Daniel 7 to 9 Daniel has been in Babylon for a v-e-r-y long time. In that time, he has faithfully served kings as but first and foremost; he reverently continues to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Both Ezekiel and Daniel have visions as they stand by a body of water. They not only ‘saw’ but ‘heard’ the words of the vision. How blessed we are in this century to ‘see’ with heavenly eyes the future through these prophets and hear the meaning. God’s purpose is to know and understand that God is God and there is no other. Isaiah wrote: His deeds and plans are superior to ours, and yet He considers each of us as He orchestrates our day and our future. Again, just as Ezekiel, John, and Isaiah, Daniel fell to the ground as he recognized he was in the presence of God’s holy messenger, Gabriel.
As Daniel arose, the vision was so real that he fell to his knees in prayer. “O Lord, great and awesome God!” You are faithful while we have been unfaithful. You are righteous, but we are unrighteous. You are exalted, but we have been humiliated. Therefore, you were right to judge our sin.
Daniel has recorded all of this so that we might recoil in our sin and exalt He who is the Lord God Almighty. Isaiah the prophet wrote: “seek the Lord while He may be found.” [Is 55:6]
Daniel 4 to 6 Daniel served under several kings and knew the ways of God because he spent time with God three times a day. Nebuchadnezzar was a wise king, but foolishly, he ignored the advice to repent of his sin, and God called him to account. Daniel interpreted the visual lesson of the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar. Daniel boldly told him that he had not learned the lesson of “he who is prideful will be humbled,” from the experience of his grandfather. And then was Darius, who is a prime example of one who is the fool extraordinaire. Signing a law then regretting it was his major blunder. Wicked men of his court sought to elevate themselves and demote Daniel with an extreme measure of death in the lion’s den. Yet, Daniel remained steadfast just as Paul told the Corinthians: “be ye steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58]
Daniel survived to live another day, but the wicked men and their families became breakfast for the hungry lions. This is a truth that will not change: sin has its consequences, and often our families pay the price along with us.
Stay faithful to God, stay humble, because it is the righteous that shall prevail.
Daniel 1 to 3 When confronted with what seems an impossible request, what do you choose to do? Many are standing up or choosing to be vaccinated. What do you do? Do as Daniel and the three Hebrews did, go to God in prayer. “O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you, for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me. Now you have enabled me to understand what we requested from you.” [Dan 2:23]
First, Daniel acknowledged who God is. Secondly, he glorified God for what He can or will do. Thirdly it seems he waited through the night for an answer, and when it came, he honored God for revealing the answer. Fourthly, Daniel did not face this problem alone. He sought the help of his three best friends because, ultimately, it would affect them all. “He asked them to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends would not be destroyed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. ” [Dan 2:18]
Who are your praying brothers/sisters that will come alongside you to pray you through what seems an impossible request?
Joel 1 to 3 Joel describes the advanced guard of locusts sent to destroy the land and crops. Judah has faced yet another onslaught of the enemy Babylon as he describes the locusts. Whether real or imaginary they are those things that come to seek, kill and destroy. How like our arch enemy Satan!
Secondly, Joel now describes the vivid and impending visitation of the Lord. (MacArthur) God is not finished yet with His people. He now calls his people to a fast, a sacred assembly, and to cry out to the Lord for “perhaps God will grant a reprieve.” [Joel 2:13] Joel speaks of the day of the Lord, and Peter references that in his first sermon in Acts 2, where he says that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh “in those days.”
Do we feel the Spirit’s presence, calling us to repent and to fast? Today as then, there are the scoffers, the mockers regarding God’s call for repentance. Has the Spirit sanctified us because “in the last day scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges. “[2Peter 3:3]
Ezekiel 44 God is very clear about those who will seek His presence. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church; remember you, who are called the “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision,” were without the Messiah, alienated from the covenant of promise, without hope, and without God. But, now you are brought near by the blood of Christ.” Therefore, in this new relationship, remember the price that has been paid for your heart circumcision and be ye holy as you seek entrance into His Most Holy Place.
The Lord is clear: Thus says the Lord GOD, “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter My sanctuary.” [Ezek 44:9] It isn’t just that we are not a Jew by birth, but it is that regardless of Jew or Gentile, our hearts need circumcising. We must seek cleansing from our defilement, for only the pure in heart will see God. [Matt 5:8]
Once a heart is cleansed, one’s ears can hear and take in spiritual truths, and our lips can speak that which is right and pure. It begins in the heart, the seat of our affections. The psalmist wrote: “Create in me a pure heart..” [Ps 51:10] Have you prayed and asked God for a pure heart?
Ezekiel 43 Do you meet with God each day? Is your meeting casual or reverent? In Chapter 1, when Ezekiel had his first vision, he was by the River Chebar, and there he fell on his face. In Ezekiel 43, he again falls on his face. When John saw the risen Christ, he too fell on his face.[Rev 1:17] Both show us we dare not be careless and lackadaisical as we spend time in His holy presence. The very presence of God should cause us to stop and consider who He is. He is holy; He is glorious; He is majestic.
When God’s Spirit left the temple, He hovered, but now He enters like the sound of a mighty waterfall, and the earth shone with his glory. When the Spirit of God came upon the disciples, it was with the sound like a mighty rushing wind followed by the tongues of fire. Centuries later John recorded that when he heard the voice of Jesus it was “likethe roar of many waters“ [Rev 1:15]
When the Spirit of the Living God enters us we are now as Paul describes: “you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. God’s temple is holy and you are that temple.” [1Cor 3:16, 17]
As you meet with God, come as a little child in humble adoration.
Ezekiel 38 As spectators, we watch but find it hard to comprehend the events portrayed here. We have many questions as to who Gog and Magog are. Through the centuries, the biblical authors ask why so many are angry against God’s people? Ezekiel is but the proclaimer, and we are but spectators like at a football game. Yet, God does not spare the graphic details of the “war party” He plans for His enemies. It is Prime Time Net-Flix in vivid detail.
In 2 Kings 6, we read of the story of Elisha’s servant!. When he awoke one morning, he was aghast! He said to Elisha, “Behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city!” He was frightened. Ezekiel 38 is a lot like that exact scenario. Elisha prayed: O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see. So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” [2Kings 6]
Do we pray that same prayer?
Ezekiel paints the picture that will be in the future and the events are frightening! Yet, God is in control, for He is sovereign, and He will place a hedge of protection around His own just like those horses and chariots. God will defeat the enemies, and His people will be protected. We can trust God, for He made a covenant with Abraham long ago, and He will not go back on His promises. He is a covenant keeper.
When God unleashes his fury, will you be sheltered under his wings or experience his wrath?
How important is prayer today as we see our nation and the people stumbling? Nehemiah returned to the city of Jerusalem and found the walls breached and the people without hope. He gathered the residents to repair the wall, and when the enemies sought to undermine, they gathered together armed to resist. He established a routine to rebuild the wall and completed it in 52 days! Today God is searching for that Nehemiah to repair what is broken spiritually, and it begins by praying for our nation, which is full of the hurt, the needy, and the lost.
God challenged Ezekiel and Jeremiah to go and search for one faithful man to stand in the gap. Paul told the Corinthians that they were the stewards of the mysteries of God. The message has not changed, the method has not changed, but the people’s hearts need to be changed.
Will you and I be found faithful to be that agent of change? Are we standing in the gap of the wall? Are we busy about the business of prayer in our churches? Nehemiah challenged the people to rebuild and they responded
“Let’s begin rebuilding right away” [ Nehemiah 2:18 ]
Ezekiel 5 to 8 Today we live in a world that seems turned upside down. What was in yesterday is out today. Who was in yesterday is out today. However, this one thing we know: God is the same yesterday as He is today. [Heb 13:8] He may scatter as he told Ezekiel over and over, but no matter where they would be, He is sovereignly orchestrating His plan; no matter the time, circumstance, or season. No one can say they did not know: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” [Rom 1:20]
Ezekiel is the “man of the hour” for the captives by the River Chebar. Even though far from home, God will retain a remnant. Just as then, Paul reminds us: [Rom 11:5] “So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” The remnant is “saved…not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy,” [Titus 3:5]. God has left his remnant so that His truth and the gospel of peace may be carried far and wide to a lost and dying world.
We are that remnant with a message of hope that many need. Are our feet prepared to carry this “good news of peace,” [Eph 6:15]
Habakkuk 1 – 3 The headlines scream as the government fails. Where are the spiritual leaders? They were hiding then, as many are today. Habakkuk sees an encroaching army and asks God why He is allowing this; weren’t the Israelites His people? God responds as He has in the past: renounce your sin and turn from your wickedness, and I will restore.
Why do we have to see this? Why does God allow a wicked nation to come? Where are the protectors? God then answers Habakkuk with a visual word picture about these villains. They mock the righteous. They scorn anyone who speaks with a righteous tongue. And like him, we ask: “Why do you say nothing when the wicked devour those more righteous than they are?” [Hab 1:13] God reminds Habakkuk and us that one day these will stand in His judgment and be found wanting.
What is the lesson we are to take from this book? It is the same for us as it was then: “the righteous will live by faith.” Secondly, like Habakkuk say: “I will rejoice because of the Lord.” Where are we rejoicing instead of whining? Where are we watching on the wall for His word? Where are we faithful?
Habakkuk pleads with God in prayer: “But when you cause turmoil, remember to show us mercy!” [Hab 3:2]Is this our prayer?