6/26/11

Greatness of the Greatest


This is a pool fit for a king!!!  Set in a tropical locale, adorned with palm trees, and having crystal clear waters, its beauty is enhanced by a glorious sunset!!!  Elegance defined, beauty extraordinary!!!  I can even begin to wonder what it might be like to live in such surroundings.  Yet, this does not appear to be a computer generated image and therefore SOMEBODY resides here.  Can you image the wealth and power such an individual might have?  Someone, perhaps, of the caliber of a Nebuchadnezzar?  How would such a person conceive of God and view himself?  Read on to find out...

Daniel 4:1-37 (WEB)
1) Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.
2) It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked toward me.
3) How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
4) I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.
5) I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
6) Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.
7) Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.
8) But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, saying,
9) Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.
10) Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and its height was great.
11) The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth.
12) The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all: the animals of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.
13) I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from the sky.
14) He cried aloud, and said thus, Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches.
15) Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth:
16) let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him.
17) The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men.
18) This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.
19) Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, My lord, the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries.
20) The tree that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached to the sky, and its sight to all the earth;
21) whose leaves were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all; under which the animals of the field lived, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their habitation:
22) it is you, O king, that are grown and become strong; for your greatness is grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth.
23) Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from the sky, and saying, Cut down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him;
24) this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king:
25) that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.
26) Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule.
27) Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of your tranquility.
28) All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar.
29) At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon.
30) The king spoke and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?
31) While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from the sky, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you:
32) and you shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.
33) The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair was grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
34) At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation.
35) All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or ask him, What are you doing?
36) At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me.
37) Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.

Nebuchadnezzar was a somebody; he had conquered Israel and ruled one of the most glorious empires the world has ever seen.  The hanging gardens of its capital, Babylon, were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  The wall surrounding this city was so wide that four charioteers could race abreast atop its walls.  Now, THAT is big!!!  Nebuchadnezzar had power almost beyond description and was blessed by the God of Heaven with spiritual insights though the prophet and seer, Daniel.  However, he didn't listen to the prophecies revealed through Daniel, but praised himself instead of the creator.  God humbled Nebuchadnezzar until he awoke to the reality of God's greatness as compared to his own insignificant life.  God has a way of doing things like that and the result is an example for us all to contemplate.  No matter how successful, how powerful, how marvelous we are in our own eyes, God's greatness and power dwarfs our own with an utter completeness that words cannot express.  Wow, the next time I go swimming in our community pool, I intend to thank God first before I dare to put as much as my little toe in the water.  Hey, you never know!!!!

OT Bible Reading 6/26

June 26
2 Samuel 19-21

2Sa 19:1 It was told Joab, Behold, the king weeps and mourns for Absalom.
2Sa 19:2 The victory that day was turned into mourning to all the people; for the people heard say that day, The king grieves for his son.
2Sa 19:3 The people got them by stealth that day into the city, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
2Sa 19:4 The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, my son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son!
2Sa 19:5 Joab came into the house to the king, and said, You have shamed this day the faces of all your servants, who this day have saved your life, and the lives of your sons and of your daughters, and the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines;
2Sa 19:6 in that you love those who hate you, and hate those who love you. For you have declared this day, that princes and servants are nothing to you: for this day I perceive that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased you well.
2Sa 19:7 Now therefore arise, go out, and speak to comfort your servants; for I swear by Yahweh, if you don't go out, not a man will stay with you this night: and that would be worse to you than all the evil that has happened to you from your youth until now.
2Sa 19:8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. They told to all the people, saying, Behold, the king is sitting in the gate: and all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his tent.
2Sa 19:9 All the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king delivered us out of the hand of our enemies, and he saved us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land from Absalom.
2Sa 19:10 Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why don't you speak a word of bringing the king back?
2Sa 19:11 King David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, to bring him to his house.
2Sa 19:12 You are my brothers, you are my bone and my flesh: why then are you the last to bring back the king?
2Sa 19:13 Say to Amasa, Aren't you my bone and my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if you aren't captain of the army before me continually in the room of Joab.
2Sa 19:14 He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent to the king, saying, Return, you and all your servants.
2Sa 19:15 So the king returned, and came to the Jordan. Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to bring the king over the Jordan.
2Sa 19:16 Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite, who was of Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.
2Sa 19:17 There were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went through the Jordan in the presence of the king.
2Sa 19:18 A ferry boat went to bring over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, when he was come over the Jordan.
2Sa 19:19 He said to the king, Don't let my lord impute iniquity to me, neither do you remember that which your servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
2Sa 19:20 For your servant does know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I have come this day the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.
2Sa 19:21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, Shall Shimei not be put to death for this, because he cursed Yahweh's anointed?
2Sa 19:22 David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries to me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for don't I know that I am this day king over Israel?
2Sa 19:23 The king said to Shimei, You shall not die. The king swore to him.
2Sa 19:24 Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace.
2Sa 19:25 It happened, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, Why didn't you go with me, Mephibosheth?
2Sa 19:26 He answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for your servant said, I will saddle me a donkey, that I may ride thereon, and go with the king; because your servant is lame.
2Sa 19:27 He has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in your eyes.
2Sa 19:28 For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right therefore have I yet that I should cry any more to the king?
2Sa 19:29 The king said to him, Why do you speak any more of your matters? I say, You and Ziba divide the land.
2Sa 19:30 Mephibosheth said to the king, yes, let him take all, because my lord the king is come in peace to his own house.
2Sa 19:31 Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim; and he went over the Jordan with the king, to conduct him over the Jordan.
2Sa 19:32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even eighty years old: and he had provided the king with sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.
2Sa 19:33 The king said to Barzillai, Come over with me, and I will sustain you with me in Jerusalem.
2Sa 19:34 Barzillai said to the king, How many are the days of the years of my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?
2Sa 19:35 I am this day eighty years old: can I discern between good and bad? can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king?
2Sa 19:36 Your servant would but just go over the Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
2Sa 19:37 Please let your servant turn back again, that I may die in my own city, by the grave of my father and my mother. But behold, your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good to you.
2Sa 19:38 The king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good to you: and whatever you shall require of me, that will I do for you.
2Sa 19:39 All the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over: and the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned to his own place.
2Sa 19:40 So the king went over to Gilgal, and Chimham went over with him: and all the people of Judah brought the king over, and also half the people of Israel.
2Sa 19:41 Behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king, and his household, over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?
2Sa 19:42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is a close relative to us: why then are you angry for this matter? have we eaten at all at the king's cost? or has he given us any gift?
2Sa 19:43 The men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than you: why then did you despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? The words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

2Sa 20:1 There happened to be there a base fellow, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew the trumpet, and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, Israel.
2Sa 20:2 So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah joined with their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.
2Sa 20:3 David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in custody, and provided them with sustenance, but didn't go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.
2Sa 20:4 Then said the king to Amasa, Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be here present.
2Sa 20:5 So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together; but he stayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him.
2Sa 20:6 David said to Abishai, Now will Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take your lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.
2Sa 20:7 There went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
2Sa 20:8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was girded with his apparel of war that he had put on, and thereon was a sash with a sword fastened on his waist in its sheath; and as he went forth it fell out.
2Sa 20:9 Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother? Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.
2Sa 20:10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he struck him therewith in the body, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and didn't strike him again; and he died. Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
2Sa 20:11 There stood by him one of Joab's young men, and said, He who favors Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab.
2Sa 20:12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a garment over him, when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.
2Sa 20:13 When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
2Sa 20:14 He went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth Maacah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
2Sa 20:15 They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
2Sa 20:16 Then cried a wise woman out of the city, "Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, 'Come near here, that I may speak with you.' "
2Sa 20:17 He came near to her; and the woman said, Are you Joab? He answered, I am. Then she said to him, Hear the words of your handmaid. He answered, I do hear.
2Sa 20:18 Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.
2Sa 20:19 I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel: you seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why will you swallow up the inheritance of Yahweh?
2Sa 20:20 Joab answered, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
2Sa 20:21 The matter is not so: but a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, even against David; deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. The woman said to Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.
2Sa 20:22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. He blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.
2Sa 20:23 Now Joab was over all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites;
2Sa 20:24 and Adoram was over the men subject to forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder;
2Sa 20:25 and Sheva was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests;
2Sa 20:26 and also Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.
2Sa 21:1 There was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Yahweh. Yahweh said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.
2Sa 21:2 The king called the Gibeonites, and said to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn to them: and Saul sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah);
2Sa 21:3 and David said to the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of Yahweh?
2Sa 21:4 The Gibeonites said to him, It is no matter of silver or gold between us and Saul, or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel. He said, What you shall say, that will I do for you.
2Sa 21:5 They said to the king, The man who consumed us, and who devised against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the borders of Israel,
2Sa 21:6 let seven men of his sons be delivered to us, and we will hang them up to Yahweh in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of Yahweh. The king said, I will give them.
2Sa 21:7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of Yahweh's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
2Sa 21:8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
2Sa 21:9 He delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before Yahweh, and they fell all seven together. They were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, at the beginning of barley harvest.
2Sa 21:10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water was poured on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day, nor the animals of the field by night.
2Sa 21:11 It was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
2Sa 21:12 David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh Gilead, who had stolen them from the street of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, in the day that the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa;
2Sa 21:13 and he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son: and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged.
2Sa 21:14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. After that God was entreated for the land.
2Sa 21:15 The Philistines had war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines. David grew faint;
2Sa 21:16 and Ishbibenob, who was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.
2Sa 21:17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, You shall go no more out with us to battle, that you don't quench the lamp of Israel.
2Sa 21:18 It came to pass after this, that there was again war with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was of the sons of the giant.
2Sa 21:19 There was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite's brother, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.
2Sa 21:20 There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
2Sa 21:21 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, killed him.
2Sa 21:22 These four were born to the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

NT Bible Reading 6/26, 6/27

Jun. 26, 27
Acts 1

Act 1:1 The first book I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,
Act 1:2 until the day in which he was received up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
Act 1:3 To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God's Kingdom.
Act 1:4 Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, "Don't depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me.
Act 1:5 For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
Act 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
Act 1:7 He said to them, "It isn't for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.
Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth."
Act 1:9 When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10 While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing,
Act 1:11 who also said, "You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky."
Act 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.
Act 1:13 When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
Act 1:14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Act 1:15 In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (and the number of names was about one hundred twenty), and said,
Act 1:16 "Brothers, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus.
Act 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry.
Act 1:18 Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out.
Act 1:19 It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that in their language that field was called 'Akeldama,' that is, 'The field of blood.'
Act 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be made desolate. Let no one dwell therein;' and, 'Let another take his office.'
Act 1:21 "Of the men therefore who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22 beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
Act 1:23 They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Act 1:24 They prayed, and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen
Act 1:25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place."
Act 1:26 They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.