Daniel 2:24-3:30; 1 Peter 4:7-5:14; Psalms 119:81-96; Proverbs 28:15-16 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy Babylon’s wise advisers. Daniel told him, “Don’t destroy Babylon’s wise advisers. Take me to the king, and I’ll explain the dream’s meaning to him.”
25 Arioch immediately took Daniel to the king. He told the king, “I’ve found one of the captives from Judah who can explain the dream’s meaning to you, Your Majesty.”
26 The king asked Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar), “Can you tell me the dream I had and its meaning?”
27 Daniel answered the king, “No wise adviser, psychic, magician, or fortuneteller can tell the king this secret. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. He will tell King Nebuchadnezzar what is going to happen in the days to come. This is your dream, the vision you had while you were asleep: 29 Your Majesty, while you were lying in bed, thoughts about what would happen in the future came to you. The one who reveals secrets told you what is going to happen. 30 This secret wasn’t revealed to me because I’m wiser than anyone else. It was revealed so that you could be told the meaning and so that you would know your innermost thoughts.
31 “Your Majesty, you had a vision. You saw a large statue. This statue was very bright. It stood in front of you, and it looked terrifying. 32 The head of this statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were made of silver. Its stomach and hips were made of bronze. 33 Its legs were made of iron. Its feet were made partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 While you were watching, a stone was cut out, but not by humans. It struck the statue’s iron-and-clay feet and smashed them. 35 Then all at once, the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were smashed. They became like husks on a threshing floor[a] in summer. The wind carried them away, and not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain which filled the whole world. 36 This is the dream. Now we’ll tell you its meaning.
37 “Your Majesty, you are the greatest king. The God of heaven has given you a kingdom. He has given you power, strength, and honor. 38 He has given you control over people, wild animals, and birds, wherever they live. He has made you ruler of them all. You are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to power after you. Then there will be a third kingdom, a kingdom of bronze, that will rule the whole world. 40 There will also be a fourth kingdom. It will be as strong as iron. (Iron smashes and shatters everything.) As iron crushes things, this fourth kingdom will smash and crush all the other kingdoms. 41 You also saw the feet and toes. They were partly potters’ clay and partly iron. This means that there will be a divided kingdom which has some of the firmness of iron. As you saw, iron was mixed with clay. 42 The toes were partly iron and partly clay. Part of the kingdom will be strong, and part will be brittle. 43 As you saw, iron was mixed with clay. So the two parts of the kingdom will mix by intermarrying, but they will not hold together any more than iron can mix with clay.
44 “At the time of those kings, the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed. No other people will be permitted to rule it. It will smash all the other kingdoms and put an end to them. But it will be established forever. 45 This is the stone that you saw cut out from a mountain, but not by humans. It smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God has told you what will happen in the future, Your Majesty. The dream is true, and you can trust that this is its meaning.”
46 King Nebuchadnezzar immediately bowed down on the ground in front of Daniel. He ordered that gifts and offerings be given to Daniel. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Your God is truly the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings. He can reveal secrets because you were able to reveal this secret.”
48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many wonderful gifts. Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel governor of the whole province of Babylon and head of all Babylon’s wise advisers. 49 With the king’s permission, Daniel appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to govern the province of Babylon. But Daniel stayed at the king’s court.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Refuse to Worship an Idol
3 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. He set it up in a recessed area in the wall[b] in the province of Babylon. 2 King Nebuchadnezzar sent messengers to assemble the satraps, governors, mayors, military advisers, treasurers, judges, officers, and all the other provincial officials to dedicate the statue he had set up. 3 Then the satraps, governors, mayors, military advisers, treasurers, judges, officers, and all the other provincial officials assembled to dedicate the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They stood in front of the statue.
4 The herald called out loudly, “People of every province, nation, and language! 5 When you hear the sound of rams’ horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever doesn’t bow down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 As soon as they heard the sound of rams’ horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps with all other kinds of instruments, all the people from every province, nation, and language bowed down and worshiped the gold statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 After that happened, some astrologers came forward and brought charges against the Jews. 9 They addressed King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! 10 Your Majesty, you gave an order that everyone who hears the sound of rams’ horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments should bow down and worship the gold statue. 11 Your order said that whoever doesn’t bow down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you appointed to govern the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men didn’t obey your order, Your Majesty. They don’t honor your gods or worship the statue that you set up.”
13 Then, in a fit of rage and anger, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Immediately, they were brought to the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t honor my gods or worship the gold statue that I set up? 15 When you hear the sound of the rams’ horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, will you bow down and worship the gold statue I made? If you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. What god can save you from my power then?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “We don’t need to answer your last question. 17 If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. 18 But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up.”
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with anger toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face turned red. He ordered that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than normal. 20 He told some soldiers from his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego so that they could be thrown into the blazing furnace. 21 Then the three men were thrown into the blazing furnace. They were wearing their clothes, hats, and other clothing. 22 The king’s order was so urgent and the furnace was so extremely hot that the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed by the flames from the fire. 23 So these three men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—fell into the blazing furnace. They were still tied up.
24 Then Nebuchadnezzar was startled. He sprang to his feet. He asked his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men into the fire?”
“That’s true, Your Majesty,” they answered.
25 The king replied, “But look, I see four men. They’re untied, walking in the middle of the fire, and unharmed. The fourth one looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the blazing furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—servants of the Most High God—come out here.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 The king’s satraps, governors, mayors, and advisers gathered around the three men. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. The hair on their heads wasn’t singed, their clothes weren’t burned, and they didn’t smell of smoke.
28 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He sent his angel and saved his servants, who trusted him. They disobeyed the king and risked their lives so that they would not have to honor or worship any god except their own God. 29 So I order that people from every province, nation, or language who say anything slanderous about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb. Their houses will be turned into piles of rubble. No other god can rescue like this.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in the province of Babylon.
1 Peter 4:7-5:14
7 The end of everything is near. Therefore, practice self-control, and keep your minds clear so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other warmly, because love covers many sins. 9 Welcome each other as guests without complaining. 10 Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others. 11 Whoever speaks must speak God’s words. Whoever serves must serve with the strength God supplies so that in every way God receives glory through Jesus Christ. Glory and power belong to Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.
Share Christ’s Sufferings
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised by the fiery troubles that are coming in order to test you. Don’t feel as though something strange is happening to you, 13 but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory—the Spirit of God—is resting on you.
15 If you suffer, you shouldn’t suffer for being a murderer, thief, criminal, or troublemaker. 16 If you suffer for being a Christian, don’t feel ashamed, but praise God for being called that name. 17 The time has come for the judgment to begin, and it will begin with God’s family. If it starts with us, what will be the end for those who refuse to obey the Good News of God? 18 If it’s hard for the person who has God’s approval to be saved, what will happen to the godless sinner? 19 Those who suffer because that is God’s will for them must entrust themselves to a faithful creator and continue to do what is good.
Instructions for Spiritual Leaders
5 I appeal to your spiritual leaders.[a] I make this appeal as a spiritual leader who also witnessed Christ’s sufferings and will share in the glory that will be revealed. 2 Be shepherds over the flock God has entrusted to you. Watch over it as God does: Don’t do this because you have to, but because you want to. Don’t do it out of greed, but out of a desire to serve. 3 Don’t be rulers over the people entrusted to you, but be examples for the flock to follow. 4 Then, when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Instructions for Christians
5 Young people, in a similar way, place yourselves under the authority of spiritual leaders.
Furthermore, all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble. 6 Be humbled by God’s power so that when the right time comes he will honor you.
7 Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you. 8 Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. 9 Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering. 10 God, who shows you his kindness[b] and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while. 11 Power belongs to him forever. Amen.
12 I’ve written this short letter to you and I’m sending it by Silvanus, whom I regard as a faithful brother. I’ve written to encourage you and to testify that this is God’s genuine good will.[c] Remain firmly established in it!
13 Your sister church in Babylon, chosen by God, and my son Mark send you greetings. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
81 My soul is weak from waiting for you to save me.
My hope is based on your word.
82 My eyes have become strained from looking for your promise.
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 Although I have become like a shriveled and dried out wineskin,
I have not forgotten your laws.
84 What is left of my life?
When will you bring those who persecute me to justice?
85 Arrogant people have dug pits to trap me
in defiance of your teachings.
86 (All your commandments are reliable.)
Those people persecute me with lies. Help me!
87 They almost wiped me off the face of the earth.
But I did not abandon your guiding principles.
88 Give me a new life through your mercy
so that I may obey the written instructions,
which came from your mouth.
89 O Lord, your word is established in heaven forever.
90 Your faithfulness endures throughout every generation.
You set the earth in place, and it continues to stand.
91 All things continue to stand today because of your regulations,
since they are all your servants.
92 If your teachings had not made me happy,
then I would have died in my misery.
93 I will never forget your guiding principles,
because you gave me a new life through them.
94 I am yours.
Save me, because I have searched for your guiding principles.
95 The wicked people have waited for me in order to destroy me,
yet I want to understand your written instructions.
96 I have seen a limit to everything else,
but your commandments have no limit.
15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear,
so a wicked ruler is a threat to poor people.
16 A leader without understanding taxes his people heavily,
but those who hate unjust gain will live longer.