Saturday, July 13, 2024

July 13, 2024

Knowing the seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem was coming to an end, Daniel prayed for his people. He confessed the sins of wickedness and rebellion, and the people rejecting and transgressing God’s law. Daniel poured out his heart to God on behalf of the people and asked that his wrath be turned away from them. He asked that God hear his prayer, and while still praying, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and touched him. Although frightened, he knew who he was because he had appeared to him before. It was during the time that there would have been the evening sacrifice had the altar not been destroyed. Gabriel brought word to Daniel from God that he was deeply loved and gave him insight into his vision. He informed him that from the going out of the word to rebuild Jerusalem to the time of Jesus was seventy weeks of years. There is some confusion as to the exact time this took place. However, we know that within the seventy weeks of years, 490 years, Jesus came to save us and to completely do away with the need for sacrifices because his sacrifice was enough to satisfy the Father. Most of the “holy people” still do not believe he has already come and that Daniel’s answer to prayer has already been fulfilled.

The Lord hears your prayers and intercedes on your behalf just as he did Daniel. However, we should confess our sins, offer our praise and worship to the Holy One, and allow Him to work out the details. Pray for our country and the other countries of the world. We are all in great need and require divine intervention.

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Daniel 9:24

Friday, July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

Daniel had a vision of a ram with two horns, one higher than the other, and a goat with one horn between his eyes. The goat, though smaller, overpowered the ram. However, the horn broke off, and four more horns sprang up. Out of one of the horns, a smaller horn grew. The ram was the Medes and the Persians, with the Persians being the higher horn. The goat's big horn was none other than Alexander the Great. Antiochus was the small horn that came out of the four smaller horns after the big horn broke off. 

Alexander was quite accomplished, nearly ruling the entire world. He sat on his bed and cried because he had no other land to conquer. He died without heirs, and the kingdom was divided between four of his guards, who were represented by the four horns that sprang up on the head of the goat. Of those four, Antiochus represents the smaller horn that came from one of the horns. This describes the Roman Empire. He mistreated and scattered the holy people to the four winds. He set up his god, Jupiter Olympus, in the temple and stopped the daily sacrifices. Shortly after he did that, God gave him a disease of worms, which made him rot while still alive, and his stench was so foul that no one wanted to come near him. This disease lasted a while, and he tried to make amends with the holy people, but it was too late. Daniel had to close up this vision so the Persians wouldn’t become incensed by it and give the sacred people a hard time. 

A kingdom and its government will fail that rejects God and oppresses His people, especially if they replace God with their fake idols. The Almighty dearly loves us, and he will avenge us one way or another. Wait for it; it shall surely come! 

And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. Daniel 8:26

Thursday, July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Daniel had a dream similar to Nebuchadnezzar, only his contained four beasts. These beasts represent monarchs or monarchies. The first was a lion with wings, which represented the Chaldean monarchy. The second beast was like a bear and represented the Persian empire. The third beast was a leopard, representing the Grecian monarchy ruled by Alexander the Great. The fourth beast is a little more complicated to define; is it the Roman Empire, Syria, or someone else?  This beast had ten horns; three failed, and another one came up in their place. It had eyes like a man and a mouth that spoke eloquently. This last beast made war upon the saints and prevailed. Has this already happened? Are we in the midst of it, or has this yet happened? I have so many questions and a bit of anxiety over what may be coming. However, this beast will not prevail against Jesus, the Ancient of Days; he relieves my fear and anxiety, and I remain in perfect peace even with dreadful possibilities. We are not of this world, should have no fear of what man can do to our bodies but have dominion over our own lusts and corruptions, and have victory over Satan and his temptations. We win! Jesus covered all those sins. 

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7:21-22

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

King Darius set up his government with princes and presidents, including Daniel, who was one of the three presidents of which he was the head. Darius most loved Daniel because he was fair in his business dealings and could be trusted. However, even to this day, if someone prospers over others, they have those who want to see them fail. In Daniel’s case, the presidents and princes devised a plan to take him down. Knowing that he prays and petitions God three times a day, they went before Darius and proposed that he put a moratorium on petitioning anyone other than him for thirty days. They told him that all had consented to this new law that couldn’t be undone once sealed by the king. He agreed to it, and no sooner than it was signed into law, they found Daniel on his knees, faithful in prayer to God. They seized him and sent him to the lion’s den. Darius couldn’t help him even though he tried. King Darius couldn’t sleep and refused to be consoled by music. He prayed and fasted before God on behalf of Daniel. That following day, King Darius hurried to the den, hopeful God had saved him. Much to his relief, he found him alive and unharmed by the lions. Daniel told him an angel of God closed the mouths of the lions. Because of their treachery, the other princes and presidents were thrown into the den along with their wives and children. 

This story is full of lessons of prayer, fasting, and faith. Daniel humbly prayed three times a day on his knees. Darius prayed and fasted on behalf of Daniel. Both had faith that God would deliver him, and He did! However, the one lesson I took away from this story, above the others, is to remain faithful to your duty to God through Jesus without fear of suffering, even if your life depends on following unscrupulous laws. What good is your life if you deny God or you are found guilty of cowardice?

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Daniel 6:21-22

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

Babylon is now under the kingship of Belshazzar, son of Evil-Merodach, and the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. The Medes and Persians were waiting for the opportunity to overtake Babylon when Belshazzar decided to have a party. During the party, he called for the cups seized from the temple of God when the Israelites were taken captive. When they drank their wine from those cups, a hand appeared and wrote on the wall. Belshazzar quickly called for the astrologers to interpret the writing, but they failed. Then he called his queen-mother, and she suggested Daniel. She knew he was full of a spirit that wasn’t human. Belshazzar offered Daniel scarlet clothing, a chain of gold, and to become the third ruler in the kingdom if he could tell him the meaning of the writing on the wall. Daniel rejected his offer but told him the interpretation of the words. 

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel 5:25-28

Belshazzar then clothed him as he promised. That night, Belshazzar was killed, and Darius the Median took over the kingdom. This timeline puts us squarely into the arms of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. 

Be very careful not to sully the sacred things dedicated to God. He doesn’t take kindly to that type of behavior. Nowadays, who or what is sacred to God? You and I. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit of God, who is not human. Make sure you treat your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him. 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Monday, July 8, 2024

July 8, 2024

After consulting the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and the soothsayers over another dream, Nebuchadnezzar finally remembered that Daniel could interpret his dream. He told him about his dream, and Daniel was stunned for an hour because he knew the implications. An angel, also called a watcher in the text, had come down, and the king had dreamed of a large tree that fed all the people, birds, and animals, and it was cut down with only the root remaining. His heart would change to a beast, he would eat grass, and seven years would pass until he proclaimed that God controls everything, including the kingdom of men and its rulers. Daniel knew the tree was the king and feared telling him. However, the king wanted to know whether good or bad, so Daniel interpreted the dream. A year passed, and Nebuchadnezzar forgot the dream and became arrogant, touting his power.

The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word wasin the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. Daniel 4:30-31

God humbled him, and he lived as a beast in the pasture for seven years until he admitted that God was King of heaven. When he did, God restored his mind and his power, and he honored God.

This story serves as a stark warning against pride and the belief that our success is solely due to our own efforts. The truth is, no one succeeds unless God allows it. He will intervene, as he did with Nebuchadnezzar, to teach us a lesson if we fail to give Him the glory for our success. This inevitability of God's intervention should reassure us of His presence and control in our lives. We are nothing without God, and we must always humble ourselves before Him. 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

July 7, 2024

If you grew up in church, then you, most likely, learned about the story of the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace in Sunday school. Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made in his likeness and wanted everyone to fall and worship it when they heard the music playing. However, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in a display of unwavering courage, refused to obey the command because they only worshipped God.Some Chaldeans tattled on them for not bowing down to the image, which infuriated the king. However he gave them another opportunity to follow his orders but they refused which made him even more angry. Because of their refusal , the king commanded that the furnace be heated to seven times hotter than usual, and had them bound.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Daniel 3:17-18

The guards that threw them in the furnace died because it was so hot. However, when Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he could see four people walking around unbound. He was shocked because he knew they only put three people in there. We understand that the extra person was either Jesus or his representative. Nebuchadnezzar called for them to come out. Not one hair was singed nor did they smell like smoke. This miraculous protection is a testament to the unwavering faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and it should reassure us of God's power and protection. The king decreed that no one shall speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and if they did, they would be cut in pieces, and their houses would be made a dunghill. 

Your faith in God may be tested at some point in your lifetime. Will you be able to withstand the test?