Vs. 1, “whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets.” Question: What is the problem? The sins of Israel’s leaders have brought sorrow upon the whole nation. The whole political and religious system was corrupt and Israel’s priests were even involved in murder (Hosea 6:9). Sadly, the Northern Kingdom did not have one good King. And to make matters worse, they were making alliances with pagan nations (vs. 11). This is a sad chapter because we see the sadness of what sin can do to a people who do not desire to turn to God (vs. 13-16).
Regarding application…Reality of Sin. Vs. 2, “but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.” Part of the problem we have here is that people don’t want to be reminded and told they are sinners. Seriously…who wants to be accused and called a sinner. This is the sad reality of it all is that so many rebel from the truth (John 14:6). Salvation cannot come to anyone unless they admit they are a sinner. Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, oh how I wish we were now in Heaven. How I wish this journey of life never had a river to cross, an obstacle to hurdle, and that is prowling like a lion. I’m reminded of the scene from Lord of the Rings when Frodo helplessly states, “I wish the ring had never come to me.” Question: Isn’t that so true with our own lives? How we wish tough times and sin never had it’s affect upon us. Gandalf replies, “So do all who to live see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Our life is a vapor in the wind, here today and gone tomorrow. Brothers and sisters…don’t give up. Don’t let sin entangle and seep out the hope that we have. Remember the bigger picture of life and that is to be a light to this world. We are called to remain steadfast in our faith and share Christ wherever He sends us. Let that be your reminder and encouragement. The Lord Jesus loves you more than you can imagine, so let your heart rest in Him.
Vs. 1, “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.” As you might have noticed, this chapter is not chronological. This dream of Daniel’s transpired before the death of Belshazzar in chapter five. The theme of this dream is similar to that of the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had in chapter two. In this dream, we get a preview of the End Times. Again we have this image of four beasts (four kingdoms vs. 17) that Daniel would see. There are differing views regarding who these nations are and the ten horns and the little horn (vs. 20). Most scholars point to the same nations that were mentioned in my comments in chapter two. Question: What do the ten horns and the little horn represent? They represent the resurrected Rome in the form of a new leadership in the world and the little horn is the antichrist! No wonder Daniel was troubled, but praise God that the ending is in our favor!
Regarding application…Jesus is Here Vs. 13, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” It must have been a frightening vision to say the least for Daniel, but we get a cameo appearance from Jesus Himself! Notice that during this time, which is in the tribulation years, there will be suffering from the saints. But, God will not forsake His people. Think about your own life for a moment. If we search our hearts, there is probably some fear going on about a unknown future. Fear that it may get tougher before it gets better. But Jesus is here. I remember the poignant scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf had to fight the fiery monster. The fellowship of the Ring members witnessed Gandalf fall to his seeming death. As they grieved for him, there was a fear about what to do next. Many of us know that Gandalf came back and helped them in defeating evil. But Jesus is bigger than Gandalf. He not only will come back, but He is already here through the promised Holy Spirit! Not only can you have comfort today, but comfort in a future that promises we will triumph in the end!