How We Live Matters
Not just because it impacts our eternity, but in the here and now. How we live matters because those around us can catch a glimpse of our great God when we rely on God rather than on ourselves. And the world can be changed.
Bible Reading of the Day: Daniel 1-6
The book of Daniel was written according to a few sources, in the sixth century BC, between 540 and 530 B.C. It is one of four major prophets in the Old Testament, though originally the book of Daniel was not placed in the prophets section of the Bible – it was in the Writings section along with Psalms, Lamentations, Song of Songs, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther.
The genre for this book of the Bible is Apocalyptic literature, meaning a divine revelation is given to a prophet concerning the end times. The book of Revelation is another example of Apocalyptic literature.
Matthew 24:15, Jesus validates the book of Daniel, “15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),”
Overview of Today’s Reading
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Judah in 605 B.C., and deported many of its inhabitants to Babylon along with Daniel. Daniel served in the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar as well as other rulers who came after Nebuchadnezzar. The Book of Daniel records the actions, prophecies, and visions of the Prophet Daniel.
In chapter 1, it details the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Daniel and his three friends were deported to Babylon, along with many other exiles and because of their courage and the obvious blessings of God upon them, they were “promoted” in the king’s service (Daniel 1:17-20).
Chapters 2-4 record Nebuchadnezzar having a dream that only Daniel could correctly interpret. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great statue represented the kingdoms that would arise in the future. Nebuchadnezzar made a great statue of himself and forced everyone to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused and were miraculously spared by God despite being thrown into a fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar is judged by God for his pride, but later restored once he recognized and admitted God’s sovereignty.
Daniel chapter 5 records Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar misusing the items taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and receiving a message from God, written into the wall, in response. Only Daniel could interpret the writing, a message of coming judgment from God. Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the emperor, but was miraculously spared.
How We Live Matters—Live a Determined Life.
“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.”
Other translations say resolved, or that he made up his mind, or that he purposed in his heart.
Daniel was a disciplined man of God. Eating the king’s food might have been wrong because it is likely the royal food did not follow kosher laws.
We are not sure why Daniel felt he needed to refrain from eating the King’s food, but sometimes when we grow accustomed to luxury, we grow comfortable and can lose perspective.
From a spiritual perspective, a Daniel Fast can be a helpful way to focus on God. Changing our habits and not relying so much on the comforts of food can be a physical reminder that we rely on God. True satisfaction is found only in Him.
Ever had one of your children upset because they did not get what they want?
Daniel sets his heart on denying himself. Notice that this was a decision he made ahead of time. It was also a conviction.
How We Live Matters—Live a Humble Life.
Daniel was also humble. He did not attribute any insight to Himself, but to God. When Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill all the wise men if no one interpreted his dream, Daniel relied on His God.
Reading from Daniel 2:14-22
14 Then Daniel responded with tact and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 15 He asked Arioch, the king’s officer, “Why is the decree from the king so harsh?” Then Arioch explained the situation to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time, so that he could give the king the interpretation.
17 Then Daniel went to his house and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about the matter, 18 urging them to ask the God of the heavens for mercy concerning this mystery, so Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of Babylon’s wise men. 19 The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a vision at night, and Daniel praised the God of the heavens 20 and declared:
May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. 21 He changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals the deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I offer thanks and praise to you, God of my ancestors, because you have given me wisdom and power. And now you have let me know what we asked of you, for you have let us know the king’s mystery.”
How We Live Matters—In the Hard Places, too.
When we face hard times, may we follow Daniel’s example of humility and reliance on God. We don’t have to panic when the world around us panics – we have a refuge. We get to have an audience with the God of this universe and He rules over all Kings and authorities on this earth. Do we live into that reality, friends?
Scripture of the Day: Daniel 2:20-22
“20 He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. 21 He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. 22 He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.”
- How we live matters.
- Live disciplined, holy lives so someone else can be saved.
- Demonstrating lives of grace and strength changes this world.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #206: Daniel 1-6
Scripture of the Day: Daniel 2:20-22
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