Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 09/16/2002

September 16

Read Daniel 4 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

Nebuchadnezzar's praise to the One True God; Daniel's intrepretation of his dream and its fulfillment; Belhsazzar's feast; handwriting on the wall; Daniel's interpretation of it; it's fulfillment; Daniel cast into the lions' den becasue of his prayers; his miraculous protection.

Verses for Today:

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine . . . (from) the golden . . . vessels . . . taken out of the Temple . . . in Jerusalem . . . the king, and his princes. . . . drank in them. . . . and praised the gods of gold, and of silver (5:1-4).

Belshazzar was the last king to rule Babylon; he reigned near the end of the 70-year-long Jewish exile. On the night that the Medo-Persian army came to defeat and execute Belshazzar, he was celebrating a great feast. But suddenly the fingers of a man's hand (Daniel 5:5) appeared and wrote on the wall. Belshazzar panicked and his knees smote one against another (5:6). In fear, he cried out to his astrologers and soothsayers to interpret the message, but they were speechless. Then the queen reminded Belshazzar of the prophet of God who had been a prominent adviser when Nebuchadnezzar ruled: Let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation (5:10-12). In desperation, Belshazzar summoned Daniel, who appears to have been ignored by this king for about ten years. Daniel boldly proclaimed: [You have] lifted [yourself] up against the Lord of Heaven . . . and [you have] praised the gods of silver, and gold . . . and the God in Whose hand [your] breath is . . . [you have] not glorified. . . . This is the interpretation . . . God [has] numbered (the days of) [your] kingdom, and finished it (5:23,26). That same night, Darius the Mede took the kingdom (5:31).

After some time, it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an [120] princes, [to] be over the whole kingdom. . . . Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes. . . . Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel (6:1,3-4). In an effort to destroy him, they said to the king: [We] have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, [except you], O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree . . . that it not be changed (6:7-8).

Daniel could have reasoned that, since disobedience to the decree would lead to his death, he would pray secretly. He was not asked to worship an idol, only to refrain from public prayers. So why not cooperate?

But, when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went to his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did [before] (6:10). If a similar decree existed today, what would we do? Yes, Daniel ended up in the den of lions but, following that ordeal, he could say to the king: My God [has] sent His Angel, and [has] shut the lions' mouths, that theye have not hurt me. . . . Then King Darius wrote [to] all . . . nations. . . . I make a decree . . . fear . . . the God of Daniel; for He is the living God (Daniel 6:22).

Christ Portrayed:

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 (see Revelation 1:18).

Word Studies:

4:11 the sight thereof = its visibility extended; 4:16 seven times = seven years (see 4:32); 5:2 father = grandfather; 5:5 against the candlestick = opposite the lampstand; 5:12 shewing of = explanation of.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Eva Clayton (NC), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Dale Kildee (MI), and Rep. Michael McNulty (NY) · Pray for one another · Country: Trinidad and Tobago (1 million) two islands seven miles off the coast of Venezuela · Major languages: English and Hindi · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 29% Roman Catholic; 25% Hindu; 7% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Trust in God and offer up your prayers night and day (1 Timothy 5:5).

Optional Reading: Revelation 21

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

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