“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
Daniel 10.19 NLT
Did you notice that by speaking, the one who appeared to be a human being, but was not, strengthened Daniel? God’s word strengthens. What else does this verse tell us about God’s dealings with man?
As we began our lesson this morning during Bible class, someone made a simple but good point about Daniel’s request for God’s help concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Their point was that God was with Daniel even in Babylon. That’s a point worth thinking about!
God had not “stayed at home” in Jerusalem when the captivity began. God was willing to follow Daniel to Babylon because Daniel was willing to follow God in Babylon.
So while we may think Daniel only had three close friends travel with him as he left the earthly Zion behind … the fact is, Daniel had at least four.
““Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?” (Jeremiah 23:23 NKJV)
I went to a revival at a sister congregation last night where a brother by the name of Eddie Sanders, of the University church of Christ in Charlotte, North Carolina, (click here for some of his recorded sermons) was preaching.
His topic, from Daniel chapter 1, was about resisting the world’s push on the church and her members to conform and accept things contrary to God’s will in places like social media, entertainment and the work place. He summed it up with the attitude that we should have by saying, “If God doesn’t like it, we’re not supposed to like it.”
He did a great job by using Daniel and his friends as examples of how the world tries to change us as God’s people living in a foreign land (sound like a New Testament verse to you?).
Here’s a quick little outline that I jotted down:
- the admonition to be different from the world (Titus 2:11-12)
- the world will try to change our language (Daniel 1:3)
- the world will try to change our diet (Daniel 1:5)
- the world will try to change our name (Daniel 1:7)
- but we must not let the world change our God (Daniel 1:8)
- the results of staying faithful to God (Daniel 1:17-21)
In Daniel 9, Daniel records that when Darius the Mede began to reign over the Chaldeans, he (Daniel) read the prophecy of Jeremiah about the number of years that were left to complete the desolation of Jerusalem. Daniel then uttered one of the humblest, most heartfelt, honest prayers recorded in Scripture. While he was still praying, Gabriel came to him and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”
Two things here give me chills. First, the phrase you are highly esteemed. Men have speculated for millennia about the nature of events in the spiritual realm. One would think that in such heavenly assemblies, men would be regarded as lowly and weak. What are men in comparison with angels–at least at this point in time? Yet the text here says that Daniel was highly esteemed. Angels held Daniel in high regard. What a compliment paid to the value and worth of those who do what is right in the eyes of God.
Second, the command was issued at the beginning of Daniel’s supplications. They didn’t even wait until he was done praying! Yet it seems that the command could not be issued until he prayed. How many blessings do we miss out on because we simply do not ask?
Lord, give us the courage to pray, the wisdom to know what to pray for, and the integrity that allows us to be heard.