Friday, January 31, 2020

January 25-31
Daniel 4: From Pride to Humility

That god of Daniel's is really beginning to get on my nerves.

I mean, I've already conquered him -- right? Conquered him, destroyed his temple, killed a bunch of his priests . . . and if there was an idol of him, then I would have brought it back with me to Babylon. 

No, I conquered Daniel's god -- conquered him just like I did all the other gods.

Trouble is, Daniel's god doesn't stay conquered.

No, first there's that thing with the food -- that thing that means he's still keeping an eye on his people.

Then there's that thing with the dream -- that thing that means he's keeping an eye on me!

And the furnace -- don't get me started on the furnace! If I can't count on people's loyalty, after all, then I'm Nebuchadnezzar the Nothing . . . 

But now Daniel's god is taking an interest in me -- says I'm supposed to do what he says; yes, he says I'm supposed to be Nebuchadnezzar the Nice!

And yes, that irritates me.

It's bad enough that he's Daniel's god, after all.

But now he wants to be the god of me!

For more on this topic, go here:

Friday, January 24, 2020

January 18-24
Daniel 3: From Furnace to Palace

Yes, I'd like to stand with you . . . 

But it's complicated.

I mean, I've got a lot of people who depend on me: people who need me; people who look to me for guidance, people who would be in all kinds of trouble if I wasn't there for them.

In fact, it would be downright selfish of me to leave them in the lurch -- to leave them in the lurch just because of my private beliefs about religion.

And yes, the people who really know me all know what I really believe.

What's more, God knows my heart -- yes, God understands why I'm bowing down to that statue . . .  

And if God understands, then why don't you?

For more on this lesson, go to:

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 11-17
Daniel 2: From Mystery to Revelation

Just for once, it was nice to be in charge.

To you, after all, I am "Nebuchadnezzar -- destroy of nations, King of Babylon, and ruler of the whole stinking universe." 

But when the magi show up, they act like I'm just another shlubby -- just another peasant who's ticked-off the gods.

That's why it was so nice to see them sweat -- to see them realize that I was in charge after all.

Yes, it was nice while it lasted . . . 

Right up until four of them spoke up.

The good news: they told me what I'd dreamt.

The bad news: they told me what it meant . . .

And it turns out that I'm not in charge, after all.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

January 4-10
Daniel: from Jerusalem to Babylon

It's not often you get a "win-win" deal like this.

I mean, we're always getting kids with funny ideas — I remember one, for instance, who refused to wear the color blue . . . 

So when a new shipment shows up, I’m not surprised when four of them tell me they’ve got problems with our food; it happens all the time, right?

And like always, I tell them that making my life more difficult is not a good idea . . . 

But these four — they surprise me. Yeah, they offer me a deal: they say they’ll gladly eat the cheap stuff. The rabbit-food. The junk we use to “dress up” the main-dish . . . 

And me? I get to decide if they’re going to keep eating the cheap stuff.

So I’ll bet you’re wondering what’s happened to all the really expensive stuff — all the really expensive food they’re not getting anymore?

Well . . . like I said, it’s a “win-win” deal!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

December 28 - January 3
From Reading to Understanding

The Book of Daniel is for losers.

It's the stories, remember, of people taken hostage — taken hostage, and forced to serve an empire where nothing is safe:
  • Not the king of your country.
  • Not the Temple of your God.
  • And no, not even your name — not if the empire wants it changed.
In short, it's a book about people who seem to have lost all control of their lives . . . 

And you know what we call those kind of people.

If you really want to understand the Book of Daniel, in other words, then you can’t read it in a place where you feel safe and secure — in your favorite chair, perhaps, or the sanctuary of a church.

No, you need to read it while you’re waiting trial . . . 

Or hear it late at night, when most of the guards are asleep . . . 

Or remember it when they offer you a way “to make all this a little easier.”

You see, it’s times like these that you learn just what Daniel was facing.

And it’s times like these that you need the message of Daniel — the message that losers can outlast an empire.