Daily reading for Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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Daniel 2:24-3:30; 1 Peter 4:7-5:14; Psalms 119:81-96; Proverbs 28:15-16 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Daniel 2:24-3:30

24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had assigned to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He came and said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men of Babylon! Bring me before the king, and I will give him the interpretation.”

25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him, “I have found a man among the Judean exiles who can let the king know the interpretation.”

26 The king said in reply to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream I had and its interpretation?”

27 Daniel answered the king: “No wise man, medium, diviner-priest, or astrologer is able to make known to the king the mystery he asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days. Your dream and the visions that came into your mind as you lay in bed were these: 29 Your Majesty, while you were in your bed, thoughts came to your mind about what will happen in the future.[a] The revealer of mysteries has let you know what will happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but in order that the interpretation might be made known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.

The Dream’s Interpretation

31 “My king, as you were watching, a colossal statue appeared. That statue, tall and dazzling, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was terrifying. 32 The head of the statue was pure gold, its chest and arms were silver, its stomach and thighs were bronze, 33 its legs were iron, and its feet were partly iron and partly fired clay. 34 As you were watching, a stone broke off without a hand touching it,[b] struck the statue on its feet of iron and fired clay, and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the fired clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were shattered and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away, and not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 Your Majesty, you are king of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and glory. 38 Wherever people live—or wild animals, or birds of the air—He has handed them over to you and made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold.

39 “After you, there will arise another kingdom, inferior to yours, and then another, a third kingdom, of bronze, which will rule the whole earth. 40 A fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron; for iron crushes and shatters everything, and like iron that smashes, it will crush and smash all the others.[c] 41 You saw the feet and toes, partly of a potter’s fired clay and partly of iron—it will be a divided kingdom, though some of the strength of iron will be in it. You saw the iron mixed with clay, 42 and that the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly fired clay—part of the kingdom will be strong, and part will be brittle. 43 You saw the iron mixed with clay—the peoples will mix with one another[d] but will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with fired clay.

44 “In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever. 45 You saw a stone break off from the mountain without a hand touching it,[e] and it crushed the iron, bronze, fired clay, silver, and gold. The great God has told the king what will happen in the future.[f] The dream is true, and its interpretation certain.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Response

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell down, paid homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present an offering and incense to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Your God is indeed God of gods, Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, since you were able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many generous gifts. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to manage the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue, 90 feet high and nine feet wide.[g] He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces to attend the dedication of the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the rulers of the provinces assembled for the dedication of the statue the king had set up. Then they stood before the statue Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

A herald loudly proclaimed, “People of every nation and language, you are commanded: When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither,[h] lyre,[i] harp, drum,[j] and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.”

Therefore, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, and every kind of music, people of every nation and language fell down and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The Furnace of Blazing Fire

Some Chaldeans took this occasion to come forward and maliciously accuse[k] the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever. 10 You as king have issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music must fall down and worship the gold statue. 11 Whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. 12 There are some Jews you have appointed to manage the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men have ignored you, the king; they do not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

13 Then in a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists,[l] then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us,[m] we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders to heat the furnace seven times more than was customary, 20 and he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 So these men, in their trousers, robes, head coverings,[n] and other clothes, were tied up and thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Since the king’s command was so urgent[o] and the furnace extremely hot, the raging flames[p] killed those men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego up. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

Delivered from the Fire

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?”

“Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king.

25 He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”[q]

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God—come out!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 When the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on[r] the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel[s] and rescued His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation, or language who says anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house made a garbage dump. For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.” 30 Then the king rewarded Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 2:29 Lit happen after this
  2. Daniel 2:34 Lit off not by hands
  3. Daniel 2:40 Lit all these
  4. Daniel 2:43 Lit another in the seed of men
  5. Daniel 2:45 Lit mountain, not by hands
  6. Daniel 2:45 Lit happen after this
  7. Daniel 3:1 Lit statue, its height 60 cubits, its width six cubits
  8. Daniel 3:5 Or lyre
  9. Daniel 3:5 Or sambuke
  10. Daniel 3:5 Or pipe
  11. Daniel 3:8 Lit and eat the pieces of
  12. Daniel 3:17 They do not doubt God’s existence as 3:18 shows. The “if” is part of an argument used to defend their refusal to serve Babylonian gods.
  13. Daniel 3:18 Lit But if not
  14. Daniel 3:21 The identity of these articles of clothing is uncertain.
  15. Daniel 3:22 Or harsh
  16. Daniel 3:22 Lit the flame of the fire
  17. Daniel 3:25 Or of a divine being
  18. Daniel 3:27 Lit fire had not overcome
  19. Daniel 3:28 Or messenger

1 Peter 4:7-5:14

End-Time Ethics

Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.[a] Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Christian Suffering

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal[b] comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. 14 If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.[c] 15 None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.[d] 16 But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?[e]

19 So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.

About the Elders

Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing[f] out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will;[g] not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with[h] humility toward one another, because

God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.[i]

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,[j] casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

Conclusion

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally[k] restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.[l] 11 The dominion[m] belongs to Him forever.[n] Amen.

12 I have written you this brief letter through Silvanus[o] (I know him to be a faithful brother) to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Take your stand in it! 13 The church in Babylon,[p] also chosen, sends you greetings, as does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.[q]

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 4:8 Pr 10:12
  2. 1 Peter 4:12 Lit the burning
  3. 1 Peter 4:14 Other mss add He is blasphemed because of them, but He is glorified because of you.
  4. 1 Peter 4:15 Or as one who defrauds others
  5. 1 Peter 4:18 Pr 11:31 LXX
  6. 1 Peter 5:2 Other mss omit overseeing
  7. 1 Peter 5:2 Other mss omit according to God’s will
  8. 1 Peter 5:5 Lit you tie around yourselves
  9. 1 Peter 5:5 Pr 3:34 LXX
  10. 1 Peter 5:6 Lit in time
  11. 1 Peter 5:10 Lit Himself
  12. 1 Peter 5:10 Or a little while, or to a small extent
  13. 1 Peter 5:11 Other mss read dominion and glory; other mss read glory and dominion
  14. 1 Peter 5:11 Other mss read forever and ever
  15. 1 Peter 5:12 Or Silas; Ac 15:22-32; 16:19-40; 17:1-16
  16. 1 Peter 5:13 Probably refers to Rome
  17. 1 Peter 5:14 Other mss read Christ Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 119:81-96

כ Kaf

81 I long for Your salvation;
I put my hope in Your word.
82 My eyes grow weary
looking for what You have promised;
I ask, “When will You comfort me?”
83 Though I have become like a wineskin dried by smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.
84 How many days must Your servant wait?
When will You execute judgment on my persecutors?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me;
they violate Your instruction.
86 All Your commands are true;
people persecute me with lies—help me!
87 They almost ended my life on earth,
but I did not abandon Your precepts.
88 Give me life in accordance with Your faithful love,
and I will obey the decree You have spoken.

ל Lamed

89 Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.
92 If Your instruction had not been my delight,
I would have died in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
for You have given me life through them.
94 I am Yours; save me,
for I have sought Your precepts.
95 The wicked hope to destroy me,
but I contemplate Your decrees.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but Your command is without limit.

Proverbs 28:15-16

15 A wicked ruler over a helpless people
is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.

16 A leader who lacks understanding
is very oppressive,
but one who hates dishonest profit
prolongs his life.

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