What is it about Daniel.....

And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.  And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved(some translations say "highly esteemed"), 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.  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 10:10-14

This passage describes a time in the life of Daniel when he was fervently praying for answers and help…and none came.  Yet he persevered, trusting that God would respond.  And, oh, how He did! God sent an angel to deliver a message to his servant Daniel.  In the chapters that follow this encounter, God gave to Daniel a vision that reveals His plan for history.  After all, it is HISstory! J  We aren’t looking at that vision but I urge you to examine it for yourself.  It is so very exciting, especially since we are in the opportune place to be able to look back and see the precise fulfillment of His revelation…and we can look forward in anticipation of His fulfilling the rest – hopefully in our very near future!

For today, let’s just look at these few verses from Daniel 10 and marvel at the wonders of our mighty God!  He sent a messenger – an angel to Daniel. What are angels?  They are created beings, spiritual beings without physical bodies that you and I can see…unless God chooses to put them in visible form to accomplish a mission or unless He opens our spiritual eyes for us to view them.  Whichever He choose in this case, we know that Daniel saw this angel!  One moment he was praying his knees off and the next, he saw this messenger. And received an explanation of what took so long.  He was engaged in spiritual combat with another messenger – one that was also created and has missions…but is opposed to the King of Kings.  And, based on this passage, seeks to detain the messengers of God from fulfilling their missions.
Let’s ponder that for a moment. Right now, at this very moment, an unseen war is being waged all around you and me.  Just because we cannot see it does not make it any less true.  (You cannot see electricity, can you?  Or wind?  But you can definitely see their effects! And if you are confident of their existence, you can harness their power for your benefit) 

There are indeed wars going on all around us.  Wars that we cannot see, where the forces of God are wrestling with the forces of the Enemy.  Just like the angels of God are on a mission, so are these other messengers.  Once, in Eternity past, these beings were created to fulfill God’s purposes and plans.  Satan himself was one of these.  Ezekiel 28:12-19 describes his past place of prominence before God…and his subsequent fall into eternal damnation.  When Satan (Lucifer)’s pride corrupted him out of Heaven, Scripture reveals to us that 1/3 of God’s angels – his “stars of heaven” – followed him in blind arrogance.

These are the spiritual beings that seek to prevent humans from coming to Christ, to frustrate the transformation into Christlikeness of those that do, and to actually rob the saints not only of unity and joy but literally of life.  For this reason, Ephesians 6 tells us that “our struggle(battle)is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the power, and the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness”.  It’s easy to forget that, isn’t it?  In our daily living, we can often get the enemy confused.  We can think instead that it is our job or our church or our family.  Sometimes we even think that God is our enemy!  And when we get the enemy confused, we fight the wrong one.  Just like Satan wants us to. We wrestle against our circumstances or political parties or our spouse, hoping to make them change, hoping to “win” our way.

But we see from Daniel that’s the wrong war to wage, the wrong place to be.

Where was Daniel waging the war?  On his hands and knees.

And that’s where the answer came to him. 

What was it about Daniel that caused God to grant favor to him, to have an angel deem him "highly esteemed"?  What is it about Daniel that we should want to emulate?

 Here is what I see:

1.  Humility   While it is true that we cannot earn God’s favor, it is also true that He commits Himself to pour out His grace on the humble and to set Himself in opposition to the proud.  Daniel is humble.  Humble enough to pray.  On his face.  (He had to be brought UP to be on his hands and knees!) Before God.  Crying out, asking for answers and help and strength.  If we want what Daniel had (and we should), we have to know that being a person that God shows Himself to mightily begins with our recognition of our place before Him, our need of Him, and our faith in Him.  Humility

2. Perseverance   If we are tempted to think that humility sounds like weakness, this trait will underscore that it is definitely not.  This passage shows us that, yes, Daniel humbled himself to pray but he did more than that.  He persevered when the answers didn’t come. He didn’t quit.  He didn’t claim “well I tried but it didn’t work” and then give up.  He pressed on, apparently in the midst of an intense struggle.  He might not have been able to see the battle being fought around him but he knew that his part was to keep praying and not give up.

3.  Resolve  I love this about Daniel.  He had resolve.  Scripture puts it this way – “set your heart to understand”.  This is not the first mention of Daniel’s resolve; in the very first chapter of the same book, we read that “Daniel made up his mind” about his conduct and acted accordingly.  Yes, God will accomplish His plan through whomever He chooses and yes, it’s all grace working through those He chooses but when we set our mind to obey Him, to seek to understand, to humble ourselves before Him in desperate need of His grace, well, that’s when He moves in response.

May we dare to be a Daniel today.