Day 240 – Remaining Humble

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we are reminded in Proverbs that everything we do we should do for God. We are also told in Jeremiah that God is near and not just watching at some far along place. We should not take the name of the Lorn in vain. We should not use God’s name carelessly and we should never do anything in the Lord’s name that he does not want us to do.

In Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled before the Lord and his power is removed so he can see that the Lord is the one true God. The handwriting on the wall says that Nabuchadnessar will be succeeded by Persians and we will have a transition from Babylon to Persia.

Even though the world around us is changing daily — culture, politics, world events, etc. — the Lord remains forever. We should humble ourselves before God and seek his love and serve him in all things.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 23

1 ‘Disaster for the shepherds who lose and scatter the sheep of my pasture, Yahweh declares.

2 This, therefore, is what Yahweh, God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd my people, “You have scattered my flock, you have driven them away and have not taken care of them. Right, I shall take care of you for your misdeeds, Yahweh declares!

3 But the remnant of my flock I myself shall gather from all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; they will be fruitful and increase in numbers.

4 For them I shall raise up shepherds to shepherd them and pasture them. No fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost, Yahweh declares!

5 Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall raise an upright Branch for David; he will reign as king and be wise, doing what is just and upright in the country.

6 In his days Judah will triumph and Israel live in safety. And this is the name he will be called, ‘Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice.’ “

7 ‘So, look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when people will no longer say, “As Yahweh lives who brought the Israelites out of Egypt,”

8 but, “As Yahweh lives who led back and brought home the offspring of the House of Israel from the land of the north and all the countries to which he had driven them, to live on their own soil.” ‘

9 On the prophets. My heart is broken within me, I tremble in all my bones; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome with wine, because of Yahweh and his holy words:

10 ‘For the country is full of adulterers; yes, because of a curse, the country is in mourning and the pasturage in the desert has dried up; they are prompt to do wrong, make no effort to do right.

11 Yes, even prophet and priest are godless, I have detected their wickedness in my own House, Yahweh declares.

12 Because of this, their way will prove treacherous going for them; in the darkness where they are driven, there they will fall. For I shall bring disaster on them, when the year for punishing them comes, Yahweh declares.

13 ‘In the prophets of Samaria I have seen insanity: they prophesied in the name of Baal and led my people Israel astray.

14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: adultery, persistent lying, such abetting of the wicked that no one renounces his wickedness. To me they are all like Sodom and its inhabitants are like Gomorrah.

15 So this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says about the prophets, “Now I shall give them wormwood to eat and make them drink poisoned water, since from the prophets of Jerusalem godlessness has spread throughout the land.”

16 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this, “Do not listen to what those prophets prophesy to you; they are deluding you, they retail visions of their own, and not what comes from Yahweh’s mouth.

17 To those who despise me, they keep saying: Yahweh has spoken: you will have peace! and to all who follow their own stubborn inclinations: No disaster will touch you.”

18 But who has been present in Yahweh’s council and seen, and heard his word? Who has paid attention to his word and listened to it?

19 Look, Yahweh’s hurricane, his wrath, bursts out, a fearsome hurricane, to burst on the heads of the wicked;

20 Yahweh’s anger will not withdraw until he has performed, has carried out, what he has in mind. In the final days, you will understand this clearly,

21 ‘I did not send these prophets, yet they ran! I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied!

22 Had they been present in my council, they could have proclaimed my words to my people and turned them from their evil way and from the wickedness of their deeds!

23 ‘Am I a God when near, Yahweh demands, and not a God when far away?

24 Can anyone hide somewhere secret without my seeing him? Yahweh demands. Do I not fill heaven and earth? Yahweh demands.

25 ‘I have heard what the prophets say who make their lying prophecies in my name. “I have had a dream,” they say, “I have had a dream!”

26 How long are there to be those among the prophets who prophesy lies and are in fact prophets of their own delusions?

27 They are doing their best, by means of the dreams that they keep telling each other, to make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name in favour of Baal.

28 Let the prophet who has had a dream tell it for a dream! And let him who receives a word from me, deliver my word accurately! ‘What have straw and wheat in common? Yahweh demands.

29 Is my word not like fire, Yahweh demands, is it not like a hammer shattering a rock?

30 ‘So, then, I have a quarrel with the prophets, Yahweh declares, that steal my words from one another.

31 I have a quarrel with the prophets, Yahweh declares, who wag their tongues to utter prophecies.

32 I have a quarrel with the prophets who make prophecies out of lying dreams, Yahweh declares, who recount them, and lead my people astray by their lies and their bragging. I certainly never sent them or commissioned them, and they serve no good purpose for this people, Yahweh declares.

33 ‘And when this people, or a prophet, or a priest, asks you, “What is Yahweh’s burden?” you must answer, “You are the burden, and I shall get rid of you, Yahweh declares!”

34 ‘As for the prophet, the priest, or anyone else, who says, “Yahweh’s burden”, I shall punish that man, and his household too.

35 This is what you must say to one another, among yourselves, “What answer has Yahweh given?” or “What has Yahweh said?”

36 But stop using the expression “Yahweh’s burden”, for what each man says will be his own responsibility. And you twist the words of the living God, of Yahweh Sabaoth, our God.

37 This is the way to speak to a prophet, “What answer has Yahweh given?” or “What has Yahweh said?”

38 But if you say, “Yahweh’s burden”, then Yahweh says this, “Since you use the expression ‘Yahweh’s burden’, when I have warned you to stop saying, ‘Yahweh’s burden’,

39 believe me, I shall pick you up and fling you from my presence, you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors.

40 I shall bring down everlasting shame on you, everlasting and unforgettable disgrace.” ‘

Daniel 4

1 ‘I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living comfortably in my house, prosperously in my palace.

2 I had a dream; it appalled me. Dread assailed me as I lay in bed; the visions that passed through my head tormented me.

3 So I decreed that all the sages of Babylon be summoned to explain to me what the dream meant.

4 Magicians, soothsayers, Chaldaeans and exorcists came, and I told them what I had dreamt, but they could not interpret it for me.

5 Daniel, renamed Belteshazzar after my own god, and in whom the spirit of the holy gods resides, then came into my presence. I told him my dream:

6 ‘ “Belteshazzar, chief of magicians,” I said, “I know that the spirit of the holy gods resides in you and that no mystery puts you at a loss. This is the dream I have had; tell me what it means.

7 ‘ “The visions that passed through my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw a tree in the middle of the world; it was very tall.

8 The tree grew taller and stronger, until its top reached the sky and it could be seen from the very ends of the earth.

9 Its foliage was beautiful, its fruit abundant, in it was food for all. For the wild animals it provided shade, the birds of heaven nested in its branches, all living creatures found their food on it.

10 ‘ “I watched the visions passing through my head as I lay in bed: Next, a Watchful One, a holy one, came down from heaven.

11 At the top of his voice he shouted: Cut the tree down, lop off its branches, strip off its leaves, throw away its fruit; let the animals flee from its shelter and the birds from its branches.

12 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, bound with hoops of iron and bronze, in the grass of the countryside. Let it be drenched by the dew of heaven and have its lot with the animals, eating grass!

13 Let it cease to have a human heart, and be given the heart of a beast, and seven times shall pass over him!

14 Such is the sentence proclaimed by the Watchers, the verdict announced by the holy ones- so that every living thing may learn that the Most High rules over human sovereignty; he confers it on whom he pleases, and raises the lowest of humankind.

15 ‘ “This was the dream I had-I, Nebuchadnezzar the king. Now it is for you, Belteshazzar, to pronounce on its meaning, since not one of the sages in my kingdom has been able to interpret it for me; you, however, can do so, since the spirit of the holy gods resides in you.”‘

16 Daniel, known as Belteshazzar, was confused for a time and upset. The king said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not be upset at the dream and its meaning.’ Belteshazzar answered, ‘My lord, may the dream apply to those who hate you, and its meaning to your foes!

17 The tree you saw, so large and strong and tall that it reached the sky and could be seen throughout the world,

18 the tree with beautiful foliage and abundant fruit, with food for all in it, providing shade for the wild animals, with the birds of heavennesting in its branches:

19 that tree is yourself, Your Majesty, for you have grown great and strong; your stature is now so great that it reaches the sky, and your empire extends to the ends of the earth.

20 ‘And the Watchful One seen by the king, the holy one coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave stump and roots in the ground, bound with hoops of iron and bronze in the grass of the countryside; let it be drenched by the dew and have its lot with the wild animals until seven times have passed over”:

21 the meaning of this, Your Majesty, the verdict of the Most High passed on my lord the king, is this:

22 You will be driven from human society and will make your home with the wild animals, you will feed on grass, as oxen do, you will be drenched by the dew of heaven; seven times will pass over you until you have learnt that the Most High rules over human sovereignty and confers it on whom he pleases.

23 ‘And the order, “Leave the stump and roots of the tree”, means that your kingdom will be kept for you until you come to understand that Heaven rules all.

24 May it please the king to accept my advice: by upright actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.’

25 This all happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.

26 At the end of twelve months, while strolling on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon,

27 the king was saying, ‘Great Babylon! Was it not built by me as a royal residence, by the force of my might and for the majesty of my glory?’

28 The words were not out of his mouth when a voice came down from heaven: ‘Of you, King Nebuchadnezzar, it is decreed: the empire has been taken from you,

29 you will be driven from human society and will make your home with the wild animals; you will feed on grass, as oxen do, and seven times will pass over you until you have learnt that the Most High rules over human sovereignty and gives it to whom he pleases.’

30 The words were immediately fulfilled: Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society and ate grass as oxen do; he was drenched by the dew of heaven; his hair grew like an eagle’s feathers, and his nails became like a bird’s talons.

31 ‘When the time was over, I, Nebuchad- nezzar, raised my eyes to heaven: my reason returned. And I blessed the Most High, praising and glorifying him who lives for ever, for his empire is an everlasting empire, his kingship endures, age after age.

32 All who dwell on earth count for nothing; as he thinks fit, he disposes the army of heaven and those who dwell on earth. No one can arrest his hand or ask him, “What have you done?”

33 ‘At that moment my reason returned and, for the honour of my royal state, my glory and splendour returned too. My counsellors and noblemen acclaimed me; I was restored to my throne, and to my past greatness even more was added.

34 And now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, extol and glorify the King of heaven, all of whose deeds are true, all of whose ways are right, and who can humble those who walk in pride.’

Daniel 5

1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen, a thousand of them, and, in the presence of this thousand, he drank his wine.

2 Having tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave orders for the gold and silver vessels to be brought which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the sanctuary in Jerusalem, so that the king, his noblemen, his wives and the women who sang for him could drink out of them.

3 The gold and silver vessels taken from the sanctuary of the Temple of God in Jerusalem were brought in, and the king, his noblemen, his wives and the women who sang for him drank out of them.

4 They drank their wine and praised their idols of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone.

5 Suddenly, the fingers of a human hand appeared and began to write on the plaster of the palace wall, directly behind the lamp-stand; and the king could see the hand as it wrote.

6 The king turned pale with alarm: his hip-joints went slack and his knees began to knock.

7 He shouted for his soothsayers, Chaldaeans, and exorcists. And the king said to the Babylonian sages, ‘Anyone who can read this writing and tell me what it means shall be dressed in purple, and have a chain of gold put round his neck, and be one of the three men who govern the kingdom.’

8 The king’s sages all crowded forward, but they could neither read the writing nor explain to the king what it meant.

9 Greatly alarmed, King Belshazzar turned even paler, and his noblemen were equally disturbed.

10 Then the queen, attracted by the noise made by the king and his noblemen, came into the banqueting hall. ‘May Your Majesty live for ever!’ said the queen. ‘Do not be alarmed, do not look so pale.

11 In your kingdom there is a man in whom lives the spirit of the holy gods. In your father’s days he was known for a perception, intelligence and wisdom comparable to that of the gods. King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him head of the magicians, soothsayers, Chaldaeans and exorcists. 

12 Since this man Daniel, whom the king had renamed Belteshazzar, is filled with such a marvellous spirit and such knowledge and intelligence in interpreting dreams, solving enigmas and unravelling difficult problems, send for him; he will be able to tell you what this means.’

13 Daniel was brought into the king’s presence; the king said to Daniel, ‘Are you the Daniel who was one of the Judaean exiles brought by my father the king from Judah?

14 I am told that the spirit of the gods lives in you, and that you are known for your perception, intelligence and marvellous wisdom.

15 The sages and soothsayers have already been brought to me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they have been unable to reveal its meaning.

16 I am told that you are able to give interpretations and to unravel difficult problems, so if you can read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be dressed in purple, and have a chain of gold put round your neck, and be one of the three men who govern the kingdom.’

17 Then Daniel spoke up in the presence of the king. ‘Keep your gifts for yourself,’ he said, ‘and give your rewards to others! I can certainly read the writing to the king and tell him what it means.

18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father sovereignty, greatness, majesty and glory.

19 He made him so great that all peoples, nations and languages shook with dread before him: he killed whom he pleased, spared whom he pleased, promoted whom he pleased, degraded whom he pleased.

20 But because his heart grew swollen with pride, and his spirit stiff with arrogance, he was deposed from his sovereign throne and stripped of his glory.

21 He was driven from human society, his heart was more like an animal’s than a man’s; he lived with the wild donkeys; he fed on grass like oxen; his body was drenched by the dew of heaven, until he had learnt that the Most High rules over human sovereignty and appoints whom he pleases to rule it. 

22 But you, Belshazzar, who are his son, you have not humbled your heart, in spite of knowing all this.

23 You have defied the Lord of heaven, you have had the vessels from his Temple brought to you, and you, your noblemen, your wives and the women singing for you have drunk your wine out of them. You have praised gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone, which can neither see, hear nor understand; but you have given no glory to the God in whose hands are your breath itself and all your fortunes.

24 That is why he has sent the hand which has written these words.

25 The writing reads: mene, mene, teqel and parsin.

26 The meaning of the words is this: mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it;

27 teqel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting;

28 parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.’

29 At Belshazzar’s order Daniel was dressed in purple, a chain of gold was put round his neck and he was proclaimed as one of the three men who governed the kingdom.

30 That same night, the Chaldaean king Belshazzar was murdered,

Proverbs 16:1-4

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for learning what wisdom and discipline are, for understanding words of deep meaning,

3 for acquiring a disciplined insight, uprightness, justice and fair dealing;

4 for teaching sound judgement to the simple, and knowledge and reflection to the young;

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