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Becoming More like Christ

December 3, 2023

In Proverbs 29:10-18, the writer addresses and contrasts different types of people - the “bloodthirsty; the fools and the wise; the rulers and the officials; the poor and the oppressors; the king; the children and mothers; and the wicked and the righteous. Clearly, God is interested in and concerned about everyone, for we all fall into one or more of these categories: “the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both” (verse 13). “Sight” symbolizes that God has given all mankind every advantage, benefit, and opportunity - we all have eyes to see - but how we look at things determines the categories into which we fall. None of us is forced to be bloodthirsty, foolish, oppressive, or wicked. We fall into negative categories by the choices we make, but in Scripture, God warns us over and over again to make good decisions. Notice God’s preferred choices for us: “fairness; a rod and reprimand for wisdom; discipline; righteousness; revelation; and instruction” (verses 14-18). We need to set our “eyes” on these choices.

In 1 John 2-3, John advises us to continue in Christ. God has “lavished great love on us” and we “are His children” (3:1-2), so we need to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our family name. Daily, we are to “purify ourselves” (verse 3) that we may become more like Christ.

In Daniel 8:15-27, we see the angel Gabriel explain the meaning of the vision we read about yesterday - the ram and the goat. We see that the ram represents the empire of Media-Persia and the goat portrays Greece (verses 20-22). Out of those empires, “when rebels have become completely wicked, a master of intrigue will arise” (verse 23). These events took place about 174-168 BC when Antiochus IV Epiphanies overtook the Jews and desecrated the temple - foreshadowing what the Antichrist will do in the tribulation.

In Daniel 9:1-19, we find one of the most important prayers in all of Scripture. Daniel says that he “pleaded with God in prayer and petition” (verse 3), confessing his and Israel’s sins - “done wrong; been wicked; rebelled; turned away from God’s commands; not listened; been unfaithful; not obeyed; transgressed (verses 4-ff.) …” - a whole laundry list of sins. By contrast, Daniel points out that “God is righteous in everything He does” (verse 14). We all find ourselves and our own similar sins somewhere in Daniel’s prayer. It is vitally important that we, like Daniel, go before the Lord in prayer and confess our sins - that we say the same thing that God says about them - “we have sinned.” In verses 18-19, Daniel cries out for mercy and forgiveness.

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