The Debilitating Display (Daniel 10)

What’s going on with the world? Have you asked yourself that question recently?

Often, it seems like the world is out of control! What will happen next? Who can guess?!

Sometimes it seems like the world is being controlled by powerful people. They get what they want. The rules don’t apply to them. But they get to say what the rules should be for everyone else.

Or we might get the feeling that the world is being controlled by evil forces. It can seem like there is something bigger at work behind the individuals and organisations trying to achieve their agenda. Is there something connecting and empowering the bad influences in our world?

Our understanding of our world is very limited. True, we know much more information about our world than any other time in history! But what we know is limited to what we see and what we experience, and what we can learn from other people. In a way, we can’t see the whole forest because all we can see are the individual trees.

But there is a different perspective on our world. In the Bible, God speaks the truth to us about ourselves and the universe that we live in. His perception is not limited like ours is. And His understanding is complete and perfect. Not only because He is the Truth, but because He is the Creator of everything, seen and unseen.

Daniel learned that, over 70 years, through a series of visions:

  • In chapter 2, God gave him the interpretation of the king’s dream: a statue representing successive powerful empires was destroyed by a rock representing God’s kingdom.
  • In chapter 7, God showed Daniel the very same kingdoms, this time looking like mighty beasts. But they were all held to account by the Ancient of Days.
  • In chapter 8, God showed Daniel the last two of those kingdoms as a Ram and a Goat, fighting it out for power.
  • In chapter 9, God spoke again. Daniel was praying because of these dreams and because of God’s promises to restore His people from exile in Babylon. And God promised an even greater deliverance: Jesus, God’s Anointed One, would be put to death to put an end to sin and its consequences.

Each of those visions zooms in on the previous one. Each one gets more detailed, and more realistic. And the same is true here in chapters 10-12. Here, in one epic vision, God focuses in even more on the third kingdom. And instead of images of unimaginable beasts, God shows Daniel explicitly that the future actions of human kings are under His control.

But even before we get there, there’s a bigger question to answer: Is God in control at all? And if He is, what does it mean for us?

What God will show us here is that we cannot understand our world without understanding God and how He rules our world. As God tells us here in Daniel 10, it is impossible to understand our world by looking exclusively at the human influences at play. What happens here is intimately connected to what happens in the spiritual world.

That understanding could leave us trembling. It might seem that our world is controlled, or at least influenced by evil forces we cannot see. But what God shows us here is that He is in control of the spiritual world too, and so He is the one we should turn to for help.

And if we are Christians, we have the privilege of speaking directly to God, wherever we are. So, why would we pray?

Published by Stephen McDonald

Christian, preacher, broadcaster

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