Daily reading for Friday, November 29, 2013
Daniel 6:1-28; 2 Peter 3:1-18; Psalms 119:129-152; Proverbs 28:21-22 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
6 [a]Darius decided it would be good to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom. 2 Over these satraps were three officials. Daniel was one of these officials. The satraps were to report to these three officials so that the king wouldn’t be cheated.
3 This man, Daniel, distinguished himself among the other officials and satraps because there was an extraordinary spirit in him. The king thought about putting him in charge of the whole kingdom. 4 So the other officials and satraps tried to find something to accuse Daniel of in his duties for the kingdom. But they couldn’t find anything wrong because he was trustworthy. No error or fault could be found. 5 These men said, “We won’t find anything to accuse this man, Daniel, unless we find it in his religious practices.”
6 So these officials and satraps went to the king as a group. They said to him, “May King Darius live forever! 7 All the officials, governors, satraps, advisers, and mayors agree that the king should make a statute and enforce a decree. The decree should state that for the next 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions’ den. 8 Your Majesty, issue this decree, and sign it. According to the law of the Medes and Persians no one could change it or repeal it.” 9 So Darius signed the written decree.
10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. An upper room in his house had windows that opened in the direction of Jerusalem. Three times each day he got down on his knees and prayed to his God. He had always praised God this way.
11 One of those times the men came in as a group and found Daniel praying and pleading to his God. 12 Then they went and spoke to the king about his decree. They asked, “Didn’t you sign a decree which stated that for 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions’ den?”
The king answered, “That’s true. According to the law of the Medes and Persians the decree can’t be repealed.”
13 They replied, “Your Majesty, Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, refuses to obey your order or the decree that you signed. He prays three times each day.”
14 The king was very displeased when he heard this. He tried every way he could think of to save Daniel. Until sundown he did everything he could to rescue him.
15 Then Daniel’s accusers gathered in front of the king. They said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, the Medes and Persians have a law that no decree or statute the king makes can be changed.”
16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought to him and thrown into the lions’ den. The king told Daniel, “May your God, whom you always worship, save you!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the opening of the den. The king put his seal on the stone, using his ring and the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation could not be changed.
18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night without food or company. He couldn’t get to sleep. 19 At dawn, as soon as it was light, the king got up and quickly went to the lions’ den. 20 As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?”
21 Daniel said to the king, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they couldn’t hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven’t committed any crime.”
23 The king was overjoyed and had Daniel taken out of the den. When Daniel was taken out of the den, people saw that he was completely unharmed because he trusted his God.
24 The king ordered those men who had brought charges against Daniel to be brought to him. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the lions’ den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions attacked them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote to the people of every province, nation, and language all over the world:
I wish you peace and prosperity.
26 I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel’s God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end of time. 27 He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the lions.
28 This man, Daniel, prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
2 Peter 3
Be Ready for the Day of the Lord
3 Dear friends, this is the second letter I’m writing to you. In both letters I’m trying to refresh your memory. 2 I want you to remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and what the Lord and Savior commanded you through your apostles.
3 First, you must understand this: In the last days people who follow their own desires will appear. These disrespectful people will ridicule God’s promise 4 by saying, “What’s happened to his promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of the world.”
5 They are deliberately ignoring one fact: Because of God’s word, heaven and earth existed a long time ago. The earth appeared out of water and was kept alive by water. 6 Water also flooded and destroyed that world. 7 By God’s word, the present heaven and earth are designated to be burned. They are being kept until the day ungodly people will be judged and destroyed.
8 Dear friends, don’t ignore this fact: One day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.
10 The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed.[a]
11 All these things will be destroyed in this way. So think of the kind of holy and godly lives you must live 12 as you look forward to the day of God and eagerly wait for it to come. When that day comes, heaven will be on fire and will be destroyed. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and melt. 13 But we look forward to what God has promised—a new heaven and a new earth—a place where everything that has God’s approval lives.
14 Therefore, dear friends, with this to look forward to, make every effort to have him find you at peace, without spiritual stains or blemishes. 15 Think of our Lord’s patience as an opportunity for us to be saved. This is what our dear brother Paul wrote to you about, using the wisdom God gave him. 16 He talks about this subject in all his letters. Some things in his letters are hard to understand. Ignorant people and people who aren’t sure of what they believe distort what Paul says in his letters the same way they distort the rest of the Scriptures. These people will be destroyed.
17 Dear friends, you already know these things. So be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of people who have no principles. Then you won’t fall from your firm position. 18 But grow in the good will[b] and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to him now and for that eternal day! Amen.
129 Your written instructions are miraculous.
That is why I obey them.
130 Your word is a doorway that lets in light,
and it helps gullible people understand.
131 I open my mouth and pant
because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn toward me, and have pity on me
as you have pledged to do for those who love your name.
133 Make my steps secure through your promise,
and do not let any sin control me.
134 Save me from human oppression
so that I may obey your guiding principles.
135 Smile on me,
and teach me your laws.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because others do not follow your teachings.
137 You are righteous, O Lord,
and your regulations are fair.
138 You have issued your written instructions.
They are fair and completely dependable.
139 My devotion for your words consumes me,
because my enemies have forgotten your words.
140 Your promise has been thoroughly tested,
and I love it.
141 I am unimportant and despised,
yet I never forget your guiding principles.
142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and your teachings are reliable.
143 Trouble and hardship have found me,
but your commandments still make me happy.
144 Your written instructions are always right.
Help me understand them so that I will live.
145 I have called out with all my heart. Answer me, O Lord.
I want to obey your laws.
146 I have called out.
Save me, so that I can obey your written instructions.
147 I got up before dawn, and I cried out for help.
My hope is based on your word.
148 My eyes are wide-open throughout the nighttime hours
to reflect on your word.
149 In keeping with your mercy, hear my voice.
O Lord, give me a new life guided by your regulations.
150 Those who carry out plots against me are near,
yet they are far away from your teachings.
151 You are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are reliable.
152 Long ago I learned from your written instructions
that you made them to last forever.
21 Showing partiality is not good,
because some people will turn on you even for a piece of bread.
22 A stingy person is in a hurry to get rich,
not realizing that poverty is about to overtake him.