Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Daniel, Day 2 Readings

Giant Idols, a Fiery Furnace and Another Royal Dream 

Today's first reading is the famous story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace.  The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, has commissioned a massive golden statue and instructed all of the leadership to worship the statue at its dedication, or be burned alive.  The three Jews (interestingly, Daniel is absent from this story) refuse to bow down at the appointed time, which infuriates the king.  The king orders the fire be made even hotter and the three bound men to be tossed in.  However, when they fall into the furnace, they are unharmed -- and the king himself believes that he sees a god in the flames with the men.  In fact, the king calls the men out, and finding them unharmed (their clothes were not even singed), he decrees that no one in the empire may speak against the God of these three Jews.

Read Daniel 3:1-30  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading tells an almost unbelievable story of the final days of King Nebuchadnezzar.  They begin with another fateful dream, this time about a tall tree in the center of everything, which the king asks Daniel to interpret.  The interpretation is troubling, though, because it suggests that the great king will become destitute and end his life living like an animal far from the royal palace.  A year later, the dream was fulfilled and the mighty king ends up living like an ox, eating grass and sleeping outside.  After some period of time, the king realizes the error of his ways and praises the true God.  In doing so, it proves that no one -- even the most tyrannical, oppressive emperor -- is beyond the power of God's transformation (an important reminder given the terrible future that the book of Daniel foretells).

Read Daniel 4:1-37  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Daniel 3-4 today.