Understanding with the Heart

READ : Hosea 1-5 Hosea is the first of the twelve minor prophets. They are called “minor,” not that they are unimportant, but because they wrote short books compared to the longer ones we have been studying. God’s heart was broken by the unfaithfulness of Israel. How could he prepare a prophet to describe how he felt? God used a drastic method. He commanded Hosea to marry a wife who would prove unfaithful, leaving him to become a prostitute. As …

Caught in the Middle

READ : Daniel 10-12 Daniel is given a revelation of what will happen during the period between the Old and New Testaments, when the Greek empire will break into four parts. One part would be centered in Syria (the kings of the north) and the other in Egypt (the kings of the south). The Jews would be caught in the middle, first ruled by the Egyptian Ptolemies, then by the Syrian Seleucids. One of the Syrian rulers, Antiochus Epiphanes, would …

Visions of the Future

READ : Daniel 7-9 The rest of Daniel consists of the records of visions Daniel had. The first pictures four beasts apparently symbolizing the same empires as were represented in the image made of various metals: Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. But as in the book of Revelation, which takes much of its symbolism from Daniel, there is not only the earthly scene where God’s people are in trouble, but also the heavenly scene where God rules. God is described …

Weighed in the Balances

READ : Daniel 5-6 This section contains two stories which are both great literature and powerful lessons to us. Both show the sovereignty of the God whom we serve and therefore challenge us to be faithful and courageous. The Babylonian king Belshazzar throws a drinking party for 1,000 of his officials. He gets the drunken idea that it would be fun to use the sacred vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem as drinking mugs. Suddenly handwriting appears on the …

Faith and Courage

READ : Daniel 3-4 True faith produces courage. If we really believe that God will take care of us, we need not be afraid. The story of the three friends of Daniel is given to us as an example of that truth. Nebuchadnezzar built a 90-foot image of gold. Calling all government officials to him, he demanded that they bow before it. If not, they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. The three friends of Daniel refused to do …