Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Wisdom

  • Wealth and Wisdom: a sermon by Doug Shackleford +

    Doug Shackleford taught in 2004 on wealth and worship. http://sermons.biblechurch.org/2004_10_03.final.mp3 Read More
  • MARRIAGE INTENTIONALITY by Wisdom Hunters +

    "Marriage should be honored by all." Hebrews 13:4 Successful marriages require intentionality. Indeed, most marriages that please the Lord do Read More
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Don  Carson

1 Kings 20; 1 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 2; Psalm 106

NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM (DAN. 2) could usefully occupy us for many pages. It provides insight not only into Daniel and his times, but into our times as well.

(1) The pagan Babylonian Empire had its share of astrologers and other fortune tellers. Like thoughtful people in every generation, Nebuchadnezzar had his suspicions about their competence, and put them to this rather brutal test. Anecdotal accounts of "magical" insight cannot withstand this level of analysis.

(2) Daniel's bold approach to the king claims nothing for himself and ascribes everything to God, who knows our thoughts and our dreams. That took courage. Here is the next stage in the development of Daniel's character. The courageous and unshakable old man that Daniel became (Dan. 6) was formed by a young man who obeyed God even in what he ate, and who was so honest that he would not take any credit where none was due. He was committed to faithfulness, humility, courage, and integrity. He has few successors in high places.

(3) Doubtless contemporary psychiatrists would speculate that the colossus in Nebuchadnezzar's dream betrays profound personal insecurity. Megalomaniacal ambition to rule the world may suggest secret doubts about whether or not one has feet of clay. Whatever the means, God uses the vision to disclose something more profound—the future of forthcoming empires.

Most liberals have argued that the four metals—gold, silver, bronze, and iron—represent, respectively, Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece. After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek Empire disintegrated into four territories squabbling among themselves—hence the feet of clay. Certainly the later chapters of this prophecy focus not a little attention on that period, and picture the dawning of the messianic kingdom succeeding it. Nevertheless that view is tied up with the theory that at the very least the later chapters of Daniel were written pseudonymously in the second century B.C. Most evangelicals find little evidence to support that stance. Moreover, they point out that there never really was a Median Empire. It is better to speak of the Medo-Persian Empire; the Median element was not much more than a transition team. On that view the four empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome—and during the latter the messianic kingdom delivers the mighty blow that ultimately fells the colossus. That seems to be what Jesus held (Matt. 24:15).

(4) This vision reminds us that in this broken and ambiguous world the people of God nurture a hope for what God will do in the end. Little in the Christian way makes sense without such hope; little in our culture makes much sense without a shared vision toward which to press, a vision that transcends personal fulfillment and selfism.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/2014/10/16/1-kings-20-1-thessalonians-3-daniel-2-psalm-106-3/

 

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • The Lives of the Mystics-an interview with Emilie Griffin +

    An interview with Emilie Griffin—author of the new book Wonderful and Dark Is This Road—on the lives of Mystics and how they Read More
  • We Shall All Be Reunited by Patty Griffin +

    Where is now my father's familyThat was here so long ago?Sitting 'round the kitchen firesideBrightened by the ruddy glow Read More
  • Doorways into the prayer life by Emilie Griffin +

    Emilie Griffin spoke at a 1999 Renovaré International Conference Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster +

    In Freedom of Simplicity Foster gently encourages us to see that our identity, our sense of comfort and security must Read More
  • Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster +

    The Path to Spiritual Growth The book on spiritual disciplines. Read More
  • Spiritual Classics, Richard Foster and Emilie Griffiin +

    Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines Good collection of essays, saints throughout the ages. A Read More
  • Prayer by Richard Foster +

    A prayer Richard Foster uses when beginning a time of contemplation: By the authority of Almighty God, I surround myself Read More
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