Scripture reading for September 1st: Daniel 1-3
Daniel was a young and promising Israelite from Judah who was taken captive to Babylon. He and his friends resolved not to defile themselves and to live for the Lord in Babylon. God gave Daniel great wisdom and favor and the ability to interpret dreams and visions. Daniel’s life shines as an example for believers today who live in a wicked culture. Daniel’s insight into the dreams of the king of Babylon take us into prophesy and God’s plans for the world!
When King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him, he called all the royal advisers and asked them to tell him the dream along with it’s interpretation. (Daniel 2:1-6) He threatened them all with death if they could not do this, and promised reward if they could. The royal advisers all told the king that he was being unreasonable, that only the gods could reveal such a thing. The king ordered their execution.
Daniel discretely approached the commander of the king’s guard who was set to execute the wise men. Daniel appealed to the king for more time to seek an answer and interpret the dream. He and his friends sought the God of heaven for mercy for the wise men of Babylon and for themselves. God was gracious and gave Daniel a vision in the night that brought the answer. (Daniel 2:14-23)
Daniel shared the vision and answered the king’s request. The king had seen a large statue with a head of pure gold, a chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, and legs and feet of iron and baked clay. While he watched, a rock, not cut by human hands, struck the statue on the feet and it crumbled and blew away in the wind. The rock became a huge mountain that filled the earth. (Daniel 2:31-35)
Daniel went on to share the meaning. These parts of the statue were great kingdoms of the earth. The rock that struck the statue was God’s power setting up an eternal kingdom who would overthrow all the powerful kingdoms of the earth. This would take place in the future! Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped! “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” (Daniel 2:47) God alone can reveal mysteries to his humble people!
Scripture reading for April 23rd: 2nd Chronicles 1-5
“The temple that I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. But who is able to build a temple for Him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain Him? Who then am I to build a temple for Him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before Him?” (2nd Chronicles 2:5-6)
King Solomon realized that God was so great that no one was really able to build a temple that could contain Him. He realized that he was really a nobody and needed sacrifices to come before Him who was so great and mighty. Solomon was humbled and knew he needed grace and God’s help to do this job. So he set out to build with thousands of helpers and invited other nations to send their skilled workers as well. He had lots of money and materials, and the best help would be none too good for God.
Solomon began building the temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah–on the threshing floor of Araunah that his father David had purchased to make an altar and stop the plague. (2nd Chronicles 3:1) This was also the very site where Abraham had come to sacrifice Isaac nearly a thousand years earlier. There, God had provided a lamb in place of Isaac, and Abraham named God Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. David was a descendant of Abraham as was Solomon and now they were using this very site to construct a dwelling place for God in the midst of His people! What an amazing God we serve!
Everything was made according to the pattern that God had given King David to write down for his son Solomon. The inside was overlaid with fine gold. A pair of beautiful cherubim were sculpted by the craftsmen of fine gold. There were beautiful woven curtains of blue and purple yarn and more cherubim were embroidered on the curtains as well. (2nd Chronicles 3:10-14) The cherubim represented the heavenly creatures near the throne of God that cried “holy” holy” holy” day and night! The blue and purple speak of heaven and royalty. Gold represents the highest value and preciousness of God Himself.
The crowning glory of the temple of the Lord was God’s presence in glory that filled the building as the priests worshiped. “He is good; His love endures forever.” (2nd Chronicles 5:13-14)