I share some scripture and some pondering from this morning...
The book of Daniel is part historical narrative and part apocalyptic (revelatory, prophetic) literature. For my thoughts and prayer today, I do not focus very deeply on either of these parts but instead give attention to Daniel as a human - a godly man who is highly esteemed.
Daniel, along with other young men from Israel's royal family and the nobility, was captured in Jerusalem as the Babylonians invaded and overtook Israel in about 605BC. They were taken to Babylonia where they were chosen to enter the king's service - Daniel 1: 1-7. Sixty plus years later, Daniel was given a revelation which came to him in a vision. The understanding of the revelation came to him from Jesus who spoke to him in the vision.
Daniel is speaking here and he quotes the words Jesus spoke to him in the verses I focus on for these thoughts:
There are several things here that I actually find "shocking!!!"
Daniel 10:10-1310 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia..."
- Daniel's response to Jesus's words is to "tremble!"
Think about this. DANIEL is trembling. DANIEL is afraid.
Who is this Daniel? What do we know about him?
Daniel was one of the young men taken into the king's service because he was...
"...without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace." v. 1:4Daniel was the young man who had the courage to refuse the Babylonian King's rich food and wine because he had...
"resolved not to defile himself." v. 1:8Daniel was given by God...
"knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds." v. 1:17Daniel accurately interpreted the King's dreams and as a result...
"...the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men." v. 2:48Daniel witnessed the miraculous rescue of his three friends from the fiery furnace...
"16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[a] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”Daniel was thrown into the lion's den and miraculously was NOT eaten...
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them." Daniel 3:16-27
"16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”Daniel, the man of prayer who faithfully followed his God even as a young captive in an ungodly country, is now fearfully trembling as a mature man probably nearly 90 years old.
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God." Daniel 6: 16-23
But in the vision, Jesus addresses his trembling by speaking truth to him. Jesus tells him what has happened as a result of his prayers.
"Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them." v. 10:12Jesus tells Daniel his "words" were heard. If Daniel was speaking words before his God, what was he doing?
Yes, he was praying. And what does Jesus tell him was the result of his prayer?
"...I have come in response to them..."v. 10:12But something else astounds me next.
"...the prince of the Persian Kingdom resisted me twenty-one days..." v. 10:13The footnote in my NIV Study Bible explains that the answer to Daniel's prayer is delayed because "apparently a demon is exercising influence over the Persian realm in the interests of Satan. "
This is difficult for me to understand and explain but I focus here on the following facts:
- Daniel's prayer was heard as soon as he prayed it
- God responded to Daniel's prayer
- God was delayed by Satanic intervention in the answer of Daniel's prayer
- Satan's intervention had a time limit allowed but controlled by God
Unknowns may be...
- Situations at work which we aren't certain how to handle
- Situations at home which we aren't certain how to handle
- Unexpected very painful losses
- Decisions about the future which aren't clear and seem nearly hopeless
- Uncertainties about God's will
- Health concerns
- Financial concerns
- Parenting concerns
"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed", he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong."
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said,
"Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength."This is my hope for all who have situations in their lives that make them tremble.
Be strong now; be strong.It helps me to know that someone as great as Daniel also trembled.
You are highly esteemed - Be Strong!