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Friday, September 2, 2016

What A Difference A Day Makes (2 Kings 25:27-29)

 "In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table."

No one knows exactly how long Job's suffering lasted but James uses him as an example of patience during suffering, "You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and seen the end intended by the Lord" (James 5:11). Jehoiachin, second to the last king of Israel, spent thirty-seven years behind bars (Jeremiah 32:31, 33). One day he was in prison and the next day he was elevated to a position of prominence in Babylon. One day in prison, the next in the palace.

One single day's events change everything for pampered seventeen-year-old young man named Joseph. The first day occurs when he has a life-transformational dream and shares it with his family. The second occurs when, in obedience to his dad, Joseph leaves home to check on his brothers. Those two days change and shape the remainder of his life.

Joseph spends approximately thirteen years either in slavery or behind bars. One day Pharaoh has a dream and the next day Joseph leaves prison to become Prime Minister of Egypt. The passage of one day.

David spends seventeen years shepherding his father's sheep. One day a prophet shows up and anoints him as the future king of Israel. One day his father sends him to check on his brothers. He finds, instead, Israel's terrorized army facing a giant of a man named Goliath. One slingshot, one stone, and one strike in the head of one giant changes his life.

Things are never as they seem. One day can change the entire course of a life. One event. One encounter with God. One day. Jehoiachin probably thought that he would spend the remainder of his life in prison. He became king at age eighteen, reigned three months and then was carried away to Babylon and incarcerated. One day Evil-Merodach begins his reign in Babylon and at age fifty-five Jehoiachin is set free. One day. Things are never as they appear. One day, one event often changes everything.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Daniel 4; 2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34
Earlier in his reign King Nebuchadnezzar believed that he had consolidated his kingdom by his own power and wisdom; he learned through the events in this passage that it is God who rules according to His will and uses those He chooses as His instruments.
  • Why does Nebuchadnezzar tell Daniel his dream?
  • How will the interpretation affect both the king and the prophet who explains the dream's meaning?
  • How much time passes by before the dream comes to pass and what event prompts its fulfillment?
  • How does God view proud men? (Proverbs 8:13; 16:18; 29:23) What does this tell you about man?
  • How does the seven years of living like an animal alter Nebuchadnezzar's view of God and himself?
  • Review the "two baskets of figs" analogy in Jeremiah 24:4-7. What had God promised would happen to those taken into captivity by Babylon?
  • How is Judah's king, Jehoiachin, treated in Babylon?
Daniel 7 (Daniel had been taken into exile as a sixteen year old boy 52 years earlier. Daniel has since interpreted two dreams had by Nebuchadnezzar and he now has four dreams or visions of his own (chapter 7; 8; 9:20-27; 10-12:5). This dream in chapter seven comes to Daniel when he is about 68 years old.
  • What purpose does the throne seen by Daniel serve?
  • How does the Son of Man fulfill the Psalmist's prophecy in Psalm 2:6-9?
  • What explanation was given to Daniel concerning the fourth beast?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to spiritual truth and to prepare you to live faithfully to Him during difficult days.