DANIEL 7:1-28 | 1 JOHN 1:1-10 | PSALM 119:153-176 | PROVERBS 28:23-24
Click on the arrow below to listen to a recording of this post:
We continue with Daniel’s story, but backtrack a little as far as the timeline goes. Daniel has a dream, but this is during Belshazzar’s time. And what a dream it is!
But dreams, as we see from Daniel’s account aren’t always so pleasant. Sometimes, they’re downright terrifying such as is the case here, and to say that Daniel was “disturbed” from having seen such a dream would most definitely be an understatement.
But a dream is a revelation sometimes. It is the ethereal evidence of things to come; it is a forewarning, at times.
Daniel’s dreams were prophecies that were to be fulfilled into the future. This wasn’t just a fantastical figment of his imagination; it was a divine revelation that is to come to pass in what we understand to be world history. A close reading of this particular chapter of Daniel corresponds greatly to the prophecies to be found in the book of Revelations concerning the end-times.
Turning now to our reading of our New Testament passage, we enter the first letter authored by John, one of Jesus’ disciples, to the scattered early churches in Asia Minor.
John’s account of having witnessed Jesus in the flesh couldn’t be more forceful. John says:
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
This was the Word made into flesh, and that flesh appeared before man, and breathed and walked with him for a season. God incarnate. For you. And for me.
John continues to expound upon this great concept of God dwelling among man in the person of Jesus Christ, and speaks to the difference between light and darkness. He says:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Next, he writes plainly about the direct correlation between sin and the concept of forgiveness. First, he establishes that sin is all-encompassing, and we need to recognize this truth. Once there is recognition of this fact, we may then proceed to confess our sin and receive instant forgiveness. Earning our way to forgiveness is not possible, by the way, no matter how sincere one’s efforts might be.
It is as simple as A-B-C. Accept, Believe, Confess! And the result is forgiveness. Could it be any simpler? The answer, my friend, is no! So, let us not complicate, or even try to improve upon what God has prepared and presented to us in so clear and simple a way.
John says this: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Turning next to our reading of the Psalms, we continue with the long acrostic poem in Psalm 119, and find David’s sense of perseverance and devotion to be truly inspiring. In simplicity, David’s cry for help is one that we are all capable of echoing:
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
May it be that like David, we might also lift our voices in praise like this:
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, LORD,
and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.
And these set of verses in the section titled Taw (one of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet) are so poignant in their sincerity, that I reproduce the section in its entirety. May it be that we may make this our daily prayer:
169 May my cry come before you, LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, LORD,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
David’s yearning to be reunited with his God is one that is a timeless, universal condition.
Like Augustine of Hippo says many hundreds of years later, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee”.
Finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs, in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, offers food for thought:
23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor
rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
24 Whoever robs their father or mother
and says, “It’s not wrong,”
is partner to one who destroys.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.