Daily reading for Monday, November 25, 2013
Daniel 1:1-2:23; 1 Peter 3:8-4:6; Psalms 119:65-80; Proverbs 28:14 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Daniel and His Friends Remain Faithful to God
1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and attacked it. 2 The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah and some utensils from God’s temple over to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar took the utensils to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put them in the temple treasury.
3 The king told Ashpenaz, the chief-of-staff, to bring some of the Israelites, the royal family, and the nobility. 4 They were to be young men who were healthy, good-looking, knowledgeable in all subjects, well-informed, intelligent, and able to serve in the king’s palace. They were to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians.
5 The king arranged for them to get a daily allowance of the king’s rich food and wine. They were to be trained for three years. After that, they were to serve the king. 6 Among these young men were some Judeans: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The chief-of-staff gave them Babylonian names: To Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar. To Hananiah he gave the name Shadrach. To Mishael he gave the name Meshach. And to Azariah he gave the name Abednego.
8 Daniel made up his mind not to harm himself by eating the king’s rich food and drinking the king’s wine. So he asked the chief-of-staff for permission not to harm himself in this way.
9 God made the chief-of-staff kind and compassionate toward Daniel. 10 The chief-of-staff told Daniel, “I’m afraid of my master, the king. The king determined what you should eat and drink. If he sees that you look worse than the other young men your age, he would have my head cut off.”
11 The chief-of-staff put a supervisor in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Daniel said to the supervisor, 12 “Please test us for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us to the young men who are eating the king’s rich food. Decide how to treat us on the basis of how we look.”
14 The supervisor listened to them about this matter and tested them for ten days. 15 After ten days they looked healthier and stronger than the young men who had been eating the king’s rich food. 16 So the supervisor took away the king’s rich food and wine and gave them vegetables.
17 God gave these four men knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to understand all kinds of literature. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams.
18 At the end of the three-year training period, the chief-of-staff brought all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked to them and found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah among all of them. So these four men served the king. 20 Whenever the king asked them about things that required wisdom and insight, he found that they knew ten times more than all the magicians and psychics in his whole kingdom.
21 Daniel served the royal palace until the first year of King Cyrus of Persia.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream about a Statue Made of Four Metals
2 During the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he had some dreams. He was troubled, but he stayed asleep. 2 The king sent for the magicians, psychics, sorcerers, and astrologers so that they could tell him what he had dreamed. So they came to the king.
3 The king said to them, “I had a dream, and I’m troubled by it. I want to know what the dream was.”
4 The astrologers spoke to the king in Aramaic, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! Tell us the dream, and we’ll interpret it for you.”
5 The king answered the astrologers, “I meant what I said! If you don’t tell me the dream and its meaning, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and its meaning, I will give you gifts, awards, and high honors. Now tell me the dream and its meaning.”
7 Once more they said, “Your Majesty, tell us the dream, and we’ll tell you its meaning.”
8 The king replied, “I’m sure you’re trying to buy some time because you know that I meant what I said. 9 If you don’t tell me the dream, you’ll all receive the same punishment. You have agreed among yourselves to make up a phony explanation to give me, hoping that things will change. So tell me the dream. Then I’ll know that you can explain its meaning to me.”
10 The astrologers answered the king, “No one on earth can tell the king what he asks. No other king, no matter how great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, psychic, or astrologer. 11 What you ask is difficult, Your Majesty. No one can tell what you dreamed except the gods, and they don’t live with humans.”
12 This made the king so angry and furious that he gave an order to destroy all the wise advisers in Babylon. 13 So a decree was issued that the wise advisers were to be killed, and some men were sent to find Daniel and his friends and kill them.
14 While Arioch, the captain of the royal guard, was leaving to kill the wise advisers in Babylon, Daniel spoke to him using shrewd judgment. 15 He asked Arioch, the royal official, “Why is the king’s decree so harsh?” So Arioch explained everything to Daniel.
16 Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time so that he could explain the dream’s meaning. 17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about this matter. 18 He told them to ask the God of heaven to be merciful and to explain this secret to them so that they would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise advisers in Babylon.
19 The secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision during the night. So Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said,
“Praise God’s name from everlasting to everlasting
because he is wise and powerful.
21 He changes times and periods of history.
He removes kings and establishes them.
He gives wisdom to those who are wise
and knowledge to those who have insight.
22 He reveals deeply hidden things.
He knows what is in the dark,
and light lives with him.
23 God of my ancestors, I thank and praise you.
You gave me wisdom and power.
You told me the answer to our question.
You told us what the king wants to know.”
1 Peter 3:8-4:6
Dedicate Your Lives to Jesus
8 Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble. 9 Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you, or ridicule those who ridicule you. Instead, bless them, because you were called to inherit a blessing.
10 “People who want to live a full life and enjoy good days
must keep their tongues from saying evil things,
and their lips from speaking deceitful things.
11 They must turn away from evil and do good.
They must seek peace and pursue it.
12 The Lord’s eyes are on those who do what he approves.
His ears hear their prayer.
The Lord confronts those who do evil.”
13 Who will harm you if you are devoted to doing what is good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what God approves, you are blessed. Don’t be afraid of those who want to harm you. Don’t get upset. 15 But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect. 16 Keep your conscience clear. Then those who treat the good Christian life you live with contempt will feel ashamed that they have ridiculed you. 17 After all, if it is God’s will, it’s better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong.
18 This is true because Christ suffered for our sins once. He was an innocent person, but he suffered for guilty people so that he could bring you to God. His body was put to death, but he was brought to life through his spirit. 19 In it he also went to proclaim his victory to the spirits kept in prison. 20 They are like those who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah when God waited patiently while Noah built the ship. In this ship a few people—eight in all—were saved by water. 21 Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn’t save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life. 22 Christ has gone to heaven where he has the highest position that God gives. Angels, rulers, and powers have been placed under his authority.
4 Since Christ has suffered physically, take the same attitude that he had. (A person who has suffered physically no longer sins.) 2 That way you won’t be guided by sinful human desires as you live the rest of your lives on earth. Instead, you will be guided by what God wants you to do. 3 You spent enough time in the past doing what unbelievers like to do. You were promiscuous, had sinful desires, got drunk, went to wild parties, and took part in the forbidden worship of false gods. 4 Unbelievers insult you now because they are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of wild living. 5 They will give an account to the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 After all, the Good News was told to people like that, although they are now dead. It was told to them so that they could be judged like humans in their earthly lives and live like God in their spiritual lives.
65 You have treated me well, O Lord,
as you promised.
66 Teach me to use good judgment and knowledge,
because I believe in your commandments.
67 Before you made me suffer, I used to wander off,
but now I hold on to your word.
68 You are good, and you do good things.
Teach me your laws.
69 Arrogant people have smeared me with lies,
yet I obey your guiding principles with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are cold and insensitive,
yet I am happy with your teachings.
71 It was good that I had to suffer
in order to learn your laws.
72 The teachings that come from your mouth are worth more to me
than thousands in gold or silver.
73 Your hands created me and made me what I am.
Help me understand so that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you will see me and rejoice,
because my hope is based on your word.
75 I know that your regulations are fair, O Lord,
and that you were right to make me suffer.
76 Let your mercy comfort me
as you promised.
77 Let your compassion reach me so that I may live,
because your teachings make me happy.
78 Let arrogant people be put to shame
because they lied about me,
yet I reflect on your guiding principles.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me
so that they can come to know your written instructions.
80 Let my heart be filled with integrity in regard to your laws
so that I will not be put to shame.
14 Blessed is the one who is always fearful of sin,
but whoever is hard-hearted falls into disaster.