Old Testament reading: Daniel 3
Of all the accounts in the Old Testament, this one remains an all-time favorite for me to this day (FYI – as of this writing, I am 48). There are a number of reasons for my love for this text. First, I love how the Bible shows the propensity of man to forget God. I love this not because it happens, but because it serves to warn me. I am intrigued as to how the king could do such a thing after his earlier encounter with Daniel. Apparently, it didn’t make as lasting an impression as one might think. Second, I love the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Not only were they unwilling to compromise their faith in bowing down, they were “not careful to answer” the king in this matter (KJV). In our modern vernacular, they said to the most powerful man on the planet, “King, this one is a no brainer. Our God is able to deliver us from your hand. But even should He choose not to do so, we will not worship your idol.” What faith! What conviction! What courage! One question I have that will likely never be answered this side of eternity is, “Where was Daniel in all of this?”. Some have speculated that Daniel was off in some other portion of the kingdom doing the king’s business. Others think that Daniel was not subject to the command as he “sat in the gate of the king” (2:49). I am inclined to believe the former explanation, as the latter doesn’t explain why Daniel didn’t speak to or try to persuade the king. Oh well. I know the most important part of this account, and that’s what counts!
New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 1-2
“Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this text read or quoted at funerals or in sermons in an attempt to describe the beauty and glory of heaven. There’s only one problem… This text has absolutely nothing to do with heaven! The quote is from Isaiah 64 and speaks to God’s plan to save man through Jesus and the gospel (see 1 Cor 2:7-8). Note also that in verse 10, the things neither seen nor heard nor entering into men’s hearts has been revealed to us by God through the Holy Spirit! So they are no longer hidden, but made manifest to all (cf Eph 3:8-11).