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DANIEL 6:1-28 | 2 PETER 3:1-18 | PSALM 119:129-152 | PROVERBS 28:21-22
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Much time has passed since Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall for King Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon.
Daniel must have been no more than a teenager when he had been brought into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and had interpreted dreams for him as well. Following that, Daniel had gone on to read the ominous writing on the wall for Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, and true to his deciphering of the mystery writing on the wall, Belshazzar is replaced by Darius, the Mede.
Babylon is now under the rule of the Medes and the Persians, and Daniel who must be well into his middle-age is one of the senior-most administrators in the land.
And we see today, Daniel’s faith and confidence in his God is such an awesome thing!
Owing to the decree that was passed by the king — at the behest of the king’s men — it turns out that Daniel’s life is suddenly in jeopardy in the most literal sense of that word. Thrown into a den of lions for not observing the decree to worship the king alone and none other, Daniel willingly succumbs to the punishment that awaits him.
But the King cannot sleep that night because Daniel is dear to him, and yet, the king has to honor his own decree and follow through with the consequence of disobedience by allowing Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den. And yet, despite his great remorse and fear for Daniel’s life, the king still has confidence in Daniel’s God to save him. He calls out Daniel’s name the very first thing the next morning knowing deep down in his heart that Daniel would be alive!
This is what the text says:19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Needless to say, Daniel was not only alive, he was untouched by the lions! Yet another amazing miracle along the likes of his three friends walking through the fire unharmed.
And in this way, Daniel proves to the great Darius that his God is a God that delivers. Darius, in turn, issues a decree that overturns the previous one.
This is what he says: 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
Turning next to our reading in the second book of Peter, we find Peter expounding upon the faithfulness of God’s promises. Evidently, there must have been talk about the second coming of the Lord, as promised by Jesus after his resurrection, and before his ascension. There must also have been unbelievers of this promise, and so Peter is urging his readers to not stop believing.
He says: 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Next, we find that Peter’s exhortation to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” is one that is a timeless one, and one that we must all take to heart — every single day.
Our reading in the Psalms, brings us to a beautiful psalm of 119 which is a long acrostic poem, in which David, the psalmist, is plaintively crying out to the Lord with the full confidence that his prayer will be answered. He says:
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
In his most inimitable style, David claims the promise of God’s love. This is not an impersonal God sitting on a throne; this is a God as close as a brother. This is a God who will do for you because he has told you he loves you! May it be that like David, we also say:
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws.
Finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs in which Solomon, the wise king of Israel, is cautioning against partiality, and predicting the future of the tightfisted:
21 To show partiality is not good—
yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.
22 The stingy are eager to get rich
and are unaware that poverty awaits them.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.