Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 204

Daniel 11–12, Psalms 76–78

Bible text(s)

1He is responsible for helping and defending me. 2And what I am now going to tell you is true.”

The Kingdoms of Egypt and Syria

The angel said, “Three more kings will rule over Persia, followed by a fourth, who will be richer than all the others. At the height of his power and wealth he will challenge the kingdom of Greece.

3“Then a heroic king will appear. He will rule over a huge empire and do whatever he wants. 4But at the height of his power his empire will break up and be divided into four parts. Kings not descended from him will rule in his place, but they will not have the power that he had.

5“The king of Egypt will be strong. One of his generals, however, will be even stronger and rule a greater kingdom. 6After a number of years the king of Egypt will make an alliance with the king of Syria and give him his daughter in marriage. But the alliance will not last, and she, her husband, her child, and the servants who went with her will all be killed. 7Soon afterwards, one of her relatives will become king. He will attack the army of the king of Syria, enter their fortress, and defeat them. 8He will carry back to Egypt the images of their gods and the articles of gold and silver dedicated to those gods. After several years of peace 9the king of Syria will invade Egypt, but he will be forced to retreat.

10“The sons of the king of Syria will prepare for war and gather a large army. One of them will sweep on like a flood and attack an enemy fortress. 11In his anger the king of Egypt will go to war against the king of Syria and capture his huge army. 12He will be proud of his victory and of the many soldiers he has killed, but he will not continue to be victorious.

13“The king of Syria will go back and gather a larger army than he had before. When the proper time comes, he will return with a large, well-equipped army. 14Then many people will rebel against the king of Egypt. And some of the violent from your nation, Daniel, will rebel because of a vision they have seen, but they will be defeated. 15So the king of Syria will lay siege to a fortified city and capture it. The soldiers of Egypt will not continue to fight; even the best of them will not have enough strength. 16The Syrian invader will do with them as he pleases, without opposition. He will stand in the Promised Land and have it completely in his power.

17“The king of Syria will plan an expedition, using his whole army. Then, in order to destroy his enemy's kingdom, he will make an alliance with him and offer him his daughter in marriage; but his plan will not succeed. 18After that he will attack the nations by the sea and conquer many of them. But a foreign leader will defeat him and put an end to his arrogance; indeed he will turn the arrogance of Syria's king back on him. 19The king will return to the fortresses of his own land, but he will be defeated, and that will be the end of him.

20“He will be followed by another king, who will send an officer to oppress the people with taxes in order to increase the wealth of his kingdom. In a short time that king will be killed, but not publicly and not in battle.”

The Evil King of Syria

21The angel went on to explain: “The next king of Syria will be an evil man who has no right to be king, but he will come unexpectedly and seize power by trickery. 22Anyone who opposes him, even God's High Priest, will be swept away and wiped out. 23By making treaties, he will deceive other nations, and he will grow stronger and stronger, even though he rules only a small nation. 24He will invade a wealthy province without warning and will do things that none of his ancestors ever did. Then he will divide among his followers the goods and property he has captured in war. He will make plans to attack fortresses, but his time will soon run out.

25“He will boldly raise a large army to attack the king of Egypt, who will prepare to fight back with a huge and powerful army. But the king of Egypt will be deceived and will not be successful. 26His closest advisers will ruin him. Many of his soldiers will be killed, and his army will be wiped out. 27Then the two kings will sit down to eat at the same table, but their motives will be evil, and they will lie to each other. They will not get what they want, because the time for it has not yet come. 28The king of Syria will return home with all the loot he has captured, determined to destroy the religion of God's people. He will do as he pleases and then return to his own land.

29“Later on he will invade Egypt again, but this time things will turn out differently. 30The Romans will come in ships and oppose him, and he will be frightened.

“Then he will turn back in a rage and try to destroy the religion of God's people. He will follow the advice of those who have abandoned that religion. 31Some of his soldiers will desecrate the Temple. They will stop the daily sacrifices and set up The Awful Horror. 32By deceit the king will win the support of those who have already abandoned their religion, but those who follow God will fight back. 33Wise leaders of the people will share their wisdom with many others. But for a while some of them will be killed in battle or be burnt to death, and some will be robbed and made prisoners. 34While the killing is going on, God's people will receive a little help, even though many who join them will do so for selfish reasons. 35Some of those wise leaders will be killed, but as a result of this the people will be purified. This will continue until the end comes, the time that God has set.

36“The king of Syria will do as he pleases. He will boast that he is greater than any god, superior even to the Supreme God. He will be able to do this until the time when God punishes him. God will do exactly what he has planned. 37The king will ignore the god his ancestors served, and also the god that women love. In fact, he will ignore every god, because he will think he is greater than any of them. 38Instead, he will honour the god who protects fortresses. He will offer gold, silver, jewels, and other rich gifts to a god his ancestors never worshipped. 39To defend his fortresses, he will use people who worship a foreign god. He will give great honour to those who accept him as ruler, put them into high offices, and give them land as a reward.

40“When the king of Syria's final hour has almost come, the king of Egypt will attack him, and the king of Syria will fight back with all his power, using chariots, horses, and many ships. He will invade many countries, like the waters of a flood. 41He will even invade the Promised Land and kill tens of thousands, but the countries of Edom, Moab, and what is left of Ammon will escape. 42When he invades all those countries, even Egypt will not be spared. 43He will take away Egypt's hidden treasures of gold and silver and its other prized possessions. He will conquer Libya and Ethiopia. 44Then news that comes from the east and the north will frighten him, and he will fight furiously, killing many people. 45He will even set up his huge royal tents between the sea and the mountain on which the Temple stands. But he will die, with no one there to help him.”

The Time of the End

1The angel wearing linen clothes said, “At that time the great angel Michael, who guards your people, will appear. Then there will be a time of troubles, the worst since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, all the people of your nation whose names are written in God's book will be saved. 2Many of those who have already died will live again: some will enjoy eternal life, and some will suffer eternal disgrace. 3The wise leaders will shine with all the brightness of the sky. And those who have taught many people to do what is right will shine like the stars for ever.”

4He said to me, “And now, Daniel, close the book and put a seal on it until the end of the world. Meanwhile, many people will waste their efforts trying to understand what is happening.”

5Then I saw two men standing by a river, one on each bank. 6One of them asked the angel who was standing further upstream, “How long will it be until these amazing events come to an end?”

7The angel raised both hands towards the sky and made a solemn promise in the name of the Eternal God. I heard him say, “It will be 3.5 years. When the persecution of God's people ends, all these things will have happened.”

8I heard what he said, but I did not understand it. So I asked, “But, sir, how will it all end?”

9He answered, “You must go now, Daniel, because these words are to be kept secret and hidden until the end comes. 10Many people will be purified. Those who are wicked will not understand but will go on being wicked; only those who are wise will understand.

11“From the time the daily sacrifices are stopped, that is, from the time of The Awful Horror, 1,290 days will pass. 12Happy are those who remain faithful until 1,335 days are over!

13“And you, Daniel, be faithful to the end. Then you will die, but you will rise to receive your reward at the end of time.”

God the Victor

1God is known in Judah;

his name is honoured in Israel.

2He has his home in Jerusalem;

he lives on Mount Zion.

3There he broke the arrows of the enemy,

their shields and swords, yes, all their weapons.

4How glorious you are, O God!

How majestic, as you return from the mountains

where you defeated your foes.

5Their brave soldiers have been stripped of all they had

and now are sleeping the sleep of death;

all their strength and skill was useless.

6When you threatened them, O God of Jacob,

the horses and their riders fell dead.

7But you, LORD, are feared by all.

No one can stand in your presence

when you are angry.

8You made your judgement known from heaven;

the world was afraid and kept silent,

9when you rose up to pronounce judgement,

to save all the oppressed on earth.

10Human anger only results in more praise for you;

those who survive the wars will keep your festivals.

11Give the LORD your God what you promised him;

bring gifts to him, all you nearby nations.

God makes everyone fear him;

12he humbles proud princes

and terrifies great kings.

Comfort in Time of Distress

1I cry aloud to God;

I cry aloud, and he hears me.

2In times of trouble I pray to the Lord;

all night long I lift my hands in prayer,

but I cannot find comfort.

3When I think of God, I sigh;

when I meditate, I feel discouraged.

4He keeps me awake all night;

I am so worried that I cannot speak.

5I think of days gone by

and remember years of long ago.

6I spend the night in deep thought;

I meditate, and this is what I ask myself:

7“Will the Lord always reject us?

Will he never again be pleased with us?

8Has he stopped loving us?

Does his promise no longer stand?

9Has God forgotten to be merciful?

Has anger taken the place of his compassion?”

10Then I said, “What hurts me most is this —

that God is no longer powerful.”

11I will remember your great deeds, LORD;

I will recall the wonders you did in the past.

12I will think about all that you have done;

I will meditate on all your mighty acts.

13Everything you do, O God, is holy.

No god is as great as you.

14You are the God who works miracles;

you showed your might among the nations.

15By your power you saved your people,

the descendants of Jacob and of Joseph.

16When the waters saw you, O God, they were afraid,

and the depths of the sea trembled.

17The clouds poured down rain;

thunder crashed from the sky,

and lightning flashed in all directions.

18The crash of your thunder rolled out,

and flashes of lightning lit up the world;

the earth trembled and shook.

19You walked through the waves;

you crossed the deep sea,

but your footprints could not be seen.

20You led your people like a shepherd,

with Moses and Aaron in charge.

God and his People

1Listen, my people, to my teaching,

and pay attention to what I say.

2I am going to use wise sayings

and explain mysteries from the past,

3things we have heard and known,

things that our ancestors told us.

4We will not keep them from our children;

we will tell the next generation

about the LORD's power and his great deeds

and the wonderful things he has done.

5He gave laws to the people of Israel

and commandments to the descendants of Jacob.

He instructed our ancestors

to teach his laws to their children,

6so that the next generation might learn them

and in turn should tell their children.

7In this way they also would put their trust in God

and not forget what he has done,

but always obey his commandments.

8They would not be like their ancestors,

a rebellious and disobedient people,

whose trust in God was never firm

and who did not remain faithful to him.

9The Ephraimites, armed with bows and arrows,

ran away on the day of battle.

10They did not keep their covenant with God;

they refused to obey his law.

11They forgot what he had done,

the miracles they had seen him perform.

12While their ancestors watched, God performed miracles

in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.

13He divided the sea and took them through it;

he made the waters stand like walls.

14By day he led them with a cloud

and all night long with the light of a fire.

15He split rocks open in the desert

and gave them water from the depths.

16He caused a stream to come out of the rock

and made water flow like a river.

17But they continued to sin against God,

and in the desert they rebelled against the Most High.

18They deliberately put God to the test

by demanding the food they wanted.

19They spoke against God and said,

“Can God supply food in the desert?

20It is true that he struck the rock,

and water flowed out in a torrent;

but can he also provide us with bread

and give his people meat?”

21And so the LORD was angry when he heard them;

he attacked his people with fire,

and his anger against them grew,

22because they had no faith in him

and did not believe that he would save them.

23But he spoke to the sky above

and commanded its doors to open;

24he gave them grain from heaven,

by sending down manna for them to eat.

25So they ate the food of angels,

and God gave them all they wanted.

26He also caused the east wind to blow,

and by his power he stirred up the south wind;

27and to his people he sent down birds,

as many as the grains of sand on the shore;

28they fell in the middle of the camp

all round the tents.

29So the people ate and were satisfied;

God gave them what they wanted.

30But they had not yet satisfied their craving

and were still eating,

31when God became angry with them

and killed their strongest men,

the best young men of Israel.

32In spite of all this the people kept sinning;

in spite of his miracles they did not trust him.

33So he ended their days like a breath

and their lives with sudden disaster.

34Whenever he killed some of them,

the rest would turn to him;

they would repent and pray earnestly to him.

35They remembered that God was their protector,

that the Almighty came to their aid.

36But their words were all lies;

nothing they said was sincere.

37They were not loyal to him;

they were not faithful to their covenant with him.

38But God was merciful to his people.

He forgave their sin

and did not destroy them.

Many times he held back his anger

and restrained his fury.

39He remembered that they were only mortal beings,

like a wind that blows by and is gone.

40How often they rebelled against him in the desert;

how many times they made him sad!

41Again and again they put God to the test

and brought pain to the Holy God of Israel.

42They forgot his great power

and the day when he saved them from their enemies

43and performed his mighty acts and miracles

in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.

44He turned the rivers into blood,

and the Egyptians had no water to drink.

45He sent flies among them, that tormented them,

and frogs that ruined their land.

46He sent locusts to eat their crops

and to destroy their fields.

47He killed their grapevines with hail

and their fig trees with frost.

48He killed their cattle with hail

and their flocks with lightning.

49He caused them great distress

by pouring out his anger and fierce rage,

which came as messengers of death.

50He did not restrain his anger

or spare their lives,

but killed them with a plague.

51He killed the firstborn sons

of all the families of Egypt.

52Then he led his people out like a shepherd

and guided them through the desert.

53He led them safely, and they were not afraid;

but the sea came rolling over their enemies.

54He brought them to his holy land,

to the mountains which he himself conquered.

55He drove out the inhabitants as his people advanced;

he divided their land among the tribes of Israel

and gave their homes to his people.

56But they rebelled against Almighty God

and put him to the test.

They did not obey his commandments,

57but were rebellious and disloyal like their ancestors,

unreliable as a crooked arrow.

58They angered him with their heathen places of worship,

and with their idols they made him furious.

59God was angry when he saw it,

so he rejected his people completely.

60He abandoned his tent in Shiloh,

the home where he had lived among us.

61He allowed our enemies to capture the Covenant Box,

the symbol of his power and glory.

62He was angry with his own people

and let them be killed by their enemies.

63Young men were killed in war,

and young women had no one to marry.

64Priests died by violence,

and their widows were not allowed to mourn.

65At last the Lord woke up as though from sleep;

he was like a strong man excited by wine.

66He drove his enemies back

in lasting and shameful defeat.

67But he rejected the descendants of Joseph;

he did not select the tribe of Ephraim.

68Instead he chose the tribe of Judah

and Mount Zion, which he dearly loves.

69There he built his Temple

like his home in heaven;

he made it firm like the earth itself,

secure for all time.

70He chose his servant David;

he took him from the pastures,

71where he looked after his flocks,

and he made him king of Israel,

the shepherd of the people of God.

72David took care of them with unselfish devotion

and led them with skill.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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