Babylon conducted 3 sieges of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was taken in the second siege, but Daniel was taken in the first; he was a young man (probably a teen) at the time. Some have called the book of Daniel the “key to prophecy.” If we can understand this book, we’ll have that key that unlocks the doors to many other prophetical truths.
“Daniel, sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament,” presents a majestic sweep of prophetic history. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His people forever. Nowhere is this theme more apparent than in the life of Daniel, a young God-fearing Jew transplanted from his homeland and raised in Babylonia. His adventures—and those of his friends—in the palace, the fiery furnace, and the lion’s den show that even during the Exile God has not forgotten His chosen nation. And through Daniel, God provides dreams—and interpretations of dreams—designed to convince Jew and Gentile alike that wisdom and power belong to Him alone!” – Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible
Daniel and his 3 Hebrew friends, are young, good looking, and gifted, they obviously have tons of potential, and it’s for that reason they are taken to Babylon, to serve in the palace of the King. They will be taught the Babylonian language, the Chaldean ways, trained for 3 years and then their service will begin. In the meantime, they won’t be given bread and water, no, these young men will be in the presence of royalty, so they will be fed well. But, this creates a conflict between the Law of the Lord to the Jews, and the commandments of men in the world…the menu was not kosher.
The battle of the belly is a base battle, but it reveals much about a person. Our flesh loves the delicacies of life…but Daniel loved the Lord more. We read those awesome words that go down in history for us all:
Daniel 1:8 (NKJV) “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
That’s where it begins, in the heart. If we can purpose in our hearts NOT to defile ourselves with the “king’s delicacies,” the things of this world, we may live in the midst of a bad place like Babylon…and yet, we’ll be able to stay pure!
The chief of the Eunuch hesitated at Daniel’s request, fearing for his own life, but Daniel wisely asked for a 10-Day test; Daniel knew God would show Himself strong, which He did.
Daniel 1:15 (NKJV) “And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.”
Most Bible teachers believe this fattening of the flesh to be Divine intervention.
So Daniel and his friends were able to stick to water and vegetables, I’ll be the first to admit, doesn’t sound too appealing to me. But O the power of love, what a difference a heart for God makes! Daniel and his friends exemplify those beautiful practices of discipline and self-denial.
What would make King Nebuchadnezzar fall, face-down prostrate before Daniel? What would bring him to the realization that Daniel’s God is the God of gods, the Lord of lords? This account in chapter 2 of Daniel, is stunning, to say the least.
The King had a dream and he REALLY wanted the interpretation, but in order to make sure the guys weren’t making it up, he required that the wise men not only interpret the dream, but disclose the dream. Of course they couldn’t, they were right in saying that no man can do such a thing…so the king started to kill the wise men.
Enter Daniel, the young man who has this intimate and personal relationship with God. He knows God is able to reveal the secret, so he gets to work, him and his friends start praying. And what God reveals is one of most important prophecies in the Bible, because part of it has indeed come to pass, so we know we can trust Him, and part of it is yet to come (we’ll also see that in the 70-Weeks of Daniel).
In Daniel 2:20-23 Daniel praise God for revealing the dream to Him! Tomorrow we get the interpretation of the dream.
1 Peter 3:8–4:6
Peter now goes beyond husband wife relationships and without leaving that behind, he moves to include all other relationships as well. 1 Peter 3:10 is one of the most important passages in all of life!!!
1 Peter 3:10 (NKJV) “For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.”
Who doesn’t want to “love life”? One of the most critical components is the grace and ability to tame our tongue! Amen?
Peter then returns to the theme of his letter, how we need to be open and willing to suffer for doing right (1 Peter 3:17). We might suffer at the hands of non-believers and it will be an opportunity to witness to them – we must always be ready with an answer when they ask us the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). One of the best things you can do is equip yourself with what Christians call, “Apologetics.” How do you know God exists? How do you know the Bible is God’s Word? How do you know Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? I strongly encourage you to study apologetics, to train your children and youth in this field. A great Apologetics ministry you can find online is at http://www.alwaysbeready.com.
When Jesus died, He went into Hades where there were two compartments. Abraham’s Bosom was the place for the righteous, while hell, or Gehenna, was portion of the wicked (see Luke 16:19-31). Jesus showed up and preached to the inhabitants there, by declaring His victory. Although everyone heard His words, only those who were righteous by faith, were allowed to enter into heaven.
Just in case you’re wondering what Peter meant in 1 Peter 3:21, baptism doesn’t save us (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:17) but it IS a picture of our cleansing in Christ.
In 1 Peter 4, I like the way Peter calls us to “arm” ourselves with the same mind of Christ. So many of the battles we face are fought in the mind – our thoughts, our beliefs, our perspective needs to be girded with the truth of God’s Word, we must cultivate a Biblical World View.
It makes no sense at all to live the way we used to live when we did not know the Lord. Back then we didn’t know His will, we didn’t want His will, and we didn’t have the power to do His will, but now – everything should be different. A Christian who goes back to a life of lust, days of drugs and drinking, indulging in those types of parties and idolatries, is like a dog returning to his vomit (2 Peter 2:22). Such a person needs that warning of Christ Who promised to vomit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).
1 Peter 4:6 is difficult to interpret. Some say the dead are those who are/were dead in their sins and have since been saved. Other’s believe it to be the believer who has died. They’ve been judged in the sense that they’ve tasted death, but now they live in the presence of God.
“We must not interpret 1 Peter 4:6 apart from the context of suffering; otherwise, we will get the idea that there is a second chance for salvation after death. Peter was reminding his readers of the Christians who had been martyred for their faith. They had been falsely judged by men, but now, in the presence of God, they received their true judgment. “Them that are dead” means “them that are now dead” at the time Peter was writing…because there is no opportunity for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27).” – Warren Wiersbe
Almost every verse is a prayer to God, and includes a reference to the Word. I cannot overstate the importance of prayer and the Word. This communion, this heart-to-heart conversation with our Creator is the key for us as Christians, prayer and the Word.
Teach me, the Psalmists prays (Psalm 119:66, 68) for I believe Your commandments.
Three times in our section for today the Psalmist speaks of being afflicted (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75). God allows things to happen, and sometimes even brings it on us Himself, because He loves us. We must respond accordingly! The Psalmist was wise in allowing the affliction to get his attention and to bring him back when he strayed (Psalm 119:67). He knew it was good for him (Psalm 119:71). He knew that the hard times of affliction are filtered through a faithful God who loved him (Psalm 119:75). If only we would pay attention to those times of discipline from our Father. What’s God trying to do in my life? Today? Change my circumstances or change me? Change my spouse – that problem “person?” Or change me?
We’re reminded in Psalm 119:73 that we’re “hand-made” by God:
Psalm 119:73 (NKJV) “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.”
We’re all unique in order to fulfill unique purposes; may God give us understanding in His Word and His plans for our lives.
The Psalmist wisely prayed for mercy (Psalm 119:76-77). Reminds me of Jesus’ words about the man whose prayer was heard by God in:
Luke 18:13 (NKJV) “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’”
Three times in this section we’re reminded that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart (Psalm 119:69, 70, 80). We are to keep God’s Word with our whole heart. When the Psalmist describes the heart of some being as “fat as grease,” he’s not talking about cholesterol build up, he’s speaking of hearts that are insensitive, calloused, dull, and without feeling or substance…may that not describe any of our hearts. Imagine having a heart that’s “blameless?” (Psalm 119:80) May that be our goal.
Proverbs 28:14 (NKJV) “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
I DO believe our Father is blessed when we’re happy, not at the expense of holiness, but here we do see that happiness is Biblical. The key to happiness for a child of God, is a perpetual reverence for God! The King James Version translates as he “that feareth always.”
I like the New Living Translation as well:
Proverbs 28:14 (NLT) “Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.”
“Sadly, reverence and happiness are not commonly associated together. The reverent man is often thought to be sour and unpleasant. Nevertheless, to the degree that one can be always reverent, he can be genuinely happy.” – David Guzik
On the flip-side is someone who hardens his heart. Pharaoh is the poster child for such activity, and yes, he did fall into calamity, it happened to his family, and it happened nationally.