I finished up my Daniel study this week, so I figured I'd jot down a few things I learned while it's still fresh on my mind...and what better venue than a Thursday 13? If I note a page number after an item, I'm referring to Beth Moore's Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy workbook.
1. The book of Daniel is set in Babylon (modern day Iraq). The Babylonian mentality (in a nutshell) is found in Isaiah 47:8,10
"I am and there is none besides me." Sound familiar? Start looking out for it and you'll find it all around you.
2. The lifeblood of integrity is becoming the same person no matter where we are--no matter who's around. When we become people of integrity, everything we are on the inside is obvious from the outside. The Latin word for "integrity" literally means "entire" The essence of the term is wholeness and completeness. Integrity is "the quality or state of being complete or undivided." You can see, therefore, how much integrity depends on consistency...Life becomes so much simpler when there aren't so many costume changes. -- page 25
3. The goal of yesterday's lesson was to expose the Babylonian lust for superiority: his willingness to look taller by making those around him seem smaller...Nursing inferiority can be just as self-consuming as seeking superiority. --page 52
The Babylonian motto is still legible under an inferior light. "I am, and there is none besides me" can show up in our thoughts as:
"I am ugly, and there is none as ugly as me."
"I am stupid, and there is none as stupid as me."
"I am a fool, and there is no bigger fool than me."
"I am untalented, and there is none as untalented as me."
"I am unlucky, and there is none as unlucky as me."
"I am scatterbrained, and there is none as scatterbrained as me."
"I am pitiful, and there is none as pitiful as me."
A prevailing sense of inferiority is just another form of self-absorption.
-- page 53
4. (Here's the definition for the Hebrew word for loyal used in 1 Chronicles 29:18--"to be firm, be established, be steadfast, be faithful, be sure, be reliable, be fixed, be certain; to be ready; be prepared; to be determined...signifies initial preparation or formation, actual preparation for a future event.")
Think about this for a long moment: loyal is not something we suddenly are at the flash-moment of testing. It's something we already were that surfaces in the test...Loyalty, therefore, means that when a sudden temptation poses a character question, if we have true conviction in that area, we do not have to consider how we'll answer it. Loyalty means the question has already been answered. We simply act upon it. --page 61
5. As women, I'm not sure we yearn for anything more consistently than security. Yes, we have a ferocious need for love, but we find even the most passionate romance almost unbearable if it is riddled with insecurity and uncertainty. -- page 76
6. Daniel's advice to Nebuchadnezzar to break off his sins by doing what was right was brilliant replacement "theology." He didn't just tell him to stop doing one thing. He told him to start doing another. Scripture is full of exhortations to not just cease one activity: replace it with another...If my plea is resonating with you, I lovingly implore you as one who has been there: Break it off before it breaks you. -- page 88
7. The first inappropriate response to the awareness that we've treated holy things as unholy is a lack of repentance. The other extreme is debilitating guilt and an unwillingness to let go of past failure long after repentance. God is looking for the healthy response of godly sorrow that brings repentance, not emotional self-mutilation. See 2 Corinthians 7:10-- page 101
8. The world's claim of happiness is betrayed by the ever-increasing lust for more. Nothing ever suffices. Nothing ever will. Christ alone satisfies the ailing human soul. -- page 128
9. Fire is symbolic of judgment. Who knew?
10. The three religious "characters" of the dragon, beast, and false prophet (referred to in Daniel and Revelation) represent a counterfeit trinity.
Keep in mind Satan's greatest issue--he didn't get to be God. In blasphemous arrogance, he wanted more than anything to "make [himself] like the Most High" (Isa. 14:14). He couldn't be God, so he set out to counterfeit the actions of God. Therefore, anything God does, Satan tries to counterfeit. We have a prime example in Revelation 13. The beast plays the role of son to the dragon (Satan). His wound and healing counterfeit the death and resurrection of Christ. -- page 144.
11. Remember, Satan doesn't know when Christ's kingdom will come. He is left to read the signs of the times and coinciding Bible prophecies just as we are. I believe Satan has to have potential candidates ready in every generation so that when the time comes, he can inhabit and use his prime choice. -- page 145
12. Do we rehearse the mighty acts God has performed in the past as we request His intervention in the present? The prayer warriors of the Word often coupled their requests with remembrances like a lawyer cites a precedent before the judge hearing the case. -- page 184
13. This is scattered throughout my notes, but here's my best recollection of something I thought was interesting.
Daniel is referred to in Daniel 5:10-17 as being one who could "solve difficult problems".
We learned that a literal rendering of the Aramaic is "'the loosening of knots,' referring to the loosening of knotty things or difficulties."--page 104
(this is the part I'm not sure I can locate in my notes--Hayden, help!)
Later on when we were studying the references to the Antichrist, we heard him described as a "master of intrigue." Apparently, the original word that was translated "master of intrigue" can also mean "master of knots" or something like that. Moore pointed out that while God is a master of loosening knots, Satan is a master of tying knots. Then she pointed out that at the center of every stronghold (or knot) in our life is a lie. Satan is also known as the "Father of Lies". I just thought that was really interesting because I had never thought of it that way. I guess that means that the first step to untangling the knots in our lives is figuring out what lie is at the center of the knot. Just food for thought.
I could go on, but then this wouldn't be a Thursday 13, would it? :) This was a really challenging study. I'm still trying to super glue pieces of my brain back together because it pretty much exploded when we started talking about all of the different end-time theories and eschatological (Firefox doesn't even think that's a word! Maybe it's not!) events. But I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about Daniel, prophecy/eschatology, or how to survive in a world that tells you that your physical beauty is worth more than your integrity.
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