Manna for Today

 

A Coming War (Daniel 7:7-8; 19-20; 23-24)

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  (Daniel 7:7-8)

“Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  (Daniel 7:19-20)

“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.  (Daniel 7:23-24)

Learn it:

            In this vision Daniel is very interested in the fourth beast.  He sees that this one is different than the other three.  Traditionally the fourth beast represents Rome.  What is so unique about it, is that it represents Rome in two different time periods.  For us, it represents the Rome that eventually defeats Greece and then it represents this future kingdom that is going to be a huge superpower that takes over the world. 

            It is this future Rome that will have 10 horns, which represents 10 nations underneath this superpower.  This nation is going to be unlike anything we have ever seen.  It will be a terrifying time in world history.  Then from the 10 nations a “little horn” is going to come up.  This “little horn” represents the anti-christ.  He will have great influence and cause many problems for believers.

Live it:

            Before Christ comes there will be difficult times in the world.  It will be a terrifying time where people are being killed and living in fear.  God wants us to be aware of things so that we can prepare for them.  It is a reminder to followers of God to be out in the world proclaiming his goodness and calling others to follow Him.  It is also a reminder that we should not be surprised when we do encounter the world turning against because God has told us it is going to happen.  It should cause us to rejoice that he is going to come back soon.  It gives us hope. 


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Hope for an Eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:1-6; 15-18)

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.

5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. (Daniel 7:2-6)

‘The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ (Daniel 7:17-18)

Learn it:     

            The style of writing in Daniel changes.  It’s gone from stories to writing about visions Daniel has about the future.  This first vision starts with a vision of the sea and strong gusts of wind.  The wind represents turmoil and chaos going on.  Then out of the great sea come up four beasts.  It is widely believed that these four beasts represent the same four nations from King Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream in chapter.  The four nations the beasts represent would be Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. 

            What’s amazing is how the descriptions of the beasts relate to the nations.  For example, the first beast represents Babylon.  Other Biblical writers often refer to Nebuchadnezzar as a lion or an eagle.  When the lion’s wings are removed it represents when Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind and then his humanity is restored.  There are many connections I could make for the other four, but we see God giving Daniel insight into the future.

Live it: 

            What does this mean for us today?  How do we apply these visions to our lives?  Prophecies are to give us hope.  Hope that God has a plan and he is going to take care of His people.  Verse 17 in this chapter gives us that confirmation about what is to come.  There will be an eternal kingdom after all the earthly ones.  We hope in this eternal kingdom and long for it to come.  We have hope because the prediction about the four beasts came true so it gives us confidence that this eternal kingdom will also come.  We can rejoice and give God glory for his plan for us to reign with him forever. 


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God’s Rescue and Deliverance (Daniel 6)

 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?”

21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:

“May you prosper greatly!

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.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Learn it:

            Daniel is a faithful servant to God.  His always are always fixed on Jerusalem when he prays.  Not only is his prayer life strong but even in his job responsibilities he has complete integrity.  The king recognized Daniel’s work ethic and raised him to one of the highest places of power.  This would have upset people because Daniel was a captive.  His loyalties would have been questioned. 

The only way his enemies could bring him down was to create a law that would contradict Daniel’s faith.  When the king made this new law, he did it not thinking of the consequences it may have on Daniel.  When Daniel’s enemies brought up the charges against him it grieved the king greatly.  He could find no way to free Daniel because the law was iron clad.  From the world’s perspective Daniel’s fate was sealed and he was going to die. 

Daniel is thrown in the lion’s den and a long night ensues for the king.  In the morning he rushes down and finds that Daniel is still alive!  Daniel is found to be innocent and the king kills those responsible for going after Daniel.  Then the king issues a decree for everyone to recognize the power and authority of the God of Israel.  He has an eternal kingdom and has power over all things. 

Live it:

            We must never waver in our allegiance to worshipping God.  He will always be there for us.  No matter what man’s law may tell us what to do we should continue to seek after God.  I pray that we would be able to have that boldness in our day to day lives.  God can get us through any difficult situation.  He will provide for us.  He will protect us.  All he wants is faithful followers.  How can you pursue God today?  How can you seek His kingdom and give Him glory? 


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Don’t Be a Fool (Daniel 5)

22 “But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “This is what these words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27   Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28   Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Learn it:

            King Belshazzar was a very prideful king.  One thing that isn’t made know till the reader till the very end is that Babylon is currently at war and the enemies are right outside their city walls.  Belshazzar has so much faith in his defense that he is having this huge banquet.  His pride is also so overwhelming that he takes items from the Jewish Temple that were made to glorify Yahweh and uses them to honor his gods.  This would be akin to spitting in the face of God.  It is super disrespectful.  Belshazzar does not fear his earthly enemy and does not fear God. 

            At this sign of dishonor God writes a message on the wall in the banquet hall.  Belshazzar has learned nothing from Nebuchadnezzar and gathers his own men who are unable to interpret the message.  The Queen reminds Belshazzar of Daniel, who is about 80 years old at this point, who would be able to interpret it.  When Daniel arrives, he is very blunt with the king and delivers a message condemning him for not learning from his father to respect the One True Mighty God of Israel.  Daniel interprets the message to the king telling him that he is going to lose his kingdom.   God brings his judgment so quickly that within a few hours the king is dead, and the Medes have taken over the kingdom. 

Live it:

            We must learn from King Belshazzar and not let our pride get the best of us.  First, we must respect God because he is in control of all things.  This is a big theme in Daniel!  Second, we should turn to God first when we are seeking wisdom or guidance.  The Babylonian kings kept turning to their own magicians and diviners, but they never could interpret messages from God.  I encourage you to seek God first in all that you do.  We must not think that we know better than Him and humble ourselves before Him.  Spend sometime in prayer with God worshiping Him and asking Him for guidance in your life today. 


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Pastor’s Corner