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Bible Pathways 09/16/2003

September 16

Read Daniel 4 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

Nebuchadnezzar's second dream and Daniel's interpretation; Belshazzar's feast; Daniel in the lions' den

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 invaded Babylon to defeat and execute Belshazzar, he was celebrating a great feast with a thousand of his lords, and drank wine . . . (from) the golden and silver vessels which . . . Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple . . . at Jerusalem. . . . 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 appears to have been ignored by this king for perhaps ten years. Daniel boldly proclaimed: This is the interpretation . . . God has numbered your kingdom and finished it (5:26). That night Darius the Median took the kingdom (5:31)

Darius decided to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first. . . . Daniel was preferred above the presidents and priests (6:1,3). In an effort to destroy him because of envy, the other presidents and princes said to the king: All . . . have consulted together to establish a royal statute (edict) . . . that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save (except) of you , O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree . . . that it be not changed (6:7-8). Assuming that all . . . have consulted would have included Daniel and without realizing its real purpose, the king signed the decree.

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?

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 beforetime (6:10). 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 read the Word of God or could not worship on the Lord's Day in church? Yes, Daniel ended up in the den of lions but, afterwards he was able to victoriously testify to the king: My God has sent His angel (messenger), and has shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me (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, periods of times (see 4:32); 5:2 father = grandfather; 5:5 against the candlestick = opposite the lampstand; 5:12 showing of = explanation of.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Barbara Jean Jackson · Pray for Dr. Paul R. Gupta, President, Hindustan Bible Institute, Madras, India · Government Officials: Rep. Eva Clayton (NC), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Dale Kildee (MI), and Rep. Michael McNulty (NY) · Country: Solomon Islands (455,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: 120 indigenous languages · Religious freedom · 66% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 4% spirit worship, ancestor worship, and sorcery · Prayer Suggestion: Offering praise and thanks to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him (Hebrews 13:15).

Optional Reading: Revelation 21

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:10

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