: Al Joslyn Jr • Government Officials: Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Dale Kildee (MI), and Rep. Michael McNulty (NY) • Country: India (986 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Hindi and English • Religious freedom, but increasing harassment and persecution of Christians by religious radicals • 78% Hindu; 12% Muslim (mostly Sunni); 3% Christian; 2.5% Indigenous; 2% Sikh; .9% Buddhist; .5% Jain; .3% Parsi; .2% Baha'i; .1% Jewish; .5% non-Religious • Prayer Suggestion: Glorify God who is able to use national leaders to accomplish His purposes (Ezra 7:27-28).
Optional Reading: Revelation 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Micah 5:2