Daily reading for Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21; Psalms 119:97-112; Proverbs 28:17-18 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
A Letter from Nebuchadnezzar about His Insanity
4 [a]From King Nebuchadnezzar.
To the people of every province, nation, and language in the world.
I wish you peace and prosperity.
2 I am pleased to write to you about the miraculous signs and amazing things the Most High God did for me.
3 His miraculous signs are impressive.
He uses his power to do amazing things.
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom.
His power lasts from one generation to the next.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living comfortably at home. I was prosperous while living in my palace. 5 I had a dream that terrified me. The visions I had while I was asleep frightened me. 6 So I ordered all the wise advisers in Babylon to be brought to me to tell me the dream’s meaning. 7 The magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers came to me. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t tell me its meaning. 8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (He had been renamed Belteshazzar after my god Bel.) The spirit of the holy gods is in him.
I told him the dream: 9 “Belteshazzar, head of the magicians, I know the spirit of the holy gods is in you. No secret is too hard for you to uncover. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. 10 These are the visions I had while I was asleep: I was looking, and I saw an oak tree in the middle of the earth. It was very tall. 11 The tree grew, and it became strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 12 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals found shade under it. Birds came to live in its branches. It fed every living creature.
13 “I was seeing these visions as I was asleep. I saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. 14 He shouted loudly, ‘Cut down the oak tree! Cut off its branches! Strip off its leaves! Scatter its fruit! Make the animals under it run away, and make the birds fly from its branches. 15 But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. And let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the animals. 16 Let its human mind be changed, and give it the mind of an animal. Let it remain like this for seven time periods. 17 The guardians have announced this decision. The holy ones have announced this so that every living creature will know that the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes. He can place the lowest of people in charge of them.’”
18 I said, “This is the dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning because the wise advisers in my kingdom can’t tell it to me. However, you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
19 Then Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was momentarily stunned. What he was thinking frightened him. I told him, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its meaning frighten you.”
Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish that the dream were about those who hate you and its meaning were about your enemies. 20 You saw an oak tree grow and become strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 21 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals lived under it, and birds made their homes in its branches. 22 You are that tree, Your Majesty. You grew and became strong and mighty until you reached the sky. Your power reaches the most distant part of the world. 23 You saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. He said, ‘Cut down the oak tree! Destroy it! But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. Let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the wild animals for seven time periods.’
24 “This is the meaning, Your Majesty. The Most High has decided to apply it to you, Your Majesty. 25 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. The dew from the sky will make you wet. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes. 26 Since I said that the stump and the tree’s roots were to be left, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you realize that heaven rules.
27 “That is why, Your Majesty, my best advice is that you stop sinning, and do what is right. Stop committing the same errors, and have pity on the poor. Maybe you can prolong your prosperity.”
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, he was walking around the royal palace in Babylon. 30 The king thought, “Look how great Babylon is! I built the royal palace by my own impressive power and for my glorious honor.” 31 Before the words came out of his mouth, a voice said from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to this: The kingdom has been taken from you. 32 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes.” 33 Just then the prediction about Nebuchadnezzar came true. He was forced away from people and ate grass like cattle. Dew from the sky made his body wet until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails grew as long as birds’ claws.
34 At the end of the seven time periods, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my mind came back to me. I thanked the Most High, and I praised and honored the one who lives forever, because his power lasts forever and his kingdom lasts from one generation to the next. 35 Everyone who lives on earth is nothing compared to him. He does whatever he wishes with the army of heaven and with those who live on earth. There is no one who can oppose him or ask him, “What are you doing?”
36 Just then my mind came back to me. My royal honor and glory were also given back to me. My advisers and nobles wanted to meet with me again. I was given back my kingdom and made extraordinarily great. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, will praise, honor, and give glory to the King of Heaven. Everything he does is true, his ways are right, and he can humiliate those who act arrogantly.
2 Peter 1
1 From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.
To those who have obtained a faith that is as valuable as ours, a faith based on the approval that comes from our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2 May good will[a] and peace fill your lives through your knowledge about Jesus, our God and Lord!
God’s Power Gives Us the Ability to Live Godly Lives
3 God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity. 4 Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value. Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world.
5 Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge; 6 to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness; 7 to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love. 8 If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive. 9 If these qualities aren’t present in your life, you’re shortsighted and have forgotten that you were cleansed from your past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, use more effort to make God’s calling and choosing of you secure.
If you keep doing this, you will never fall away. 11 Then you will also be given the wealth of entering into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these qualities, although you already know about them and are well-grounded in the truth that you now have. 13 As long as I’m still alive, I think it’s right to refresh your memory. 14 I know that I will die soon. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made that clear to me. 15 So I will make every effort to see that you remember these things after I die.
Pay Attention to God’s Words
16 When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we didn’t base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. 17 For example, we were eyewitnesses when he received honor and glory from God the Father and when the voice of our majestic God spoke these words to him: “This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight.” 18 We heard that voice speak to him from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 So we regard the words of the prophets as confirmed beyond all doubt. You’re doing well by paying attention to their words. Continue to pay attention as you would to a light that shines in a dark place as you wait for day to come and the morning star to rise in your hearts. 20 First, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. 21 No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction.
- 2 Peter 1:2 Or “grace.”
97 Oh, how I love your teachings!
They are in my thoughts all day long.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
because your commandments are always with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
because your written instructions are in my thoughts.
100 I have more wisdom than those with many years of experience,
because I have obeyed your guiding principles.
101 I have kept my feet from walking on any evil path
in order to obey your word.
102 I have not neglected your regulations,
because you have taught me.
103 How sweet the taste of your promise is!
It tastes sweeter than honey.
104 From your guiding principles I gain understanding.
That is why I hate every path that leads to lying.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path.
106 I took an oath, and I will keep it.
I took an oath to follow your regulations,
which are based on your righteousness.
107 I have suffered so much.
Give me a new life, O Lord, as you promised.
108 Please accept the praise I gladly give you, O Lord,
and teach me your regulations.
109 I always take my life into my own hands,
but I never forget your teachings.
110 Wicked people have set a trap for me,
but I have never wandered away from your guiding principles.
111 Your written instructions are mine forever.
They are the joy of my heart.
112 I have decided to obey your laws.
They offer a reward that never ends.
17 A person burdened with the guilt of murder
will be a fugitive down to his grave.
No one will help him.
18 Whoever lives honestly will be safe.
Whoever lives dishonestly will fall all at once.