November - Reading 22

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    Our Scriptures for today are:

    John 13:1-11

    3 John 1-14

    Job 20

    Daniel 5-6

    May God continue to bless you as you read from His Word.

    [ November 23, 2002, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good afternoon -

    Our reading of Daniel shows that the prophet was able to make himself known to each successive king through the abilities that God granted him. The account of the writing on the wall in chapter 5 is a very interesting narrative. It is very noteworthy that God revealed Himself to each of the successive kings with the aid of Daniel yet the exile continued until Persia conquered the Babylonians. This story marks the end of the first kingdom of the prophecies, Babylon, and the beginning of the second, Medes aand Persia.

    In the Gospel of John we read the account of Christ washing the Disciples' feet. There is an interesting exchange that happens between Peter and Christ. While the scene symbolizes the servitude displayed by Christ throughout His ministry, he maintains control throughout the situation. Peter tries to control the scene himself, first by telling Christ not to wash his feet and then telling him to wash his hands and head as well.

    3 John

    Once again there is little question as to the authenticity of this Letter. The focus of this Epistle is to denounce the dictatorial leader present in one of the churches named Diotrephes. John had sent teachers to this church in Asia only to have Diotrephes reject them and even excommunicate members who supported them. Though the Letter is sent to Gaius as a note of praise, the real intent is to warn Diotrephes.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. mark brandwein

    mark brandwein
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    Clint, Is the message in verse 2 in 3John? [​IMG]
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Hi Mark -

    Can you rephrase the question, please?
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson 8/14/05

    Daniel 6

    Chapter 6 of Daniel contains the widely known account of Daniel in the lion’s den. This is a story that we who were raised in Christian homes have heard since we were children. It is a story that describes how God protects His own.

    Before we begin an exposition of the text, a few points should be made. Daniel's ministry spanned the era just prior to, including, and just after the exile. This was a noteworthy period for both the Jews and the world at large. The Assyrians had fallen under the Babylonians who would then fall to the Medes and Persians. It was a time of political unrest and uncertainty for the Mediterranean world.

    The first six chapters of the Book of Daniel are a collection of stories with the same basic moral. Though the Jews were in exile, they were still God’s chosen people and it was important that they recognize the relationship that they had with God as such. The narratives of these first six chapters shows the Jewish characters with a seemingly hopeless disadvantage as captives in a heathen world. Yet through persistent and unwavering faith accompanied by strong religious resolve, God snatches what seems like sure victory from their oppressors.

    As we enter chapter 6, the Babylonian Empire has fallen to the Persians. The first difficulty in interpretation occurs at this juncture. Darius is described as “the Mede.” Secular history has recorded three different men from this time period who are possibly the character described here. Unfortunately, none of them were Medes. They were Persians. The Medes and Persians, though separate nations at the time, became synonymous in later history when the Greeks rose to power. It appears that the author of Daniel also recognized these foreign entities as one and the same. It is important that when we interpret the Book of Daniel that we always bear in mind the original audience for whom it was intended.

    As the chapter opens, Darius has ascended the throne in what was Babylon and Daniel has retained the power he had while under Nebuchadnezzar. In chapter 5 he had prophesied the fall of Babylon when he interpreted the writing on the wall from a divinely inspired hand for Belshazzar. That account shows Daniel as having fallen from political recognition into relative obscurity until this time. Now under the domain of a new world leadership the prophet continues in his service to his God over his service to his rulers.

    Daniel 6:1-5 Daniel Caught in the Power Struggle

    It is noteworthy that Darius is the only Gentile in the Scriptures to have his age accounted at his ascension. Darius became king during a time of revolts and catastrophes. The newly established government faced the threat of insurrection from every corner of the kingdom. It is therefore not surprising that Darius would set up a chain of command that involved his whole kingdom. He appointed 120 satraps, or as the KJV phrases it, princes. Satrap is an old Persian word that means “protector of the realm.” Over these satraps Darius appointed three presidents, of which Daniel was one. These three presidents were then accountable to the king. Therefore we see that Daniel was the second highest political figure in the Persian Empire along with two other men, both heathen.

    Daniel excelled in his position because he had an “excellent spirit” that stemmed from his faith in God. His excellence became evident to all including the other two presidents. These men became jealous and anxious as they perceived that Darius would soon make Daniel chief over them and threaten their positions. Therefore they sought some way to discredit the prophet.

    Though they searched for some scandal or weakness or disloyalty, they could not find one thing to use against Daniel. They therefore turned to creating a conflict and centered on Daniel’s firm faith in God as the chink in his armor. Their failure would lay in the fact that what they perceived as his weakness was actually the source of his strength.

    Daniel 6:6-18 Daniel Forced to Make a Choice

    Daniel’s political rivals came up with a scheme. They approached the king claiming to be representative of all the royal officials with a proposal that Darius sign into law a decree that all religions throughout the kingdom must use the king as the intermediary for prayer for thirty days. They presented this proposal as a unifying measure in the kingdom. The punishment for disobedience to the new law would be death by throwing the perpetrator to the lions.

    Darius was persuaded by the two presidents and signed the decree. This signature became a binding factor that could not be revoked, even by the king himself. The trap was set and the officials awaited their opportunity.

    They did not have to wait very long. Daniel was faced with a seeming dilemma when he received news of the new decree. Here was a law made by man that countered his faith and religion. However, for the prophet there was no decision to be made. He continued the same practices he always had. He went to the same place, his upper chamber. He kept the same attitude, he got on his knees. He kept the same frequency, three times a day. He kept the same practice, he prayed and gave thanks. He did not allow anyone to come between him and his God. He prayed at a window facing Jerusalem.

    His rivals found him easily and predictably breaking the new law and immediately report the incident to the king. They do not mention Daniel’s name at first but ask the king to confirm the intent of the law and the punishment. The king confirms such exactly as the men hoped and they then announce the perpetrator. They do not refer to him as “President Daniel” but rather as “Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah.” As is characteristic of the first six chapters of the Book, the Jew is placed in the greatest of disadvantages.

    Through his own observations the king had come to trust and respect Daniel. When he heard the report of the corrupt politicians he became very distressed. He had been outwitted and had trapped himself along with the Jew. We are not told what measures the king took to try to save Daniel but in the end he was unsuccessful. With no other choices available to him, he orders that the prophet be thrown into the lion’s den.

    The keeping of wild beast for royal pleasure was a long-standing tradition in this part of the world. The den described in the text is a cistern with a small hole at the top of it. As Daniel is delivered to his seemingly inescapable fate the king wishes him to be saved by his God. The man who would be intermediary was ineffective in trying to save the prophet. It was now up to one higher than him to deliver the poor outlaw. The hole at the top of the cistern was covered with a rock and sealed by the signets of the king and his lords.

    The two presidents had not really done anything illegal. They had acted immorally. Daniel had not done anything immoral. He had acted illegally. This story shows the vast difference that can exist between what is legal and what is right. The devious presidents had maneuvered through the law perfectly. Now, in their thinking, when the lions killed Daniel, they would be blameless. There would be no blood on their hands.

    The characters depart the scene of the execution and return home. Darius is described as spending the night in great worry and sleeplessness as he thinks about the fate he had been duped into forcing upon Daniel.

    Daniel 6:19-24 Daniel Delivered from the Den

    Darius’ sincerity is relayed in the story in several ways. He could not sleep that night, he went to the den at the first hint of light, he went in haste, and he cried out in anguish. The anxious king hoped against hope that Daniel’s God was indeed powerful enough and real enough to save him. When he calls to Daniel in the lion’s den, he hears the impossible. The prophet had survived the night through the assistance of an angel sent by his God. The angel had shut the mouth of the lions because he had been found blameless before God. Daniel also vows that he had no wrong in regards to the king.

    Daniel is retrieved from the den unharmed because he had trusted in his God. The men who plotted against him are rounded up and are given, along with their families, the fate they had tried to give Daniel. Proof that Daniel was not saved because of a lack of appetite on the part of the lions is evident in that the conspirators are slain before they even hit the bottom of the cistern. Daniel had been saved by the presence of the Living God.

    Daniel 6:25-28 The Decree of Darius

    Darius sends out a message to the known world that in his kingdom men would fear and tremble before the God of Daniel. Note that in keeping with the religious tolerance of his reign he does not claim that Yahweh is the only God but he gives Him preeminence among all the deities. Yahweh is given the place of greatest honor. He is a Living God; an enduring God; an everlasting God whose dominion shall be to the end. He was a God who could work miracles with greater power than the earthly beasts.

    The decree of Darius echoes that of Nebuchadnezzar decades before when he had come to recognize Yahweh as the Living God (Daniel 4:1-4). Though kings were mortals and empires fleeting, the God of the Hebrews remained with His people. Though exiled and enslaved He still protected those that were faithful to Him. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been displays for the power of God to the unbelieving Babylonians. Now Daniel had done the same for the Persians. It is still the duty of God’s people to show His power to an unbelieving world.

    None of the stories of the first six chapters of Daniel indicate that the Jewish heroes felt they would be saved from death. It was God who did the saving to display His power to the world. Christ warned us that martyrdom would be an element of the church. He told us not to fear those that could kill the body. Yet in Daniel we see the clearest indication of resurrection in the Old Testament. The men in Daniel 1-6 held to a hope. Their loyalty was given to a God that would not allow His faithful to perish.

    At the time of this account, Jeremiah’s “seventy years” had passed. “What now?” the audience must have thought. If the Promised Land was not attainable to them here on Earth, it must be attainable beyond. Though best known for its apocalyptic writings, the Book of Daniel preserves the emerging theology of hope that would culminate ultimately in the basis of our faith: the hope of resurrection. For those with this hope, the threat of death holds no power.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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