Daniel 1-3; Psalm 88; John 17
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.
Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility,
youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.
Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah.
And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,
and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ”I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
‘Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.
At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food.
So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king.
And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.
And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.
Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.
And the king said to them, ”I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”
Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, ”O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, ”The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins.
But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”
They answered a second time and said, ”Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.”
The king answered and said, ”I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm–
if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.”
The Chaldeans answered the king and said, ”There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.
The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.
So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon.
He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, ”Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel.
And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.
Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,
and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel answered and said: ”Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him, ”Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”
Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: ”I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.”
The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ”Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?”
Daniel answered the king and said, ”No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked,
but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:
To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be.
But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.
‘You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening.
The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze,
its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
‘This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation.
You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,
and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all–you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.
And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay.
And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.
As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.
The king answered and said to Daniel, ”Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
And the herald proclaimed aloud, ”You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,
that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”
Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.
They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, ”O king, live forever!
You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image.
And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace.
There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, ”Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?
Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ”O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.
And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.
Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ”Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, ”True, O king.”
He answered and said, ”But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, ”Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.
And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ”Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah
You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ”Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
‘I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.
For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
‘I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
The reading plan I’ve chosen is from Bible Class Material and it’s a 5 day plan, with weekend days to catch up or get ahead or just take a break!