Friday, April 16

Reader: “Please speak to me, my lord,” 

Response: “for you have strengthened me.”

Scripture: Daniel 10:2-19

When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.

On April 23, as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.

Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.

Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”

Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “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.”

Reader: “The word of the Lord.”

Response: “Thanks be to God.”

Some thoughts:  

The nature of this passage is definitely different from the previous pericopes. The books of Daniel and Revelation in particular are filled with prophetic visions. As such, we are reminded that the Bible is a library of different kinds of literature . . .  history, poetry, letters, doctrine, theology, ecclesiology, and prophecy. This portion of Daniel is concerned with preparing Daniel for the vision that is to come in the future.

Notice prophets never ask for visions of the coming days, they just come at God’s determination. On another note, you may find it strange that the Bible puts in a specific date like April 23rd. Working with the ancient Hebrew calendars and the very specific records of the Persians, the date of this heavenly visit to Daniel is actually April 23, 536 B.C. Now to the text itself. 

The description of the man dressed in linen is remarkably similar to the description of the Son of Man in Revelation 1:13-16. Scholars are not sure whether this person is an angelic being or Jesus himself. On another note, as happens in other places in Scripture, not everyone present saw or heard the same thing when a miraculous event happened. Remember in another instance, when people said it thundered but Jesus heard the Father speak (Jn.12:28-30). Such was the case here. The people sensed something supernatural was going on, became fearful and ran away leaving only Daniel. The supernatural can bring fear.

I’d like you to put yourself in the place of Daniel. You are all alone. You are seeing a frightening figure of a man standing before you. He addresses you and you pass out face down. Sudden visits from heavenly beings generally produced great fear in humans which I can fully understand! As you lay on the ground with your face in the sand, a hand touches your shoulder and lifts you up to stand on your trembling feet. I would still be petrified as to what was going on. I don’t know if this being who lifted me is friend or foe. Then I hear words for the first time. “Daniel you are precious to God.” And I’m thinking “Good, this is a friend! God is not going to kill me.” There is some relief as I learn this messenger from God has come to tell me what will happen in the future. God has responded to my prayers. At this point I am still unable to talk  until another heavenly being touches my lips. Then I began to speak though still overwhelmed and struggling for breath. I am touched again and my strength returns. I hear for a reassuring second time, “Don’t be afraid, for you are very precious to God.” Then I hear the comforting words “peace, be strong, be encouraged!” That would be some experience. Do you sense the seriousness of Daniel’s call and the importance of the upcoming vision?

So how does this fit with what is happening in your life today on April 16th? A few things to consider, the heavenly being came to Daniel in response to his prayers. Our prayers make a difference, they are not just religious, therapeutic exercises. God does hear them. When you pray, you have the divine ear of the Creator of the universe. So let’s pay attention, we’re not just talking to ourselves! PRAY. Second, every follower of Jesus is precious to God including you and me. YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD. Third, God provides the strength we need to do what he has asked us to. GOD IS YOUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH. Fourth, in the realm of the spiritual world, there are those working for good and those working for evil as evidenced by the reference to Michael, the archangel, in his struggle to come to Daniel. That conflict is not yet over. EVIL IN OUR WORLD IS REAL. In that we are reminded that “we battle not against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of an unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). THERE IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE UNDERWAY TODAY IN THIS WORLD. SEE BEYOND THE SURFACE OF THE NEWS EVENTS. Pray for our nations and our world.

Music: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”  Southwestern University Singers and Festival Mass Choir    arr. Dan Forrest


O Lord God, Thou art my protecting arm, fortress, refuge, shield and buckler. Fight for me and my foes must flee; uphold me and I cannot fall; strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmoveable; equip me and I shall receive no wound; stand by me and Satan will depart; anoint my lips with a song of salvation and I shall shout thy victory. May I discern the deadly viper in its real malignity, tear it with holy indignation from my breast, resolutely turn from its every snare, refuse to hold polluting dalliance with it. Blessed Lord Jesus, at thy cross may I be taught the awful miseries from which I am saved, ponder what the word ‘lost’ implies and see the fires of eternal destruction. Then may I cling more closely to thy broken self, adhere to thee with firmer faith, be devoted to thee with total being, detest sin as strongly as thy love to me is strong, and may holiness be the atmosphere in which I live. These things I pray through Jesus Christ, the Destroyer of all that is evil. Amen.                                                                                     ―The Valley of Vision. p.100