Daily reading for Monday, December 2, 2013
Daniel 9:1-11:1; 1 John 2:18-3:16; Psalms 121:1-8; Proverbs 28:27-28 (Good News Translation)
Daniel Prays for His People
9 Darius the Mede, who was the son of Xerxes, ruled over the kingdom of Babylonia. 2 In the first year of his reign I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the Lord had told the prophet Jeremiah. 3 And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed the sins of my people.
I said, “Lord God, you are great, and we honor you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command.
5 “We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. 7 You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves. This is true of all of us who live in Judea and in Jerusalem and of all the Israelites whom you scattered in countries near and far because they were unfaithful to you. 8 Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. 9 You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10 We did not listen to you, O Lord our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11 All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, and so you brought on us the curses that are written in the Law of Moses, your servant. 12 You did what you said you would do to us and our rulers. You punished Jerusalem more severely than any other city on earth, 13 giving us all the punishment described in the Law of Moses. But even now, O Lord our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14 You, O Lord our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you.
15 “O Lord our God, you showed your power by bringing your people out of Egypt, and your power is still remembered. We have sinned; we have done wrong. 16 You have defended us in the past, so do not be angry with Jerusalem any longer. It is your city, your sacred hill.[a] All the people in the neighboring countries look down on Jerusalem and on your people because of our sins and the evil our ancestors did. 17 O God, hear my prayer and pleading. Restore your Temple, which has been destroyed; restore it so that everyone will know that you are God. 18 Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19 Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen to us, and act! In order that everyone will know that you are God, do not delay! This city and these people are yours.”
Gabriel Explains the Prophecy
20 I went on praying, confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and pleading with the Lord my God to restore his holy Temple. 21 While I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came flying down to where I was. It was the time for the evening sacrifice to be offered. 22 He explained, “Daniel, I have come here to help you understand the prophecy. 23 When you began to plead with God, he answered you. He loves you, and so I have come to tell you the answer. Now pay attention while I explain the vision.
24 “Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established, so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the holy Temple[b] will be rededicated. 25 Note this and understand it: From the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until God's chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. 26 And at the end of that time God's chosen leader will be killed unjustly.[c] The city and the Temple will be destroyed by the invading army of a powerful ruler. The end will come like a flood, bringing the war and destruction which God has prepared. 27 That ruler will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half this time is past, he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror[d] will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him.”
Daniel's Vision by the Tigris River
10 In the third year that Cyrus was emperor of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar. The message was true but extremely hard to understand.[e] It was explained to him in a vision.
2 At that time I was mourning for three weeks. 3 I did not eat any rich food or any meat, drink any wine, or comb my hair until the three weeks were past.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month of the year I was standing on the bank of the mighty Tigris River. 5 I looked up and saw someone who was wearing linen clothes and a belt of fine gold. 6 His body shone like a jewel. His face was as bright as a flash of lightning, and his eyes blazed like fire. His arms and legs shone like polished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a great crowd.
7 I was the only one who saw the vision. Those who were with me did not see anything, but they were terrified and ran and hid. 8 I was left there alone, watching this amazing vision. I had no strength left, and my face was so changed that no one could have recognized me. 9 When I heard his voice, I fell to the ground unconscious and lay there face downward. 10 Then a hand took hold of me and raised me to my hands and knees; I was still trembling.
11 The angel said to me, “Daniel, God loves you. Stand up and listen carefully to what I am going to say. I have been sent to you.” When he had said this, I stood up, still trembling.
12 Then he said, “Daniel, don't be afraid. God has heard your prayers ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in order to gain understanding. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 The angel prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief angels, came to help me, because I had been left there alone in Persia. 14 I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the future. This is a vision about the future.”
15 When he said this, I stared at the ground, speechless. 16 Then the angel, who looked like a human being, reached out and touched my lips. I said to him, “Sir, this vision makes me so weak that I can't stop trembling. 17 I am like a slave standing before his master. How can I talk to you? I have no strength or breath left in me.”
18 Once more he took hold of me, and I felt stronger. 19 He said, “God loves you, so don't let anything worry you or frighten you.”
When he had said this, I felt even stronger and said, “Sir, tell me what you have to say. You have made me feel better.”
20-21 He said, “Do you know why I came to you? It is to reveal to you what is written in the Book of Truth. Now I have to go back and fight the guardian angel of Persia. After that the guardian angel of Greece will appear. There is no one to help me except Michael, Israel's guardian angel.[f]
11 He is[g] responsible for helping and defending me.
- Daniel 9:16 Mount Zion (see Zion in Word List).
- Daniel 9:24 Temple; or altar.
- Daniel 9:26 One ancient translation unjustly; Hebrew unclear.
- Daniel 9:27 A pagan image set up in the Jerusalem Temple by foreign conquerors (see 1 Macc 1.54-61).
- Daniel 10:1 but extremely hard to understand; or and it was about a great war.
- Daniel 10:20 Probable text guardian angel; Hebrew guardian angel. And I, in the first year of Darius the Mede.
- Daniel 11:1 One ancient translation He is; Hebrew I am.
1 John 2:18-3:16
The Enemy of Christ
18 My children, the end is near! You were told that the Enemy of Christ would come; and now many enemies of Christ have already appeared, and so we know that the end is near. 19 These people really did not belong to our fellowship, and that is why they left us; if they had belonged to our fellowship, they would have stayed with us. But they left so that it might be clear that none of them really belonged to us.
20 But you have had the Holy Spirit poured out on you by Christ, and so all of you know the truth. 21 I write you, then, not because you do not know the truth; instead, it is because you do know it, and you also know that no lie ever comes from the truth.
22 Who, then, is the liar? It is those who say that Jesus is not the Messiah. Such people are the Enemy of Christ—they reject both the Father and the Son. 23 For those who reject the Son reject also the Father; those who accept the Son have the Father also.
24 Be sure, then, to keep in your hearts the message you heard from the beginning. If you keep that message, then you will always live in union with the Son and the Father. 25 And this is what Christ himself promised to give us—eternal life.
26 I am writing this to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit's teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ.
28 Yes, my children, remain in union with him, so that when he appears we may be full of courage and need not hide in shame from him on the Day he comes. 29 You know that Christ is righteous; you should know, then, that everyone who does what is right is God's child.
Children of God
3 See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God's children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God. 2 My dear friends, we are now God's children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.
4 Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God's law, because sin is a breaking of the law. 5 You know that Christ appeared in order to take away sins,[a] and that there is no sin in him. 6 So everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen him or known him.
7 Let no one deceive you, my children! Whoever does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. 8 Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning. The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the Devil had done.
9 Those who are children of God do not continue to sin, for God's very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin. 10 Here is the clear difference between God's children and the Devil's children: those who do not do what is right or do not love others are not God's children.
Love One Another
11 The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain; he belonged to the Evil One and murdered his own brother Abel. Why did Cain murder him? Because the things he himself did were wrong, and the things his brother did were right.
13 So do not be surprised, my friends, if the people of the world hate you. 14 We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it because we love others. Those who do not love are still under the power of death. 15 Those who hate others are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life in them. 16 This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for others!
- 1 John 3:5 sins; some manuscripts have our sins.
The Lord Our Protector
121 I look to the mountains;
where will my help come from?
2 My help will come from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let you fall;
your protector is always awake.
4 The protector of Israel
never dozes or sleeps.
5 The Lord will guard you;
he is by your side to protect you.
6 The sun will not hurt you during the day,
nor the moon during the night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all danger;
he will keep you safe.
8 He will protect you as you come and go
now and forever.
27 Give to the poor and you will never be in need. If you close your eyes to the poor, many people will curse you.
28 People stay in hiding when the wicked come to power. But when they fall from power, the righteous will rule again.