DANIEL 7:1-3, 15-18


In modern times, many bible teachers like to use this book as a prediction of future times.  I do not ascribe to this crystal ball theology.  I have been taught that God speaks to His people in times of need.  He provides them with the strength and wisdom they require to get them through a difficult time.  When I read the bible, I try to keep this in mind.  This is why I try to understand what was happening to God’s people when His Word first came to them.  I strive to find this meaning, which was (and still is) God’s intent for His people. At the time that the book of Daniel was written, His people’s faith was being challenged.  The government was forcing them to worship other gods.  God steps in and speaks through his prophet. Let’s find out what God said.  In Daniel’s time, dreams were considered to be windows to divine thought or intent.  Dreams were a message from God, and needed to be interpreted.


  • In this story, the prophet Daniel has a troubling dream, which he writes down.  The details of this dream are spared us; they are the omitted verses 4-14.  Look them up, if you wish.  Basically, four beasts come up out of the sea, each one different than the other. It is important to note that to the writer and his audience, the sea was an ugly chaotic place.  Beasts that came out of the sea were not a good thing. (vv. 1-3)
  • This dream and these four beasts rattled Daniel.  He was scared.  (v. 15)
  • Apparently, in the dream there were attendants.  Daniel approaches one of them for an explanation.  (v. 16)
  • The attendant explains that the beasts are evil kings that come and go, but in the end, the “holy ones of the Most High” will reign forever.  (vv. 17-18)


Bible historians can identify the kings alluded to in these verses and the ones that follow.  (Yes, the gory story goes on.)  At the time this was written, horrible fates awaited those who refused to denounce their faith and adopt the religion of these evil kings.  But the point is clear.  Evil rulers will come and go.  Our job is to remain faithful to the Most High God.  In the end, a righteous ruler will prevail [Jesus], and rule the earth forever.  Whether you believe this book in its historical context or that it is a book predicting the end times, the message is clear.  Keep the faith!  Resist evil! God will triumph in the end.



Many believe that this letter to the church in Ephesus was intended for a wider audience.   This is good. It means that it is intended for you and me as well.  Today’s passage starts out in the middle of chapter 1.  Some key verses to grasp are verses three through five, which help us understand today’s passage:

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,…”

So, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, including adopting us as His children.


  • As God’s children, we have received an inheritance.  We receive this precious gift so that we “might live for the praise of his glory.”  We’ll discuss the hope that is mentioned when we look at verse 18.  (vv. 11-12)
  • Next, we are reminded of how we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit in our baptism. This is when we pledged to become one of God’s own people, and follow Him.  (vv. 13-14)
  • The Spirit must have been doing some fantastic work in Ephesus, because their reputation was well-known.  Nevertheless, the writer offers prayers to God for their continued growth in wisdom and the revealing of God’s will for them in their place.  (vv. 15-17)
  • When the Holy Spirit opens our hearts, we can gain a clearer understanding of the hope of the resurrection.  This is the inheritance we receive.  Just as our brother Jesus was resurrected, we too shall be resurrected, according to our adoption by God.  (v. 18)
  • It is this power that God used when he raised Jesus from the dead, and placed him at His right side.  From there Jesus will rule the earth until that day when he returns to rule here on earth. (vv. 19-23)


It takes a lot of ability and power to raise someone from the dead.  If fact, I know of only one instance—the resurrection of God’s Son Jesus. As adopted sons and daughters of God, we inherit this precious gift as well.  Praise be to God our Father!  

LUKE 6:20-31


This passage comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain.  Matthew’s gospel contains a details account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  In some ways they differ, but in many ways these sermons are similar.  Each gospel only includes one of these sermons.  It is my hunch that Jesus did not speak these things only twice, but spoke variations of these messages wherever he traveled.  After all, one of his missions on earth was to write the Law (of love) on our hearts, as we read in last week’s Old Testament lesson.  So, what is Jesus telling us about the way God values things?  In this sermon, he contrasts woes with blessings.  When you read this sermon, look for all the ways that God’s wisdom differs from ours. 


  • When Jesus looks up, he sees the crowd who came to be healed, the disciples (followers) who came to learn, and the apostles who dedicated their lives to continuing Jesus’ work after he was gone.  Jesus directs this sermon to the followers who came to learn.  (v. 20a)
  • Jesus begins by saying that poor people are “blessed”, or happy.  (v. 20b)
  • Jesus next says that hungry people are “blessed”.  (v. 21a)
  • You are also blessed, if you weep.  (v. 21b)
  • You are blessed if people hate, exclude, revile and/or defame you “on account of the Son of Man.”  (v. 22)
  • If we suffer in these ways, we should rejoice and leap for joy, because this is how the famous prophets were also treated.  (v. 23)
  • Now come the “woes”. They are for those who: are rich, have full bellies, laughing, are spoken well of.  Jesus basically says that they have received their reward. (vv. 24-26)
  • The second paragraph is Jesus’ (and God the Father’s) instruction for how we should respond. I’ve made a table of them, and included a list of human wisdom as a contrast.


God's Wisdom

Human Wisdom


Love your enemies Hate your enemies, and get even


Do good to those who hate you Protect your household, protect your country


Bless those who curse you Give them a dose of their own medicine


Pray for those who abuse you Go toe-to-toe with them.  Never give up.


Turn the other cheek Strike while the iron is hot


If they steal your coat, give them your shirt If you break into my house, you're going to get shot


Give to everyone who begs Many beggars are professional scammers-- don't fall into their trap


If they steal your goods, let it go Track them down, and get your stuff back


Do unto others… Look out for #1.  Forget about everybody else



As you can readily see, God’s wisdom is pretty much the opposite of human wisdom.  As Christians, we are the adopted children of God.  We are inheritors to the promise.  Jesus begins this last paragraph with “But I say to you that listen…”  That sounds more like a commandment than a suggestion.  As children of God, we need to reorder our thinking from human ways to God’s ways.  It won’t be easy, but this is what we are expected to do.