Daily reading for Thursday, November 28, 2013
Daniel 5:1-31; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Psalms 119:113-128; Proverbs 28:19-20 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
The Handwriting on the Wall
5 King Belshazzar threw a large banquet for 1,000 nobles and drank wine with them. 2 As they were tasting the wine, Belshazzar ordered that the gold and silver utensils which his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought to him. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines.[a]
3 So the servants brought the gold utensils that had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem. The king, his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised their gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, or stone.
5 Suddenly, the fingers of a person’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster wall opposite the lamp stand of the royal palace. The king watched as the hand wrote. 6 Then the king turned pale, and his thoughts frightened him. His hip joints became loose, and his knees knocked against each other.
7 The king screamed for the psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers to be brought to him. He told these wise advisers of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me its meaning will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on his neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom.” 8 All the king’s wise advisers came, but they couldn’t read the writing or tell the king its meaning. 9 King Belshazzar was terrified, and his face turned pale. His nobles didn’t know what to do.
10 The discussion between the king and his nobles brought the queen herself into the banquet hall. The queen said, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! Don’t let your thoughts frighten you, and don’t turn pale. 11 There’s a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your grandfather, he was found to have insight, good judgment, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him head of the magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers. 12 This Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was found to have knowledge, judgment, and an extraordinary spirit. He has the ability to interpret dreams, solve riddles, and untangle problems. Now, call Daniel, and he will tell you what it means.”
13 So Daniel was taken to the king. The king asked him, “Are you Daniel, one of the captives that my grandfather brought from Judah? 14 I’ve heard that you have the spirit of the gods and that you have insight, good judgment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 The wise advisers and the psychics were brought to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning. But they couldn’t tell me its meaning. 16 I have heard that you can interpret such things and untangle problems. If you can read the writing and tell me its meaning, you will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on your neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Daniel told the king, “Keep your gifts. Give your gifts and awards to someone else. I’ll still read the writing for you and tell you its meaning.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, might, honor, and glory. 19 People from every province, nation, and language trembled and were terrified by him, because God gave him power. Nebuchadnezzar killed whomever he wanted to kill, and he kept alive whomever he wanted to keep alive. He promoted whomever he wanted to promote, and he demoted whomever he wanted to demote. 20 But when he became so arrogant and conceited that he became overconfident, he was removed from the royal throne. His honor was taken away from him. 21 He was chased away from people, and his mind was changed into an animal’s mind. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like cattle, and his body became wet with dew from the sky. This happened until he realized that the Most High God has power over human kingdoms. God puts whomever he wishes in charge of them.
22 “Belshazzar, you are one of Nebuchadnezzar’s successors. You didn’t remain humble, even though you knew all this. 23 But you made yourself greater than the Lord of heaven. You had the utensils from his temple brought to you. You, your nobles, wives, and concubines drank wine from them. You praised your gods made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, or stone. These gods can’t see, hear, or know anything. You didn’t honor God, who has power over your life and everything you do. 24 So he sent the hand to write this inscription. 25 This is what has been written: Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, and Divided. 26 This is its meaning: Numbered—God has numbered the days of your kingdom and will bring it to an end. 27 Weighed—you have been weighed on a scale and found to be too light. 28 Divided—your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”[b]
29 Then Belshazzar ordered that Daniel be dressed in purple and wear a gold chain on his neck. He made Daniel the third-highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That night King Belshazzar of Babylon was killed.[c] 31 Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. He was 62 years old.
2 Peter 2
Warnings about False Teachers
2 False prophets were among God’s people in the past, as false teachers will be among you. They will secretly bring in their own destructive teachings. They will deny the Lord, who has bought them, and they will bring themselves swift destruction. 2 Many people will follow them in their sexual freedom and will cause others to dishonor the way of truth. 3 In their greed they will use good-sounding arguments to exploit you. The verdict against them from long ago is still in force, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 God didn’t spare angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, where he has secured them with chains of darkness and is holding them for judgment.
5 God didn’t spare the ancient world either. He brought the flood on the world of ungodly people, but he protected Noah and seven other people. Noah was his messenger who told people about the kind of life that has God’s approval.
6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them by burning them to ashes. He made those cities an example to ungodly people of what is going to happen to them. 7 Yet, God rescued Lot, a man who had his approval. Lot was distressed by the lifestyle of people who had no principles and lived in sexual freedom. 8 Although he was a man who had God’s approval, he lived among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day was like torture to him as he saw and heard the immoral things that people did.
9 Since the Lord did all this, he knows how to rescue godly people when they are tested. He also knows how to hold immoral people for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow their corrupt nature along the path of impure desires and who despise the Lord’s authority.
These false teachers are bold and arrogant. They aren’t afraid to insult the Lord’s glory. 11 Angels, who have more strength and power than these teachers, don’t bring an insulting judgment against them from the Lord. 12 These false teachers insult what they don’t understand. They are like animals, which are creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. So they will be destroyed like animals 13 and lose what their wrongdoing earned them.
These false teachers are stains and blemishes. They take pleasure in holding wild parties in broad daylight. They especially enjoy deceiving you while they eat with you. 14 They’re always looking for an adulterous woman. They can’t stop looking for sin as they seduce people who aren’t sure of what they believe. Their minds are focused on their greed. They are cursed.
15 These false teachers have left the straight path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam, son of Beor. Balaam loved what his wrongdoing earned him. 16 But he was convicted for his evil. A donkey, which normally can’t talk, spoke with a human voice and wouldn’t allow the prophet to continue his insanity.
17 These false teachers are dried-up springs. They are a mist blown around by a storm. Gloomy darkness has been kept for them. 18 They arrogantly use nonsense to seduce people by appealing to their sexual desires, especially to sexual freedom. They seduce people who have just escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise these people freedom, but they themselves are slaves to corruption. A person is a slave to whatever he gives in to.
20 People can know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and escape the world’s filth. But if they get involved in this filth again and give in to it, they are worse off than they were before. 21 It would have been better for them never to have known the way of life that God approves of than to know it and turn their backs on the holy life God told them to live. 22 These proverbs have come true for them: “A dog goes back to its vomit,” and “A sow that has been washed goes back to roll around in the mud.”
113 I hate two-faced people,
but I love your teachings.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield.
My hope is based on your word.
115 Get away from me, you evildoers,
so that I can obey the commandments of my God.
116 Help me God, as you promised, so that I may live.
Do not turn my hope into disappointment.
117 Hold me, and I will be safe,
and I will always respect your laws.
118 You reject all who wander away from your laws,
because their lies mislead them.[a]
119 You get rid of all wicked people on earth as if they were rubbish.
That is why I love your written instructions.
120 My body shudders in fear of you,
and I am afraid of your regulations.
121 I have done what is fair and right.
Do not leave me at the mercy of those who oppress me.
122 Guarantee my well-being.
Do not let arrogant people oppress me.
123 My eyes are strained from looking for you to save me
and from looking for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Treat me with kindness,
and teach me your laws.
125 I am your servant.
Help me understand
so that I may come to know your written instructions.
126 It is time for you to act, O Lord.[b]
Even though people have abolished your teachings,
127 I love your commandments more than gold, more than pure gold.
128 I follow the straight paths of your guiding principles.
I hate every pathway that leads to lying.
19 Whoever works his land will have plenty to eat.
Whoever chases unrealistic dreams will have plenty of nothing.
20 A trustworthy person has many blessings,
but anyone in a hurry to get rich will not escape punishment.