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Tag Archives: Babylon

When “Why Not?” Isn’t Good Enough

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the book of Daniel lately. This is my current favorite book in the Bible. If you’ve read the blog for very long, you’ll also know that I’ve written a fair amount on it (and I actually should pick up on that again soon).

In the past few days, I’ve been particularly struck by Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank…” Daniel’s choice was radical. It rubs greatly against the grain of our Western culture. Daniel wasn’t looking for what was permissible; he was setting his heart on what was holy. In other words, he was setting his heart on what was transcendent to the society he found himself in.

Technically, Daniel did not have to take a raw+vegan+water diet in order to maintain a basic level of righteousness. This is actually quite an important point: Daniel didn’t choose his diet because it was required of him by God or by the Law. Let’s think about what he could have been eating and drinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 18, 2009 in Bible, Daniel

 

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There’s that Smell Again!

…And it’s not a pleasant one. Why, I do believe it’s the spirit of this age reeking again.

Allow me to share my story.

A few days ago, I took a vacation day to recover from my crazy-packed-schedule-admin-ness. I hadn’t had a day off in about a month, and it seemed like time to take one. So I found myself with a free day, an untouched gift card from Christmas, and a friend’s wedding coming up this weekend. Seemed like a perfect time to invest in a new dress. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in Life Happens...

 

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Why Daniel 4? Why Now?

During these past elections, the book of Daniel was continually on my mind. I am more convinced than ever that this book is intensely practical to our day, and one of the most relevant things we can read regarding our current politcal climate.

To start with, no matter who you voted for, we all need to pray for our president-elect. Not only is this a biblical command (1Tim 1:1-2), the book of Daniel tells us clearly that God has set him in place (Daniel 2:21). There is absolutely no way that the sovereignty of God was foiled by the democratic process. The electoral college didn’t pull a fast one on the Lord of glory and slip the “wrong” guy into place. God raises up kings and removes kings. Period. His leadership is perfect.

However, just because God has set him in place doesn’t mean that we kick back and relax, assuming everything is now going to be coming up roses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2008 in Bible, Daniel, Intercession

 

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Daniel 4 – part two

We last left King Nebuchadnezzar at a bit of a cliffhanger, with an ominous dream and a tenderly spoken prophecy of warning. What would become of this great king?

The Bible actually doesn’t leave us wondering for long. “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar” (Dan 4:28).

For twelve months, the Lord tarried. Twelve months, no judgment fell. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar had grown a little overconfident in that time period. Maybe he assumed he had dodged the bullet. Maybe he had persuaded himself that his most reliable advisor was wrong, just this once. There’s a first time for everything, after all. This powerful monarch failed to realize that the longsuffering of the Lord is for our salvation. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2008 in Bible, Daniel

 

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Persistent Prayer: it’s worth it.

Two days ago, I was meeting with a couple of friends of mine to study the book of Daniel. We’re taking our time and going through the book chapter by chapter, and we had gotten up to chapter 10.

One of the things we noticed is that Daniel was fasting and mourning for “three full weeks” (Dan 10:2). Daniel, who was by now a very mature saint, over eighty years old, had been foregoing any pleasant food or personal care for twenty-one days. Despite being a well-respected ruler, and having access to any amount of pleasure he liked, he mourned for twenty-one days. While the text doesn’t explicitly say what he was mourning for, he was most likely distressed over the current condition of his people.

For three solid weeks, this eighty-something year old man gave himself to fasting, prayer, and mourning. The kicker is that during those three solid weeks, he had no answer from heaven. Nothing. Zip. Later in the chapter, the story comes out that the messenger angel had been spending the whole time hacking his way through the principality over Persia. From the moment Daniel began praying, an answer had been sent forth — but it took three weeks of spiritual warfare to get the message through.

I don’t know how that all works, but I can imagine being in Daniel’s shoes for those three weeks. The last time he gave himself in a uniquely focused way to praying for Israel, he received an angelic visitation and a profound revelation of things to come (chapter 9). This time, there was nothing. No word from heaven. As far as we know, there was not even a warm fuzzy feeling. Day after day passed. He probably craved some good food and a nice long bath. He had no way of knowing that an angel was fighting at that very moment to get through to him. He did not know that the angelic activity which was set off because of his prayer would shift the course of history, ultimately bringing down Persia and making the way for the rise of Greece. All he knew was that he was mourning, and heaven was silent. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Current Gleanings from Zechariah

I’ve been studying Zechariah lately and really enjoying it.  Although at first glance, all the prophetic imagery can look kind of intimidating, it’s a wonderful book that gives us some amazing glances into the heart of God. (By the way, if you want to study Zechariah some time, I would definitely recommend this commentary.)

I’m in chapter four right now, and tonight I read a verse that I am very familiar with, but have obviously not given sufficient time to it yet. “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10).

Now, I’ve heard the first part of that verse a lot. Correction: I’ve heard something similar to the first part of that verse a lot. Generally it takes the form of, “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” That’s a great application, and ultimately, I believe it’s the point God is making. But rarely is it ever paired with the rest of the verse — and that makes all the difference. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Daniel 3 – God is Able to Deliver

I love this chapter. You’ll probably hear me say that a lot in reference to the book of Daniel, but I can’t help it. This is a great book. Daniel 3 is one of those stories that we need to reclaim from our mental flannel-graphs and take seriously again. This is amazing.

To begin with, I have to notice the irony of this setup. In chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a gigantic statue with a head of gold that gets ground into powder by a supernatural boulder. The dream terrifies him so badly that he can’t sleep. So what’s his response? “Hmm, I think I’ll go build a gigantic gold statue.” Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant man, but this is definitely one of the stupider moves of his political career. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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