• Daniel 4
  • Daniel 5:18-21
  • Romans 13:1-4


Pray… a prayer of humbleness before God, knowing that He is the author and creator of all things, and in complete control.

Day 212 – Daniel & Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream & Humbling

God establishes authorities


  • Each chapter of Daniel is a great new story, isn’t it? They all come together though as part of the book, and indeed the whole Bible, to tell general truths about God. After reading today’s passages, what do you think is the main theme running through them today?
  • Nebuchadnezzar certainly knew about Daniel’s God, after the events of Daniel 2 and 3, and as Daniel 4 opens, it looks like he was beginning to follow Him. What dream did he have in the early part of the chapter?
  • What was Daniel’s reaction to the dream directly after the king shared it with him? Knowing that it was bad news for the king, was Daniel scared about telling the king the true meaning? Despite this, it’s important to see that Daniel did accurately share God’s message to the king. Who else has done that recently in our readings towards the end of 2 Kings?
  • Describe the meaning of the dream. Who was represented by the tree, and what did God say would happen to him? How was the king going to be humbled? Was there any way that the king could avoid these events happening?
  • A whole year passed where God’s patient grace gave the king a chance to repent. Did he? What happened as he walked along the roof of the royal palace one evening?
  • How was the king humbled? This king had more power than our current prime minister and queen combined, and vastly more wealth. Can you imagine how a man in that position would feel to be made to be live like an animal?
  • When his mind later became clear, what was Nebuchadnezzar’s response? Focus on Daniel 4:37, as well as the summary Daniel gave later in the passage from chapter 5.
  • How does the New Testament writing of Paul pick up the theme of humility in front of God, regardless of our human status or position? What does the passage tell us about submitting to the good authorities that we have over us?



Nebuchadnezzar was the human king who brought about the destruction of Jerusalem that God promised. God is now using that same king to bring about another message, isn’t He? Think about how you can humble yourself before God, and amongst the people around you. Do you have a servant attitude?


Don’t forget that we worship a servant king too. No-one greater was ever humbled in the way Jesus was as he came from His throne in heaven and died a criminal’s death. To finish off your studies today, take a listen to the song I’ve attached below, and focus carefully on the wonderful truth in the words:


“Come, see His hands and His feet – the scars that speak of sacrifice.
Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered.
This is our God, the servant King, He calls us now to follow Him.
To bring our lives as a daily offering, of worship to the Servant King.”



  • Daniel 3
  • Isaiah 48:10-11
  • 1 Peter 4:12-14


Pray… that you will stand firm in Jesus whatever the hardships you may face.

Day 211 – Daniel’s Three Friends & the Fiery Furnace

The fiery furnace & fiery trials in our lives


  • Today we read an astonishing story that you may have heard about before. Do you think Nebuchadnezzar’s decision to create an image of gold was affected by the events of yesterday’s passage?
  • What did the king command that the people should to do in front of the statue? Why do you think the king commanded this?
  • Did Daniel’s friends worship the idol? What were the reasons for their decision?
  • You’ll notice that this chapter only mentions Daniel’s friends. Daniel is seemingly not involved with today’s story. That doesn’t mean that he bowed down to the idol, just that the “camera” of the bible is focused on the friends in this passage. It’s probably just helpful to use this as a reminder that a deep trust in God is not just for “special” people like Daniel, but everyone.
  • Daniel 3:16 and Daniel 3:18 are very powerful I think. Remember, Nebuchadnezzar had seen an example of the power of Daniel’s God when his dreams were interpreted, but in verse 16 he’s clearly decided to ignore God (as you can see by his dismissive comments at the end). In comparison, verses 17-18 show the deep trust that the friends had in God – despite their tough lives to this point (exiled from their land, put in prison, and so forth). The friends were determined to trust in God, even if God didn’t save them from the furnace. Do you have trust like this? It shows no demand for God to save them, but a recognition that God will work as He knows best.
  • When they were thrown into the furnace, what happened? Who did Nebuchadnezzar see in the flames alongside Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
  • The king described the fourth figure as being like “a son of the gods”. This general term could be a reference to Jesus, so this may be actually be a rare image of Jesus himself in the Old Testament. If not, it’s an angel, or some other heavenly being.
  • The friends came out of the furnace without a sniff of harm. God’s protection was absolute. What did the king say about the “God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abadnego”? Why do you think that the king didn’t describe God as “his” god? Why is it important, nowadays, to have a personal relationship with Christ rather than just acknowledging him as a religious icon?



We will go “through the furnace” from time to time. There will be situations where we will be under intense pressure to abandon God, or to run away from difficult situations. Just like the three friends in the fire, we will have Christ with us during these times. What more do we need to stand firm than Him?


The verses that we read in 1 Peter will help to focus you during these hard moments. Trials and tough times can deepen and strengthen our faith, just like putting silver in fire can “refine” it and make it even more pure. This is what the verses in Isaiah refer to. There’s a song about that, which I’ve embedded below, which you might enjoy listening to.



  • Daniel 2
  • Amos 3:7
  • Ezekiel 28:1-10


Pray… for an appreciation of the amazing prophecies in today’s passage.

Day 210 – Daniel & Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Daniel’s wisdom & hearing from God


  • As we open up Daniel 2, what does it say about king Nebuchadnezzar’s problem?
  • What was the outrageously difficult thing that Nebuchadnezzar asked of his wise men, magicians and sorcerers? Why do you think he asked them to not only explain the dream, but to tell him what he dreamt in the first place?
  • When the usual dream interpreters couldn’t do what the king requested, what was the king’s violent reaction?
  • How did Daniel hear about the events and what was his first reaction, even before he had prayed to, and heard from, God?
  • How did Daniel learn about the dream and its meaning? What did he say in his prayer of thanks in Daniel 2:20-23?
  • Daniel went in to the meeting with the king, knowing that he would die if he didn’t appease him. God kept Daniel safe though, and gave him the information about the dream. What was the dream?
  • What was the meaning of the dream? Use your study bible to find out what the different parts of the statue (head of gold, chest of silver, thighs of bronze and legs of iron) referred to. It’s generally believed they referred to four great empires. Does it excite you that Daniel was prophesying things that we know came true?
  • In Daniel 2:44-45, There is one more kingdom described: a kingdom of stone that “will never be destroyed” and “cut by no human hand”. What wonderful (and still to come) kingdom is this a reference to?
  • Daniel wrote this chapter in Aramaic (see my notes yesterday about this). Why do you think he did this?


Daniel nearly dies along with the other “wise men” of the age, but a faithfulness in God’s power and care sees not only him promoted to ruler over parts of Babylon, but also glorifies God in front of the foreign king. Don’t forget who is working mighty deeds here. It’s not Daniel. He doesn’t have super-human powers. But we know who does – God!


  • Daniel 1
  • Proverbs 23:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13


Pray… that as we have read through the history of the Old Testament, we will understand the story of Daniel at a deeper level than we may have done before.

Day 209 – Daniel & his Friends Obey God

Daniel deals with temptation


  • Daniel! Good old Daniel, we all know about him, don’t we? Over the next week and a half, we’re going to get to know him, and his friends, and his (and our!) faithful God, a whole load more. I hope that as we work steadily through these famous verses, we’ll build on the history of we’ve read this year to give new context and understanding.
  • Today’s reading is based before the exile we read about a few days ago. It’s actually set immediately after Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion of Jerusalem which we read about earlier. The book of Daniel covers about 70 years of his life.
  • Daniel and his friends have been taken from Judah to Babylon. How did they find their way to the palace? What was going to happen to them?
  • What was Daniel’s concern? Do you think that Daniel would have been tempted to eat the good food and wine? Why was it wrong? Use your study bible, if you have one, to find out why the food would “defile” Daniel and his friends.
  • How does the 1 Corinthians verse link to this situation?
  • What is Daniel’s plan, and how does he convince the guard? Does the plan work out? Think for a moment about what events of the story are a result of Daniel’s faith in God, and what events of the story are by God’s power.
  • Why do you think Daniel didn’t want to consume the food and wine, but was willing to learn the non-biblical teaching that he received?
  • How do Daniel and his friends get on as students? What does verse 17 say about the source of their success?
  • These verses show that God is at work even after the exile. What does this say about God’s long-term plans, His continuing love, and His faithfulness to the covenant He made with the Hebrew nation?
  • As you read Daniel, think about this. Daniel 1, and then chapter 7 onward were written in Hebrew, the language of the God’s chosen people. The other chapters were written in Aramaic, the common language of the nations around. The language Daniel writes in can help us understand who the message is for. Why do you think that Daniel chapter 1 was written in Hebrew?


Daniel was about 16 years old when he went to the palace. It would have been worlds apart from what he knew. Imagine you were taken to serve in a a palace in North Korea! Even at his young age and his scary surroundings, he resolved to followed God in his actions. Daniel is a good role model in that regard. Nevertheless, be careful not to think of him as the hero of this story. The hero is most definitely God. Keep that firmly in mind!


  • 2 Kings 25:22-26
  • Jeremiah 42
  • Jeremiah 43


Pray… that you will know that when you say you trust God you *mean* that you trust Him. It doesn’t mean praying for guidance and then ignoring it when it comes because you don’t like it!

Day 208 – Gedaliah (Southern Governor 7 months)

Jeremiah Preaches “Don’t go to Egypt” but is taken


  • So, what happened in the aftermath of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the exile? Well, some people were left. Mostly these were the very poor, left to look after the land. Today we read what they decided to do.
  • Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the invading Babylonians, decided to appoint a governor to look after Judah now that the king was gone. Who did he appoint?
  • You may be surprised to hear that Gedaliah was not from Babylon. He was a Jew. The people come to him for help, and in 2 Kings 25:24, he reassured them that they should stay where they were in the city. In verse 25, however, what happened to Gedaliah? Why do you think a fellow Jew might have wanted to kill him?
  • Look at Jeremiah 42. The army officers and a large crowd came to speak with Jeremiah. What did the people ask Jeremiah to do, and how did he respond? What encouraging decision was made by the people in Jeremiah 42:5-6?
  • How long did it take for Jeremiah to hear from God? What does this show you about patience? It also helps us to understand that Jeremiah faithfully waited on God instead of sharing a false message.
  • What did the message from God say? What warning did they have about what would happen if they went to Egypt? Don’t miss the absolute clarity of God’s message. Almost the entire second half of the chapter is given to the loud and clear message to STAY IN JUDAH and NOT GO TO EGYPT!
  • What was the reaction of some of the people to this message, in the opening words of Jeremiah 43? Where did all the people decide to go? Notice that they (forcefully) made Jeremiah go with them as a hostage, to add insult to injury!
  • Why do you think the people inquired about what God wanted them to do if they weren’t going to listen to Him? Do you ever pray for help in something without any intention of doing it? Or sing words of praise that you don’t mean? Why do you do this?


As you read the pleas of the people for Jeremiah’s help, and their promise to “obey the voice” of God, you might have been pretty confident that they *finally* meant what they said this time. The people might have ignored God in the past, mistaking his patience and grace with them as a ticket to sin, but surely now, after the exile of their countrymen to Babylon and the dire realisation of God’s prior warnings, now would be time to start listening to God? Yeah?


But Jeremiah 43 shows that the hearts of men are so easily deceived, despite knowing the word from Jeremiah and the situation in front of their eyes. Trouble makers in the camp thought that they knew better – even still! – than God. The people listened to them rather than God.


Do you see yourself in this? I think I do sometimes. Often I know God’s view on my sin, and can see the destruction it has caused in my life, and in the lives of others. It should be easy, with this evidence, and the trust I have in Jesus, to faithfully put that sin to death, just as we assume that it should be about time that the people in Judah starting listening to God in their situation.


Listening to God and obeying him is difficult, because we will be called to do things that go against our earthly natures and our limited human understanding. That doesn’t mean we give up at the first hurdle though! It means we fight onward, trusting that God’s way is always better than our way.


Spend a moment thinking about the prayers you have prayed recently, and whether you really do want God to help you to change in this area.



  • None… unless you need to catch up!


A day off from reading is not a day off from praying or living as a Christian. Pray for something that’s on your heart today.

Day 207 – Day Off


Well into the summer holidays now!


And whilst I’m very sad we’re not sitting here thinking about happy Keswick memories (we’ll have to wait until next year for those!) I hope you’re looking forward to enjoying some time away from school expectations and keep on reading.


There are some great stories coming up, so enjoy!


  • 2 Kings 25:1-21
  • Jeremiah 39
  • Lamentations 2:5-19


Pray… for a heart that grieves for people who haven’t accepted the message of Jesus

Day 206 – Zedekiah (Southern King 11 years)

Jeremiah laments the fall & destruction of Jerusalem

Today’s final passage is a poem about the events in Jerusalem conveying Jeremiah’s bitter anguish and sadness at the unfolding events.

  • Well, this is it. All the chances have come and gone. All the warnings have remained ignored. All the prophets had given their messages from God. The Babylonians (sometimes called the Chaldeans) have attacked and, over a painful couple of years of tortuous and slow starvation, accessed and decimated the city. As promised, Jerusalem, that once proud city with its temple to the Lord, has fallen.
  • Which king was on the throne at the final moments? How did he try and get away, and what happened to him?
  • Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the invading Babylonians, had Zedekiah brought to him. What horrible events occurred?
  • Describe what happens to Jerusalem. What got destroyed? What was stolen? Is anything left?
  • The passage in Jeremiah tells a similar story to the one in 2 Kings, but adds more information about Jeremiah himself. What did Nebuchadnezzar say to do with Jeremiah? Does this surprise you? Why do you think Jeremiah remained safe?
  • Lamentations is a book of laments. A lament is a poem expressing sadness at something. The Hebrew and Greek bibles call this book “Tears”. You can see why – it’s full of anguish, bitter sadness and sorrow. It’s probably the saddest book in the bible. General consensus is that Jeremiah probably wrote it, although we can’t be sure.
  • Think about Jeremiah. For years and years he had been faithfully sharing God’s message to the people of Judah, saying that God’s judgement was coming. He had been laughed at, ignored and imprisoned for his actions. And now he’s seeing the destruction of the city. How would you react if you were him? Would it be “I told you so!”? Such a reaction might be reasonable, if you were only doing your duty as a messenger. But that’s not the reaction of Jeremiah, as he sat on a hill watching these events and penning his words. What does his lament tell you about him?
  • In the lament, the phrase “Daughter of Zion” is a name for the city, Jerusalem. Zion is a word you’ll come across regularly in the Bible, often in reference to God’s holy city.
  • Pick out the verses that show Jeremiah’s sadness, God’s compassion and God’s righteous anger.


I’ve attached a video about Lamentations. As the introduction says, as you mature in your faith, you will want to rejoice in the things God rejoices in, and feel sadness for the things that God feels sadness for. This is especially true of Jeremiah in Lamentations. He’s weeping, but not because he failed in his mission somehow. He’s genuinely in anguish at the destruction he’s witnessing and the pitiful remains of a once strong nation, just as God is. God’s punishment of His sinful nation was just, but He took no delight in it, for God desires all people to be saved. I hope that as you read these passages you feel something of the emotion that Jeremiah feels.


What now then? We’re lucky that we know that this isn’t the end. Let’s keep reading to find out how God works powerfully in this situation to keep His perfect promises alive…



  • 2 Kings 24:8-20
  • Jeremiah 37
  • Jeremiah 38


Pray… to stay true to God’s message, whatever the world throws at you.

Day 205 – Jehoiachin (Southern King 8 years) & Zedekiah (Southern King 11 years)

Jeremiah jailed

  • After King Jehoiakim came his son Jehoiachin (original name, huh), who is referred to as Jeconiah in some versions/texts.
  • Jehoiachin only remained for 3 months, but nevertheless did evil in God’s sight. What happened to him? Do you think he had any chance of escaping from the Nebuchadnezzar and his band of invading Babylonians? Note that in some versions the Babylonians are sometimes referred to as “Chaldeans”. They are the same people.
  • Look through the list of all the things that the Babylonian king took when he ransacked the temple in Jerusalem. What do you think would be the equivalent thing that might happen nowadays?
  • This isn’t the main exile of Jerusalem or Judah yet, although this isn’t far off. This is just an early attack, but one which takes a lot of wealth and power away from Judah. It’s quite possible that some of the people taken away at this time included Daniel and his friends (i.e. Daniel who was put in the lions’ den).
  • Zedekiah, the final of 39 kings of Israel and Judah, came to the throne as Jehoiakim was carted off to Babylon. Jeremiah 37 tells us that the new king sent for Jeremiah to “pray for them”. Are the words from God in verses 8-10 encouraging ones though?
  • Jeremiah went to Jerusalem in Jeremiah 37:12. What happened to him there? Whilst in prison, the king sent for him again. The king was desperate for some good news (don’t forget that Jerusalem has just been besieged), but the honest Jeremiah can only bring God’s message of judgement. Remember my comments yesterday about having the bravery to share God’s word truthfully, even when it’s hard? Here’s another great example.
  • Even after prison, Jeremiah continued to share God’s message faithfully in Jeremiah 38. What unpleasant thing did the officers do with him?
  • A cistern is a hole in the ground, usually for holding water. It would fill quickly during periods of rain. It would have been impossible to get out, and had Jeremiah been left there, he would have drowned in the mud or died of starvation. God promised to be with Jeremiah though. What happened to save him?
  • Jeremiah 38 ends with the prophet having a final conversation with the king. Now that God is about to bring the promised punishment on Jerusalem, the king was urged to surrender to the Babylonian invaders. Did he?


Tomorrow we’ll read about one of the darkest days in Israel’s history, as the Babylonians return to finish the job of rioting the nation and exiling the people. At this point, the entire country – once a proud nation united under King David – will have been practically wiped out.


On the eve of reading that, spend a little time flicking back through the kings, from the early ones who rules over the nation, to the mess made by those who followed, and the few that attempted to stay strong to the Word of their Redeemer Lord. In the 500 years or so that encompassed these 42 kings, think about how the culture and the understanding (and trust) in God might have shifted from the days of the judges. What do you think might have been similar, and what would have been different, to the way we look back at biblical history nowadays? What do you think the people must have been thinking about and feeling as the ability of Judah to defend itself ebbed away?


Don’t forget, however, the plans God still had for the people, and His promise that they would only be away for 70 years (which we read about yesterday). It might have been tough to hear or respond to this message at the time – as indeed it can be in the heat of our difficulties too – but God’s promises are always faithfully kept. Those who continued to trust in that truth had hope to hold onto whilst in exile, as we’ll read in time.


  • 2 Kings 24:1-7
  • Jeremiah 25:1-14
  • Jeremiah 36


Pray… that (even when it’s complicated!) you treat the bible as the very special word of God that it is.

Day 204 – Jehoiakim (Southern King 11 years) #2

Jeremiah’s prophecy (re: 70 years) to Jehoiakim destroyed


  • Continuing with in the reign of Jehoiakim, today’s readings once again focus on the major prophet of the day, Jeremiah. Meaning, Jehoiakim is busy trying to work out which foreign king to pal up with (should it be the Babylonians, or the Egyptians?); he ends up offering himself to both, when of course it should have been neither.
  • According to the words we read in Jeremiah 25, how long had Jeremiah been speaking God’s messages to the people of Judah? Had the people listened? How would you feel if you were Jeremiah, sharing a message to a people who ignored it?
  • What prophecy did Jeremiah give about the destruction of Jerusalem? How long does God, in Jeremiah 25, say that the people will be held in captivity?
  • 70 years has some interesting consequences. Firstly it means that most, if not all, of the people to be exiled would die away from their home. Only their children would return to Judah (and Israel). Secondly, God had a rule that the farmland should be “rested” (i.e. no crops grown on it) once every 7 years. This rule had not been kept by the people for so long that the land was “owed” around 70 years’ rest! I bet the people didn’t realise God was keeping the peoples’ rules for them during this time!
  • In Jeremiah 36, we see Jeremiah – again – bringing God’s messages to the king. By now he has been banned from entering the temple in Jerusalem, because the king hated hearing him, but that didn’t stop him. Who did Jeremiah send instead?
  • The message written to the king included the damning words of God to Jehoiakim and his people. What happened when Baruch read the scroll in the temple (before the king heard it)?
  • When Baruch was taken to the court to meet the king, he read the scroll again. What was the arrogant response of the king? Jeremiah 36:24 indicates that the king didn’t seem to care two hoots about the words Baruch was sharing from God. 
  • How did Baruch and Jeremiah respond to the king burning the scroll? Do you admire their patience and persistence?!



We’re getting closer and closer to the inevitable exile of Judah, and today we had clear details about what that time would be like.


Whilst I hope you’re enjoying each day and learning more about yourself and God through the lives of the people, I can appreciate that these days are hard reading. Jeremiah isn’t always easy to read or understand, and the mini high of day 200 is now gone, replaced with another trek to the next milestone!


Don’t worry if you don’t remember the intricacies of the events of Baruch, and other such smaller story-lines. Do try and understand each day’s events well, and write helpful notes, but if some of the specifics fade as the weeks go by then that’s OK. You’ll still recall bits and pieces next time you read this part of Scripture again. Do, however, continue to read with a clear mind, a desiring heart to get closer to God, and a good understanding about the history you’re reading. Treat day 204 just like day 1, because it’s equally God’s word and therefore equally mind-blowing that we get to read it at all.


  • 2 Kings 23:31-37
  • Jeremiah 26
  • Jeremiah 28


Pray… that out of all the voices and messages you hear, you’ll have the wisdom to focus on those that are biblical.

Day 203 – Jehoiakim (Southern King 11 years)

Jeremiah’s message to Jehoiakim vs. Hananiah’s message


  • Today we’re meeting another of the kings of Judah, but with an emphasis on spending more time looking at the “weeping prophet”, Jeremiah.
  • The introductory verses in 2 Kings 23 show that after three months king Jehoahaz was deported. Where did he end up living? Who took his place, and what was he renamed to? This new king, Jehoiakim, was put in place by the Pharaoh in Egypt, so it’s no surprise to read in verse 35 that he “taxed the land to give the money according to the command of Pharaoh”. Jehoiakim was basically a puppet, being controlled by the foreign ruler.
  • During this time, the prophet Jeremiah was vocal with messages from God. We read what he says in Jeremiah 26. What was the warning message from God that came through in this chapter?
  • Did God still want to give His people a chance to repent?
  • How did the people who heard Jeremiah’s words react to them? Imagine being Jeremiah at the time. Would you have been scared?
  • Jeremiah was spared death. In Jeremiah 26:16-19 we hear why. What did the wiser elders give as the reason?
  • Have you ever needed to give a difficult message to someone, like Jeremiah did? How did they react? In future situations where you may have to give a difficult message, can you learn anything from Jeremiah?
  • In contrast to Jeremiah, we read in chapter 28 about a false prophet, Hananiah. Hananiah preached a different message, supposedly “from God”, in Jeremiah 28:1-4. What did he claim?
  • How did Jeremiah counter this false message? Look at the clear words in verses Jeremiah 28:15-17 to find out what God thinks about people who tell lies in His name!



There are people around us all who act a bit like the prophets we meet today. I don’t mean that they actually are prophets, of course, but we are continually getting advice from many sources. How good are you at working out which are the false messengers, like Hananiah, and which are the true, like Jeremiah? It’s not always easy to know, especially when both sound convincing.


When it comes to advice about how to live out your Christian life, what can you do to learn about who is giving you good advice, and who is not?


Well, apart from the obvious things such as your own character judgements, your first step should be to see if what they’re saying is biblical. Have the things that you have been taught, both in the church, by leaders, by friends, etc, been words backed up by Scripture?


A second thought to consider is whether the messengers in your life are telling you what you need to hear, or what you want to hear. Good advice can often be tough advice, especially when it comes to sin. Advice which permits or encourages a sinful pattern of behaviour is not good advice!


Thirdly, be careful about messengers in your life that teach legalistic adherence to the Word of God. Someone may tell you that you can do something, or shouldn’t do something, because the bible doesn’t specifically mention it. Does that always mean you are free to follow that advice? Does it still honour God?


Finally, remember that all human messengers are just that – human. God can, of course, with powerfully through the people in your life, but we all get things wrong. Youth leaders, vicars, parents, the lot. I’d certainly recommend listening carefully to the advice of all three sets of people, of course, but they aren’t always right, and can teach you things that are wrong, through misunderstanding, ignorance or misinterpretation. Scripture is without fault, but people are not! Practice considering all the advice you get against what you know the Bible to say.


Pray about this tonight!