Daniel has become one of my favorite books in the Bible over recent years. Not really sure why, but reading the stories in it have become a “goto” if I don’t really have anything specific to read at the moment. Surely there are some incredible stories in it of God’s personal presence in the lives of Daniel and his friends.
The visions and interpretations that Daniel has later in the book are like those found in Revelation.
Hosea is an odd tale to read and you have to wonder, “what?” upon reading it. The depth of God’s love is shown in what we would consider a very strange way.
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Daniel is taken into captivity. The Lord GAVE the king of Judah into the pagan hand of king Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar wants youth of the israelites (without blemish) to come into his service. He wants to feed them and make them stronger for his use.
Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego convince the king to let them continue eating their own food and then test them… compare them to the others. The king finds that these 4 were 10 times better than the others… They go into service of the king.
Nebuchadnezzar has a dream which only
Daniel is able to interpret. Daniel is able to interpret through God’s revealing.
The dream = God is setting up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. The king falls at Daniels feet, recognizes that the God of Israel is the “God of gods and the Lord of kings” and promotes him into the king’s court.
Not long after, King Nebuchadnezzar creates a gold statue and orders that all should bow down to it at specified times. This doesn’t sit well with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refuse. “we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand… If not, be it known that we will not serve your gods or worship this golden image that you set up.”
They get thrown into a furnace as punishment for disobedience to the king’s commands. When the king looks in, he sees not three but four people. The fourth has the appearance as the “son of the gods.” God sends protection to these three.
They come out and were not harmed in any way. The king promotes them and states that “no other god is able to rescue in this way.”
Nebuchadnezzar praises God. Listen to this of the pagan king:
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
There is another dream that Daniel interprets. Nebuchadnezzar gets a moment of pride where he thinks this huge kingdom has come about due to his hand, but God tells him otherwise. Nebuchadnezzar is made unto a “beast of the field” like an ox or something. His transformation lasts 7 seasons. His punishment ends in realization that God’s works are right and his ways are just. Wow!
He is restored, not only physically but in mind too. He knows that pride is nothing… God will humble the proud.
Handwriting appears on a wall. There is a new king, by the way. This one (Belshazzar) has not humbled his heart… he will die. Immediately.
Darius (a new king) rises and gets manipulated in a way that ends up with Daniel being thrown in a lion’s den. We know the story. God shuts the mouths of the lions and rescue’s Daniel. The one who tried to get rid of Daniel gets thrown in and gets eaten by the lions before he hits the ground.
God is a Living God
His dominion shall be to the end and his kingdom will never be destroyed.
Works signs and miracles.
Now we get to the lesser known stories in Daniel. The book of Daniel is filled with some end time prophecy. Daniel sees visions of beasts and of “The Ancient of Days” destroying those beasts and reigning. Daniel had spent a lot of time in his life interpreting other people’s visions, and here is a chance for Him to see something that he doesn’t totally understand. He approaches a person in his vision who explains it all. We are told that Daniel is “greatly alarmed” by the explanation. He keeps it on his heart always.
Another vision comes to Daniel, but this one isn’t fully explained. It makes him sick for days before he returns to work. He is told of the deceit that will occur during the end times. Kings will deceive many.
Daniel confesses the sins of those before him and his own. He reads through the book of Jeremiah and reads where 70 weeks are decreed as punishment for the transgression.
Daniel 10 – 12
A man clothed in linen with a fine belt of gold appears to Daniel. The appearance of this man troubles Daniel. Makes him mute. He explains that he will tell Daniel more about the end times that he has seen visions.
There will be a great fight. The temple will be desecrated. The ruler at the time will eventually come to an end with none to help him. The time that all this will happen is sealed. It is sure and certain.
Hosea, a prophet, is told to marry a prostitute and to have children. Hosea is to personally understand the extent of God’s love for us who are unfaithful to Him like a whore.
The sin of the wife is laid out for all to see and comprehend. Yet God has mercy on those who don’t deserve mercy. He is loyal to those who are not His.
God tells Hosea to redeem his unfaithful wife. Likewise, God will redeem his people of Israel.
Hosea 4 – 5
Just because God is faithful does not negate the faithlessness that His people have. He accuses them and tells of the punishment that they must receive. They must seek him before he come to them.
Hosea 6 – 7
The people do return, but they are not actually repentant. Their worship and sacrifice are empty. (reminder to me)
Israel has forgotten his Maker
Hosea 9 – 10
God punishes Israel to the point that they realize that they must seek and return to Him.
Hosea 11 – 13
But God Loves his people. He has been with them the entire journey. His judgement is a sign of His love for them.
The ways of the Lord are right. The upright walk in them. Transgressors stumble in them.