Daniel: Overwhelmed Then Strengthened

We have been camped out in Daniel 10 for a few days as we continue to harvest some great concepts from the text.

As we have seen in Daniel 10, Daniel was fasting, mourning and seeking God’s help for 3 weeks. God will send Daniel answers and comfort, but we will see that God brings a powerful vision that completely zaps the strength from Daniel until he is face down and unable to talk.

When the divine messenger came to Daniel, Daniel was not immediately strengthened and comforted. What happened first? Daniel was overwhelmed by the visions, the mere presence, and the powerful voice of this being. The men who were with Daniel did not see the vision, but just the mere presence of this being brought trembling to those men to where they had to run and hide (verse 7)!

When Daniel saw the vision of this heavenly being (which may be Jesus here, not an angel):

(8) So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength.

As this being spoke to Daniel, here was the initial effect:

(9) Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.

So, Daniel started out mourning, fasting and praying. He then sees the vision and is completely drained of all his strength. As the words of this spiritual being are spoken, Daniel goes into a trance-like state.

Then this heavenly messenger touched Daniel, but Daniel is still trembling.

(10) And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.

Do you see how God is overwhelming Daniel with His power, His presence and His voice? Then and only then, does God lift Daniel up to comfort and strengthen him! This is so awesome, and this is how God works with us all, even if not through a miraculous vision. God wants us to be completely humbled, overwhelmed and in awe of His majesty, so that we can truly be lifted up by His strength.

Here comes the comfort to Daniel by this spiritual messenger.

(11) And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.

(12) Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.

The words of this heavenly being silenced Daniel’s words and took the last bit of energy and strength from Daniel’s body:

(15) When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute.

(16) And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength.”

This is where God wants everyone of us so that we can be filled with His strength and holiness. Look at the question that Daniel asked in verse 17, and ponder it. This is so true. How can we talk with our Lord unless He gives us the strength to do so?

(17) How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”

Once again, we see the comfort from the touch and words of a divine being:

(18) Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me.

(19) And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

If we want God to speak to us, do you know what He is going to tell us? Well, in the next two verses we will see the answer. God will only tell us the truth!

(20) Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come.

(21) But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.

Daniel: Still in Need of Encouragement

Here are a few observations from a sermon by Max Dawson on Daniel 10.

Daniel needed encouragement!

Age, Maturity – Daniel had served God for 70 years, but he still needed encouragement and comfort from God.

Position and Status – Daniel served in a very important position in Babylon, but he still had to receive strength from God.

Experience – Daniel had faced all kinds of trials and adversity in those 70 years, but he still was not above needing help from God.

Knowledge – Daniel was well-acquainted with the word of God, probably knew it backward and forward, but that knowledge was not enough. He still needed encouragement and comfort from God.

So, there you go for today. If you are 15 or 85, you will always need your Father in heaven. Being in need of encouragement and comfort from God is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength.

Daniel: 21 Days

Read the passages below from Daniel 10 and take note that Daniel was mourning, fasting, praying, seeking and reaching out to God. The spiritual messenger from God said that from the moment Daniel started doing this that the angel was sent to Daniel’s aid. But notice this in the verses below: that angel was delayed for 21 days. Daniel was praying for 3 weeks and the angel was delayed for 3 weeks. Think about that and read the passages.

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
(Daniel 10:1-3)

Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
(Daniel 10:12-14)

I don’t have to understand this, but I do accept that sometimes God’s angels are delayed in coming to my aid. The concept of angels being “delayed” or is just hard to wrap my mind around, but that is what this chapter teaches us. They are fighting a battle around me and for me that I can’t even begin to comprehend. There is an enormous spiritual war going on around us (Ephesians 6:10).

This also tells me that when my prayers are delayed in being answered that I can assume that there is more going on that might explain why I am not getting a quick answer. It is not that God is aloof or apathetic, He truly cares and is sending aid to us all the time. But there is more going on in this spiritual warfare that what I am personally undergoing. God will send me aid, He promised it, but it may take a few battles in the spiritual realm before I get the help I requested. In fact, those battles may be directly connected to the answers to my prayers.

Daniel – He Understood by the Books

…I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
(Daniel 9:2-3)

Yesterday, I preached on Daniel 9 and this amazing prayer Daniel makes before God. I’ve already written previously about Daniel’s understanding of the word and how it helped him in his prayer, but I wanted to make a few additional points.

Daniel understood God’s timing and accepted it. You know, Daniel 6:10 tells us that Daniel had been praying toward Jerusalem 3 times a day since he was a youth. So let’s just for argument sake say that Daniel didn’t miss a prayer in all those times. 365 days x 3 times a day x 70 years = 76,650 prayers! Daniel had prayed tens of thousands of times, but God said they would be in Babylon 70 years. The Bible says that Daniel understood the word of Jeremiah. He accepted that until the 70 years were over, he could not ask for God’s people to return home. God calls us to persisently pray, but He also asks us to trust His timing and purpose. He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Daniel had his Bible opened when he prayed. He didn’t compartmentalize Bible study and prayer into separate “acts” or categories. His prayers were connected to his study of the Scriptures. If we’re not doing it, let’s get our Bibles open while we are praying and look at all the wonderful character of God so we can praise Him. How about we point to those promises of God in Scripture while we are praying? We can even quote prayers, because many prayers in the Bible are just as applicable to us today as they were back then.

Another simple point is that God’s word was not lost during the captivity. His word was preserved and traveled hundreds of miles to a heathen kingdom where Daniel was able to study that word while in captivity.

Daniel – The Ever-Changing Rule of Men

One thing you will notice in the book of Daniel is that every king is making up new rules and decrees. These rules range all across the spectrum from being hostile to God all the way to favorable to God and His people. King Nebuchadnezzar made a rule that people need to fall down before his golden image or die a most violent death. That is followed up by another rule prohibiting people from speaking against the God of Israel or they will die a most violent death. Daniel prophesied through the Spirit about future kings that will come and go and make rules and decrees.

This is the way of man and this is the way of man’s kingdoms. They come and go. It is like kids on a playground trying to play a game…the rules are ever-changing and it leads to a lot of fights. In contrast we see God in the book of Daniel and He is consistent, stable and forever. Men come and go, and so do their kingdoms, but His rule is eternal.

There are a few practical thoughts for consideration:

What is my “rule” like in the home? Are my “decrees” like Ole King Neb’s? One day we have one set of rules and then another set of rules based on how we feel the next day? That is one way we can “provoke our children” (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:12) is by always changing the standards, rules and goal posts. With God’s help and with some sound counseling from older parents, we need to have some consistency in our expectation as parents.

Whatever situation we are in, it is temporary. For example, as we look at the governments of men, we may really get discouraged. Seeing for example what is happening in Washington, DC can really grate on us as we watch the power struggle. Remember that the rule of man is temporary, but God’s is eternal.

We can live with the metals if we know the Rock is coming. I heard this point in a lesson by Gary Fisher. The vision of the kingdoms in Daniel 2 tells us that the kingdoms of men (gold, silver, bronze and iron) will be crushed by the stone that becomes an eternal mountain. Remember that the Rock has come, and He is coming again! All the kingdoms of the earth come to dust in the presence and power of the Almighty God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8)

Daniel – For You Have Strengthened Me

And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
(Daniel 10:16-19)

We’ve already looked at the fact that the visions that Daniel and others saw had an exhausting effect upon them. “By reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength.” God’s express purpose is to put these men into a position where they will need both strength and wisdom from him. Daniel will need strength to recover from what he just experienced. He will also need wisdom even to begin to wrap his mind around it and understand it.

Who put Daniel into that condition? God. Who will bring strength back to him? God. This is a consistent pattern throughout Scripture. Who led the Israelites out of Egypt? God. Who brought them right up to the Red Sea so that they would be trapped on one side by the water and on the other side by the pursuing Egyptians? God. Who allowed the Israelites to hunger in the wilderness? God. Who then fed them? God.

What is Daniel experiencing of which we all need reminding? That strength comes from God. The words of this heavenly being and his warm touch upon Daniel brought him strength. Daniel then asked for more of it!

And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

Let’s ask for more of it today, too.

Daniel – But Go Your Way Till The End

“But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
(Daniel 12:13)

The commentator Adam Clarke had four simple points on this verse, and I wanted to share them with you.

Here is proper advice for every man.
1. Thou hast a way – a walk in life, which God has assigned thee; walk in that way, it is thy way.
2. There will be an end to thee of all earthly things. Death is at the door, and eternity is at hand; go on to the end – be faithful unto death.
3. There is a rest provided for the people of God. Thou shalt rest; thy body, in the grave; thy soul, in the Divine favor here, and finally in paradise.
4. As in the promised land there was a lot for each of God’s people, so in heaven there is a lot for thee. Do not lose it, do not sell it, do not let thy enemy rob thee of it. Be determined to stand in thy own lot at the end of the days. See that thou keep the faith; die in the Lord Jesus, that thou mayest rise and reign with him to all eternity. Amen.

Amen.

Daniel – Went About the King’s Business

And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
(Daniel 8:27)

These visions had some incredible impact on Daniel, as well as the kings who saw visions (see also Daniel 2:1,3; 4:5; 5:5-6;7:15,28; 10:2,7-11,15-19). They can’t sleep. All are troubled, afraid and alarmed. Their color changes. It weakens them physically to some point, either their knees knock, or they have no strength.

But what I want to focus in on today is that Daniel, after a few days laying sick, got up and went back to work. Daniel is overwhelmed emotionally. He’s puzzled by these visions, can’t begin to understand them, and he’s waiting for God to explain them. So what does he do in the meantime? He goes back to his job!

That is what Nehemiah did when he was overwhelmed by the reports of the state of his homeland and specifically Jerusalem. Yes, he cried, fasted and prayed, but what did he do after that? He went back to work. It was months before God gave him a clear answer.

This is what God expected of the Christians in Thessalonica. They were convinced God was going to come back anytime, so many were sitting around waiting. No work was getting done. Paul encouraged them in the first letter and then warned them sharply in the second letter that they need to get back to work – it’s God’s will (1 Thes. 4:11; 2 Thes. 3:1-15).

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
(Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Daniel – The Way of Exile

Today’s post is a link to a video by the Bible Project on the Way of Exile. In this video is a fantastic point about the decision Daniel and his 3 friends made while living in a Babylonian culture. We today are still living in a Babylonian culture.

The Bible Project – The Way of the Exile


“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:13-16)

Daniel – They, their children, and their wives

Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
(Daniel 6:23-24)

Today’s passage from Daniel is a sobering reminder of the consequences of our actions as men and how it affects our children and our wives.

These men had “maliciously accused Daniel.” They wanted him out of the way and even if that meant he was killed, the ends justified the means. Because of their hatred for Daniel, they even went to great lengths to manipulate the king into making a law that would be adverse to Daniel’s faith. They set the king up and used him like a pawn so they could dispense with Daniel. Once the king was wise to all of this, he was full of righteous wrath and threw every one of these men and their families into the den of lions.

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
(Proverbs 26:27)

It is a serious warning for us today that our envy, pride, anger, lust and hatred can wreak serious havoc on our families. That was a horrible day for all of those families. Imagine how awful the sight would have been to see those wives and little kids being thrown into the very mouths of lions. And this was all because hubby/daddy had a malicious heart that craved power.

I got a Christmas card in the mail this week. It made me so sad for that family. Here is another woman now without her husband having Christmas pictures taken with her kids. Where’s daddy? He’s not there anymore because other things/ladies took his heart away from them.

Take your role seriously, guys. Where you lead as men will either take your family to green pastures or to the lion’s den. It’s your choice.