Daniel 3

Daniel 3

Today’s reading is the famous story of the three Hebrews and their unflinching faithfulness to God in the midst of an imminent threat of death in the fiery furnace. Most people have heard this story and it is often told in very simplistic terms. However, the principle of steadfast faithfulness in the midst of great personal threat is so pertinent to our present culture and the new of current times, that the words from today’s reading seemed to leap off of the page as I read them.

I like a paragraph from today’s reading of D. A. Carson’s devotional,

Observe: (a) Their basic courtesy and respect are undiminished, however bold their words. (b) They are completely unwilling to apologize for their stance. The wise believer never apologizes for God or for any of his attributes. (c) They do not doubt God’s ability to save them, and they say so: God is not hostage to other gods, or to human beings, emperors or otherwise. (d) But whether or not God will save them they cannot know—and the point is immaterial to their resolve. Faithfulness is not dependent upon an escape hatch. They choose faithfulness because it is the right thing to do, even if it costs them their lives.1

Personal persecution is very limited today in our country, but it seems like the potential is rising for it to become increasingly more as the days go by. Do I have the backbone to stand faithfully to any tests that I face in the future? It is a sobering and pertinent question to ask myself.

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).

Ezekiel 35 and Psalm 85


Ezekiel 35 is another chapter of condemnation of one of Israel’s neighbors. It seems out of place with the others that ended with chapter 32. Mount Seir is actually an indirect reference to Edom. Carson gives his explanation,

More importantly, of all the neighboring nations Edom was in one respect a special case. The nation of Edom was descended from Esau, and the old rivalry between Jacob and Esau was passed down into the rivalry between Israel and Edom, two nations of relatives divided by a common animus. Edom is not specifically mentioned in this chapter, of course; the reference instead is to Mount Seir (Ezekiel 35:2)—i.e., the mountain region east of the Arabah, the valley running south from the Dead Sea. There they harbored their “ancient hostility” (Ezekiel 35:5)1

It is difficult to comprehend why emnity among brothers seems so much stronger and enduring than among strangers. I think it is sad that the animosity between Jacob and Esau flowed down to the many generations of their offspring.


Psalm 85 feels like the morning after the dark night or the sunshine after the hard rain. The psalmist recounts God’s restoration after the severe judgment that Israel faced. He uses words like “restore” and “revive” to describe what is going on in the life of the nation of Israel. There are a couple of places where I again highlighted the phrase, “steadfast love”

  • Psalm 85:7
  • Psalm 85:10

This morning, I am rejoicing in the goodness and faithfulness of God. He has given restoration and shown His steadfast love. He is trustworthy and kind. He is always good. I cannot always see His hand but I know that it is always with me. Thank you, God, for loving and caring for me.

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).


Ezekiel 11 and Psalm 50

Today‘s readings are from Ezekiel 11 and Psalm 50. Ezekiel 11 is a continuation of the vision of Ezekiel that began in Ezek. 8. In Ezekiel 11, the prophet sees 25 men in Jerusalem who are deciding on a course of action as a result of the pending oppression by Babylon. It also marks the change of location for the glory of God. D. A. Carson writes,

…this glory, once associated with the temple—especially with the Most Holy Place and the ark of the covenant over which the cherubim stretched their wings—abandons the temple and hovers over the mobile throne. The same mobile throne Ezekiel had seen in Babylon is now parked by the south entrance to the temple.1

There was a false sense of security for these people, because they lived in the city of Jerusalem. They thought that God would never destroy the city and fulfill His judgment. They used the metaphor of a cauldron as the wall of protection around the city and that they were like the meat inside, safe. Instead, God would take them out of safety and put them in a place where they would face judgment.

There is a ray of hope in Ezek. 11 that begins to dimly shine. Ezek. 11:14-21, God speaks through the prophet to tell of the remnant that He would restore. He would begin by giving them a new heart of flesh after removing their hearts of stone (Ezek. 11:19). This would result in a new relationship with Him (Ezek. 11:20). Carson points out the irony of the relationship of the exiles to the Jerusalemites,

The vision of chapters 8–11 ends with Ezekiel transported back to Babylon, telling the people everything he has seen and heard. The first strands of hope in this book have been laid out, but not in the categories expected. Jerusalem will be destroyed, and God’s purposes for the future center on the exiles themselves. How often in Scripture does God effect his rescue, his salvation, through the weak and the despised!2

Psalm 50 begins with the announcement that God has come to speak. He warns His people that He doesn‘t require animals sacrifices from them. He owns everything and they cannot give Him anything that He does not already have. Instead, rather, He requires their sacrifice of faithfulness and obedience.

Faithfulness and obedience – they are two of the most basic things that I can give to God yet many times I resist. If He required something more complex, I might excuse myself by noting that those things were too difficult for me to offer or accomplish. Instead, He asks for my obedience to His Word and my faithfulness – both of these are within my ability to give every day. But in a very real sense, I am unable to be obedient and I am unable to be faithful without the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is the Spirit Who gives me the power to obey and to remain faithful each day.

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

2 Ibid.,

Ezekiel 4 and Psalm 40-41

Ezekiel 4 was an interesting read this morning. God commands Ezekiel to do several difficult things to demonstrate to the captives in Babylon that in fact, His judgment on Jerusalem is coming. D. A. Carson explains the setting:

In general terms the exiles in Babylon respond to Ezekiel the same way that the Jews in Jerusalem respond to Jeremiah: they don’t believe him. In fact, the exiles doubtless have added incentive to maintain their false hopes. As long as Jerusalem stands, they can nurture the hope that God will rescue them and bring them back home. If Jerusalem falls, there will be no “home” to which to return. One can imagine how desperately negative and even impossible Ezekiel’s warnings sound to them. But Ezekiel does not flinch. 1

The first task for Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:4-8) is to lie on his side facing north for 390 days to symbolize the judgment against the northern tribes for 390 years, then for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years of judgment against Judah. After that (Ezekiel 4:9-17), he is commanded to make bread each day from beans, lentils, etc. cooked over cow dung (to symbolize the seige conditions in Jerusalem) and eat a meager amount and drink a small amount of water.

What amazes me is the faithful obedience of this prophet. These are not easy tasks and certainly not pleasant things that God instructs Ezekiel to do. I am sure he is also feeling the pain of exile and separation from home. Yet he is faithful to God and obedient to His commands.

Psalm 40:1 – There are several things to note in verse 1:

  1. The psalmist expresses that he had to be patient
  2. The psalmist acknowledges that his pray was a cry
  3. The Lord hears the prayer/cry and inclined to the psalmist

The result of deliverance by God should always result in a testimory of His deliverance Ps. 40:3. We praise Him because of what He has done for us and because of Who He is which is revealed to us.

Ps. 40:4 – we are often faced with the choice of trusting God or turning to something else when the pressure is turned higher. This verse tells us that the choice which results in blessing is trusting God.

Ps. 40:5 – repeats the result of God’s work in my life – a testimony of praise from my mouth and my life. Again this is repeated in Ps. 40:9.

One question that I am asking myself today is whether Ps. 40:8 is truly my heart, I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart… Does my love for God trump every other desire in my heart today so that in fact, I delight in doing whatever God asks of me? Especially in light of my reading of Ezekiel 4 where God tells the prophet to do some very difficult things (from a human perspective), can I delight in God’s will whether it is easy or hard? The answer lies in the answer to the question of whether God’s law is in my heart.

Ps. 40:11 is another great promise to cling to – God will not restrain His mercy from me and His enduring love and faithfulness will always preserve me! Ps. 40:17 recognizes that I am poor and I am needy but The Lord thinks about me – even with all that He is doing, He thinks of me! He is indeed my help and He is my deliverer!

Psalm 41 is a reminder to me that even though I am needy, I must remember those around me who are also needy. When the Holy Spirit impresses someone else’s needs on my heart, I should and must be responsive.

1 Carson, D. A. For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998. Print.

Ezekiel 2 and Psalm 38

Ezekiel 2 is a relatively short chapter. My first read through it seemed a bit vanilla until I took a look at D. A. Carson’s For the Love of God Volume 2:

…success is not measured by how many people Ezekiel wins to his perspective, but by the faithfulness with which he declares God’s words. 1

How often do I approach my life with a goal of being faithful no matter what the outcome is. I realized yesterday that there are areas in my life where I need to make changes with regard to this principle. Ezekiel 2:7 says:

… you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear …

Psalm 38 seems to be a song of mourning for the psalmist’s sins. It echoes a repentant heart and pleas for God’s mercy and forgiveness as well as protection from the author’s enemies. Ps. 38:9-10 recognizes that God is not unaware of my grief and sorrow. Ps. 38:15 reminds me of yesterday’s reading where the psalmist reiterates the need for patience in the life of a believer as he/she waits for God to heal and rescue. But in spite of the recognition of the need for patience, the psalmist still cries out to God for relief and immediate intervention in Ps. 38:21-22.

That is how I feel this morning. I want to wait patiently for The Lord, but my heart longs for His intervention and rescue. I believe that is a very human perspective to God’s work in my life.

1 Carson, D. A. For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998. Print.