Day 245 – The Faithfulness of Daniel

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read that God will bring his people back from exile to the land of Israel but each person will be responsible for their own conduct. God further promises to make a new covenant with Israel and it will be unlike the other covenants of Moses.

In Daniel today we see Daniel and the priests in the lion’s den. Daniel’s conduct is a model for how Israel how they should live in exile. Even if it costs them everything, they must remain faithful to the one true God. Daniel reminds us that we do not have to be afraid in exile and Jeremiah tells us that there will be a day we don’t have to be afraid again.

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 31

1 When that time comes, Yahweh declares, I shall be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.

2 Yahweh says this: They have found pardon in the desert, those who have survived the sword. Israel is marching to his rest.

3 Yahweh has appeared to me from afar; I have loved you with an everlasting love and so I still maintain my faithful love for you.

4 I shall build you once more, yes, you will be rebuilt, Virgin of Israel! Once more in your best attire, and with your tambourines, you willgo out dancing gaily.

5 Once more you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria (those who plant will themselves enjoy the fruit).

6 Yes, a day will come when the watchmen shout on the mountains of Ephraim, ‘Up! Let us go up to Zion, to Yahweh our God!’

7 For Yahweh says this: Shout with joy for Jacob! Hail the chief of nations! Proclaim! Praise! Shout, ‘Yahweh has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!’

8 Watch, I shall bring them back from the land of the north and gather them in from the far ends of the earth. With them, the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labour, all together: a mighty throng will return here!

9 In tears they will return, in prayer I shall lead them. I shall guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born son.

10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the farthest coasts and islands proclaim it, say, ‘He who scattered Israel is gathering him, will guard him as a shepherd guarding his flock.’

11 For Yahweh has ransomed Jacob, rescued him from a hand stronger than his own.

12 They will come, shouting for joy on the heights of Zion, thronging towards Yahweh’s lavish gifts, for wheat, new wine and oil, sheep and cattle; they will be like a well-watered garden, they will sorrow no more.

13 The young girl will then take pleasure in the dance, and young men and old alike; I shall change their mourning into gladness, comfort them, give them joy after their troubles;

14 I shall refresh my priests with rich food, and my people will gorge themselves on my lavish gifts, Yahweh declares.

15 Yahweh says this: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.

16 Yahweh says this: Stop your lamenting dry your eyes, for your labour will have a reward, Yahweh declares, and they will return from the enemy’s country.

17 There is hope for your future after all, Yahweh declares, your children will return to their homeland.

18 I have indeed heard Ephraim’s grieving, ‘You flogged me, I took a flogging, like a young, untrained bull. Bring me back, let me come back, for you are Yahweh my God!

19 For, since I turned away, I have repented; having understood, I beat my breast. I was deeply ashamed, I blushed, aware of the disgrace incurred when I was young.’

20 Is Ephraim, then, so dear a son to me, a child so favoured, that whenever I mention him I remember him lovingly still? That is why I yearn for him, why I must take pity on him, Yahweh declares.

21 Set up your signposts, raise yourself landmarks, fix your mind on the road, the way by which you went. Come home, Virgin of Israel, come home to these towns of yours.

22 How long will you hesitate, rebellious daughter? For Yahweh is creating something new on earth: the Woman sets out to find her Husband again.

23 Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, ‘In the country of Judah and in its towns, they will use these words once more, when I bring their captives home: “Yahweh bless you, home of saving justice, holy mountain!”

24 ‘And in this country, Judah and all its towns, the ploughmen and those who wander with their flocks, will live together,

25 for I shall give the weary all they need and satisfy all those whose strength has gone.’

26 At this, I awoke and saw that my sleep had been sweet to me.

27 ‘Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall sow the House of Israel and the House of Judah with the seed both of people and of cattle.

28 And as I once watched over them to uproot, to knock down, to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so now I shall watch over them to build and to plant, Yahweh declares.

29 ‘In those days people will no longer say: “The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

30 But each will die for his own guilt. Everyone who eats unripe grapes will have his own teeth set on edge.

31 ‘Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah),

32 but not like the covenant I made with their ancestors the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, even though I was their Master, Yahweh declares.

33 No, this is the covenant I shall make with the House of Israel when those days have come, Yahweh declares. Within them I shall plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people.

34 There will be no further need for everyone to teach neighbour or brother, saying, “Learn to know Yahweh!” No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest, Yahweh declares, since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind.’

35 Yahweh who provides the sun to shine by day, who regulates moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs the sea, making its waves roar, he whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth, says this,

36 ‘Were this established order ever to pass away before me, Yahweh declares, then the race of Israel would also cease being a nation for ever before me!’

37 Yahweh says this, ‘Were the heavens above ever to be measured, the foundations of the earth below ever to be fathomed, then I too would reject the whole race of Israel for all that they have done, Yahweh declares.’

38 ‘Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when the City will be rebuilt for Yahweh, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.

39 Then once again the measuring line will stretch straight to the Hill of Gareb, turning then to Goah.

40 And the whole valley, with its corpses and ashes, and all the ground beside the ravine of the Kidron as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, eastwards, will be consecrated to Yahweh. It will never be destroyed or demolished again.

Daniel 14

1 When King Astyages joined his ancestors, Cyrus of Persia succeeded him.

2 Daniel was very close to the king, who respected him more than any of his other friends.

3 Now, in Babylon there was an idol called Bel, to which twelve bushels of the finest flour, forty sheep and six measures of wine were offered every day.

4 The king venerated this idol and used to go and worship it every day. Daniel, however, worshipped his own God.

5 ‘Why do you not worship Bel?’ the king asked Daniel. ‘I do not worship idols made by human hand,’ Daniel replied, ‘I worship the living God who made heaven and earth and who is lord over all living creatures.’

6 ‘Do you not believe, then,’ said the king, ‘that Bel is a living god? Can you not see how much he eats and drinks each day?’

7 Daniel laughed. ‘Your Majesty,’ he said, ‘do not be taken in; he is clay inside, and bronze outside, and has never eaten or drunk anything.’

8 This made the king angry; he summoned his priests, ‘Tell me who eats all this food,’ he said, ‘or die. Prove to me that Bel really eats it, and I will have Daniel put to death for blaspheming him.’

9 Daniel said to the king, ‘Let it be as you say.’

10 There were seventy of these priests, to say nothing of their wives and children. The king went to the temple of Bel, taking Daniel with him.

11 The priests of Bel said to him, ‘We shall now go out, and you, Your Majesty, will lay out the meal and mix the wine and set it out. Then, lock the door and seal it with your personal seal. If, when you return in the morning, you do not find that everything has been eaten by Bel,let us be put to death; otherwise let Daniel, that slanderer!’

12 They were thinking — hence their confidence — of a secret entrance which they had made under the table, and by which they came in regularly and took the offerings away.

13 When the priests had gone and the king had set out the food for Bel,

14 Daniel made his servants bring ashes and spread them all over the temple floor, with no other witness than the king. They then left the building, shut the door and, sealing it with the king’s seal, went away.

15 That night, as usual, the priests came with their wives and children; they ate and drank everything.

16 The king was up very early next morning, and Daniel with him.

17 ‘Daniel,’ said the king, ‘are the seals intact?’ ‘They are intact, Your Majesty,’ he replied.

18 The king then opened the door and, taking one look at the table, exclaimed, ‘You are great, O Bel! There is no deception in you!’

19 But Daniel laughed; and, restraining the king from going in any further, he said, ‘Look at the floor and take note whose footmarks these are!’

20 ‘I can see the footmarks of men, of women and of children,’ said the king,

21 and angrily ordered the priests to be arrested, with their wives and children. They then showed him the secret door through which they used to come and take what was on the table.

22 The king had them put to death and handed Bel over to Daniel who destroyed both the idol and its temple.

23 There was a great dragon which the Babylonians worshipped too.

24 The king said to Daniel, ‘Are you going to tell me that this is made of bronze? Look, it is alive; it eats and drinks; you cannot deny that this is a living god; worship it, then.’

25 Daniel replied, ‘I will worship the Lord my God; he is the living God. With your permission, Your Majesty, without using either sword or club, I shall kill this dragon.’

26 ‘You have my permission,’ said the king.

27 Whereupon, Daniel took some pitch, some fat and some hair and boiled them up together, rolled the mixture into balls and fed them to the dragon; the dragon swallowed them and burst. Daniel said, ‘Now look at the sort of thing you worship!’

28 The Babylonians were furious when they heard about this and rose against the king. ‘The king has turned Jew,’ they said, ‘he has allowed Bel to be overthrown, and the dragon to be killed, and he has put the priests to death.’

29 So they went to the king and said, ‘Hand Daniel over to us or else we shall kill you and your family.’

30 They pressed him so hard that the king found himself forced to hand Daniel over to them.

31 They threw Daniel into the lion pit, and there he stayed for six days.

32 In the pit were seven lions, which were given two human bodies and two sheep every day; but for this period they were not given anything, to make sure they would eat Daniel.

33 Now, the prophet Habakkuk was in Judaea: he had been making a stew and breaking up bread into a basket. He was on his way to the fields, taking this to the harvesters,

34 when the angel of the Lord spoke to him, ‘Take the meal you are carrying to Babylon, and give it to Daniel in the lion pit.’

35 ‘Lord,’ replied Habakkuk, ‘I have not even seen Babylon and know nothing about this pit.’

36 The angel of the Lord took hold of his head and carried him off by the hair to Babylon where, with a great blast of his breath, he set Habakkuk down on the edge of the pit.

37 ‘Daniel, Daniel,’ Habakkuk shouted, ‘take the meal that God has sent you.’

38 And Daniel said, ‘You have kept me in mind, O God; you have not deserted those who love you.’

39 Rising to his feet, he ate the meal, while the angel of God carried Habakkuk back in a moment to his own country.

40 On the seventh day, the king came to lament over Daniel; on reaching the pit he looked inside, and there sat Daniel.

41 ‘You are great, O Lord, God of Daniel,’ he exclaimed, ‘there is no god but you!’

42 He then had Daniel released from the pit and the plotters of Daniel’s ruin thrown in instead, where they were instantly eaten before his eyes.

Proverbs 16:21-24

21 The wise of heart is acclaimed as intelligent, sweetness of speech increases knowledge.

22 Shrewdness is a fountain of life for its possessor, the folly of fools is their own punishment.

23 The heart of the wise lends shrewdness to speech and makes words more persuasive.

24 Kindly words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste, wholesome to the body.

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