Daniel, Chapter 10
This chapter begins with the last mention of, Cyrus, and the chapter is an introduction to the detailed prophecies concerning Israel’s future in chapter eleven. After this, the camera then swings out into eternity in chapter twelve. Therefore chapters’ ten to twelve can be seen as one unit.
By this time Daniel would have been around eighty-five years old at yet he was going to receive another revelation from God. God was going to make Daniel aware of some of the spiritual dynamics going on and then focus in on some future events. The prophetic vision that Daniel receives is brought by a being from heaven and occurs on the twenty-fourth day of the first month (v4). This first month would have been ‘Nisan’ (meaning ‘beginning’, ‘opening’), early April.
Daniel is still focused on the Lord
From this date (24th April) we see that Daniel’s fast must have been during what would have been the time of Passover and unleavened bread in the Judaic calendar. Yet during this time meat and wine would have been consumed; so why did Daniel refrain from this?
In all probability, Daniel’s extra-long fast (three weeks) would have been a means of identification with what had been going on in the rebuilding programme at Jerusalem. Cyrus had recently allowed exiles to return to the city and start rebuilding the temple. Due to the discouragement and opposition from people in and around Jerusalem, this construction had come to a temporary halt (Ezra 4:4-5).
In Daniel’s genuine concern for his people, we see a man whose heart is involved with all that is going on. He has not detached himself from the fate of his people or allowed himself to be lulled into the security of “I’m OK” which in reality is the beginning of the loss of freedom for those who narrow their vision. Daniel is not a spectator, he is a participator. He is not a critic and does not stand on the touchline or sit on a wall and pass judgement on others. Daniel is someone who rolls his sleeves up and gets involved: mentally, physically and spiritually. The work of humanity is not going to succeed unless it is open to the power of heaven and Daniel is a man who continually sought God.
Chapter ten is going to morph into chapter eleven and in chapter eleven we read of many prophecies that were to be fulfilled in history. In light of this, we pause to look at what prophetic speech is before continuing our journey.
In scripture, we see that on many occasions a prophet would be sent to remind people that history does not begin or continue with human ability. It begins with God who holds all things together (Gen 1:1, John 1:1). Therefore prophetic speech challenges a world that seeks safety and security in its own plans and actions to look to the Creator.
“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
Prophecy assures us that God is both the Master and Interpreter of all history; past, present and future, and that He holds all life in His hands – including ours. He is the compassionate One who continues His work of reconciliation as He reaches out in grace and mercy and at great cost to self.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”
At the very core of what a prophet says and does is God’s concern for man. God is not an absent landlord, but someone who involves Himself in life in every way and expects us to live out our lives with the same heart that saved us.
“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
Prophetic ministry is a ministry of revelation in that a prophet sees the world within the framework of God’s thinking, with a clear understanding of His nature and character. In the words of the prophets, the people are reminded about who they belong to and just who it is that is the Master of all things.
One of the ways that God’s concern can be seen for His people is found in the names of many of the prophets – for example, Isaiah (God saves, has saved), Ezekiel (God will strengthen) and Nehemiah (God Consoles). This loving-kindness and concern for man is also clearly seen in the naming of His incarnate Son ‘Jesus’ (saviour), who is ‘Immanuel’ (God with us) Mat 1:23.
Whenever the prophets challenged Israel, they did so in the context of covenant and in the appearance of God’s prophets we see a God who effectively says “I am here because I keep covenant, and because my love for you does not diminish.”
The danger of ignoring God
One of the great dangers in ignoring what God says in regards to how we are to live is that, in ignoring God we make Him no more than a being who is possessed by man but not encountered by man. What I mean by this is that God becomes no more than a lucky charm or on-call doctor or guru to help us in our own building programme. Religion then becomes something that is totally subjective and takes place entirely within man rather than between man and the One True God.
Yet in Jesus (the true prophet), we have the speech of eternity translated into the action of time, dare we even say it: God made simple. In Jesus, we see God stooping low to lift up those who deserve nothing but death. He is the prophesied Prophet (Deut 18:18). Now back to Daniel.
In Daniel’s vision, one of heaven’s messengers stood before Daniel and was clothed in linen. Linen was used in the priest’s garments in the tabernacle and temple (Ex 39:27) and elsewhere of speaks of wealth and power. There before Daniel, was one who exercises a priestly role in that he had received from God and passed on to man. This angelic being was sent in response to the command of the One who answers prayer. Heaven is always willing to communicate with earth.
Heaven communicates with earth
Despite the history of man’s rebellious ways, there has always been a continuous revelation in scripture of communication from a heaven that is present. Whether in Jacob’s stairway (Gen 26:12), or the death of Stephen who was given a vision of heaven (Acts 7:55-56), we see grace and mercy in action.
Elsewhere in scripture, Paul speaks of a person being caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2) and in Rev 4:1 we read of John being called to the throne of God. In a very real way, heaven and earth co-exist and understanding this helps to avoid the mistake of divorcing the spiritual from the physical – heaven reaches out to earth. In John 1:51, Jesus likens Himself to this gateway in saying, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” It is through Jesus that we experience the presence of God (John 10:7-10), and it is through Jesus that we are, in position, ‘seated in heavenly realms.’
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
The heavenly priest before Daniel wears linen and gold (speaking of purity Job 23:10) and with a body like chrysolite (a golden yellow gem). The power and purity of this being is other-worldly, yet communicates truth. His face is like lightning with eyes like flaming torches - this conveying the holiness of God. God is the One who sees the real motives of the heart, knows every thought and how our thinking was ‘birthed’ in the first place. The arms and legs of the heavenly messenger are then spoken of as like burnished bronze, but why bronze?
The altar where the sacrifices were made in the Tabernacle was made of brass and therefore brass was seen as a symbol of judgment (Ex 27:1-8). The purpose of judgement is to restore harmony in God’s universe. We then read that the voice of the angelic messenger of truth is like a multitude (v5-6) – a sound that would drown out all other noise.
In this description, we have a small insight into the awesome power and purity of heaven with one of the King of kings messengers appearing in a way that conveyed purity and, by his very presence, both blessing and judgement. Many would say this is the pre-incarnate Christ, especially when looking at the vision of Christ in Revelation. However the picture in Revelation goes far beyond this one. In Revelation, the voice of Jesus is like rushing waters and in His hand are seven stars. Out of His mount comes a sharp double-edged sword and He speaks of Himself as the First and the Last, the Living One who was dead and is alive for evermore (Rev 1:15-18). The role of the prophet, priest, king as well as that of angels, all point to Jesus who is the prophet, Priest, King and Angel. In Him, we see the full extent of God’s love in that this All-Powerful One is also the ‘Sacrificed One’ who stood in our place.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, O God."
God did not need sacrifice
The whole sacrificial system throughout scripture can seem macabre to many in our modern world who think we have now grown beyond what they would assume are ‘primitive beliefs’. Yet we forget that sacrifice was never put in place for God’s benefit – it was brought in for ours. Let us also remember that none of the covenant sacrifices in the Old Testament had any power in and of themselves – it was what they pointed to that counts. They point to God as the provider of redemption.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”
In this part of our studies, we see that Daniel is now totally overcome by that which appears before him, as was the case with Isaiah. Isaiah receives a vision of the Lord seated on a throne (Isaiah 6) with angelic beings proclaiming God’s holiness. Isaiah instantly realises his moral bankruptcy and calls out ‘Woe is me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." (Is 6:5). God then meets him at his point of confession and God’s story with man continues: despite Israel’s waywardness, there will be a Messiah (Isaiah 53) God is going to live with man and the spiritual and the physical are going to connect.
The spiritual dimension and living from His world to ours
In our thinking, the spiritual dimension of life is thought of (if at all) as somewhere ‘out there’ and divorced from reality. The truth is that it is this world that is divorced from reality and has become the ‘out there’, the ‘separated place’ far removed from the truth. Yet heaven and earth ‘touch’ in that there is a God-given rescue plan where God becomes personally involved. For example, in John 1:51 Jesus likens Himself to this gateway between the ‘separated place’ and the holy of holies in saying, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man"
“The man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The one with the cauliflower ear and split lip. By whose swollen eye and ruptured spleen we are somehow healed”.
F. Buechner in, ‘Telling the Truth’ p 21.
In a very real sense, when we look at what Jesus says and does, we see Him bringing His world with Him; a world that through His grace and mercy is within our reach. All the resources of heaven are available for us, not to use at will, but to engage with as we serve Him in the bigger picture. As one man once put it, “Jesus wants us to see reality from God’s perspective; to learn to live from His world toward the visible world. We belong to God, see Him as He reveals Himself and seek to understand self and the world around us in the light of His word.” The problem in not doing so is easily seen from the following words of Professor Dallas Willard in his book, ‘Renovation of the Heart.’
“A right conception of God is vital, but so is a right conception of ourselves. The modern world often values appearance over reality, and many people suffer from an image of themselves which is false. They fear they are not clever, not good-looking, not talented, not valuable and not loveable. They are then tempted either to despair – to live down to their image of themselves, or to succeed – to prove others wrong.”
Prof Dallas Willard in, “Renovation of the Heart” p 72.
I am His
Living from God’s world towards the visible world means that I accept His view of my life before all else. I accept who I am in Him no matter the circumstances I find myself in. I am made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), adopted into His family (Eph 1:5), and sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30) who is likened to a deposit (Eph 1:14), guaranteeing the life to come. I am part of the Temple (the King’s household) inhabited by the Holy Spirit, (1 Cor 3:16) cherished and dearly loved.
Although Daniel would not have been aware of some of the truths we have just mentioned, we see that in his words and the way that he lived his life, Daniel was aware of who he belonged to and just how precious his life was to God.
Daniel was confronted with the power and presence of another world and certainly did not have full understanding. Yet he was aware of the real world, as the perfection of heaven spoke into the place of rebellion. The place of untainted sin was reaching out to fallen man; the Master of history was responding to his prayer.
The ageing captive who held a position of power in a pagan empire is then told that he is highly esteemed (meaning greatly loved) and not to be afraid. Daniel is also told that his prayer had been heard immediately but that he had been held up by the Prince of the Persian kingdom. Michael the archangel had then come to help because he had been detained by the King of Persia.
The background to this resistance was probably the earthly conflict that is mentioned in Ezra - chapter four - and in all of this, we see a small window into the spiritual battle that is going on. But why is Michael spoken of as a prince?
In order to understand why Michael is spoken of as a prince, we need to understand how the people of the day viewed the position of a prince. In Daniel’s day, the king’s son or advocate would be the one to go out and deal with trouble in the kingdom. This is why the word ‘prince’ (to the Hebrew mind), speaks of ‘the devouring man; the one who holds dominion over.” Note, for example, that Jesus is spoken of as the Prince of Peace by Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6). This meant that the Messiah would one day come to bring judgement, destroy evil and restore harmony in His world.
The peace of Jesus
In Jesus’ ministry, we see Him disrupting the oppressive thinking present in the Roman Empire and the dead religious pseudo-peace of Judaism. He came to destroy the authority of fallen man, which so often cripples, distorts and separates man from fellow man.
“On a grey, rainy day in November 1990, a church ground-breaking ceremony took place in the Boston area…Church planting is tough in the rocky spiritual soil of New England, and the new facility was innovative. Two congregations – of separate Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus – were combining under one roof as a living demonstration of the human dividing walls being broken down by the cross of Christ.”
Oz Guiness in ‘No God but God, page 81
Even in the very worst of situations, men and women have continued to testify to the goodness and presence of God with them. One such testimony comes from, Terry Waite, who was an Anglican minister and hostage negotiator in the early 1980’s. In 1987 he travelled to Lebanon to secure the release of four hostages and was himself kidnapped and held captive from 1987 to 1991. Terry spent over four years in captivity, most of which was in solitary confinement. In his book, “Taken on Trust” Terry writes of the attempts of his gaolers to inflict increasing difficulty on his life and in recounting one experience said:
“My door is opened and I am told to fasten my blindfold and keep it on. Several people come into the room and begin to dismantle the wardrobe. Then I hear the ominous sound of an electric drill followed by hammering. My heart sinks deeper and deeper. When the work is finished and the door locked, I remove the covering from my eyes. Metal sheets cover the French windows. A light bulb gives off a weak yellow glow, flickers and goes out. My fresh air and light have gone and I am once again living in a tomb.”
Terry Waite in, ‘Taken on Trust’ p304.
Throughout Terry’s book about his ordeal, he continually talks about his trust in the Lord and towards the end of his book and a week after his release he writes:
“I recall the words that were discovered written on the wall of a cellar in which a victim of Hitler’s persecution hid and died: “I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love where feeling is not. I believe in God even if he is silent.”
T. Waite in, ‘Taken on Trust’ p 358
Jesus came to break our trust and dependence on self, so that we can embrace wholeness and healing in Him. Jesus is the true Judge, and the picture of a judge in His day was that of one who brings freedom. Jesus knows exactly how all things should be. He is the way to perpetual life – the door to life. This is why He says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9-10).
The peace that Jesus offers is a peace that is the reality and effect of reconciliation with God: He alone can bring us home. He alone can truly set us free from destructive thought patterns and unbalanced minds. He is the all-powerful One who offers freedom, wholeness and well-being, and His peace is like nothing else on earth; so what exactly is this peace like? It is a peace that is not all about absence of trouble, but instead is about the presence of Person. His peace is the presence of the All-Powerful One who seeks to bring about the re-establishment of right relationships with God, self and others.
Jesus is the One who cast out demons and helped people bring about change even in the most debilitating of circumstances and brings hope into seemingly hopeless situations ( Widow of Nain: Luke 7:11; Ex-prostitute: 7:36f). All of this, in a very real way, is the way of peace, the restoring of relationships and the making new of that which was broken through the intervention of divine love. To put it simply, God’s shalom peace is all about what normal life should be like with a heavenly father.
Yet in all of this, we have to remember that life is lived in the heart and mind before it is lived externally. The life we are called to live is a life that is to be submitted and therefore open to the leading of His Spirit. However, many forgo the presence or leading of the Spirit because what remains uppermost in their minds is not what God has done, but what God is perceived as having not done in their lives. As, Bill Johnson, so aptly puts it in his book “Releasing the Spirit of Prophecy”, this can only hinder the believer. He writes;
“…By keeping a record of what God hasn’t done for them, they have actually built a case against God. This works to justify their own unbelief and positions them to be filled with offense over another unanswered prayer.” He goes on to say, “Other Christians are holding God on trial, not for their own healing or breakthrough, but for a miracle in someone else’s life. They’re hanging their faith on a single event rather than on the God who has already purchased every miracle that everyone on the planet needs.”
Bill Johnson in, ‘Releasing the Spirit of Prophecy,’ page 124
If we are to know God’s power and the increasing presence of His Spirit in our lives, then we need to acknowledge God through what He has said and done and not through the things that did not happen the way we thought they should. He alone is our true shield and strength and in Him alone we reach our full potential as sons or daughters of the living God.
“The task of being a Christian is to be a genuine human being. A lot of people get this mistaken idea that to be a Christian, you’re going to be somehow a shrunken sort of human being, a semihuman being, rather than a fully alive, glorious creature reflecting the image of God. And sadly, the church has often given quite a bit of credence to that, as many Christians have thought it was their job to live rather shrunken human lives. Not so.”
N.T. Wright quoting his book, ‘Simply Christian’ in A Place for Truth p 252, Ed Prof D. Willard.
Our Shield and Strength
In Daniel chapter ten, Michael, is spoken of as a chief prince (Dan 10:13) to convey his role as one who stands for God in helping Israel through destroying evil.
The perfect speaks into the imperfect and Daniel’s strength is gone and he is unable to speak until the angelic being again touches his lips. He is then told to be at peace and to be strong. His strengthening then comes about through listening and being open to the one speaking to him.
As King David once wrote:
'The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.'
God is our shield and strength (Ps 33:16-22, PS 44:3-7) and the King who protects His people. For example, when Assyria sought to destroy Israel in the days of Hezekiah, Isaiah told the king that God would care for Jerusalem like a mother bird hovering with wings spread over her young in the nest…
“Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will 'pass over' it and will rescue it."
Throughout scripture we see that it is God who reaches out and communicates with man, and man can respond to this in faith. For example, In Numbers 12:7-8 we find Moses being spoken of as ‘faithful in all God’s house.’ Yet, without the burning bush (Ex 3:2ff), subsequent conversations (Gen 3:5ff), and God’s disclosure of Himself, (Gen 3:14) Moses would have remained in the desert. Whilst it is true that Moses had to put his trust in God, he could only do so because God was about His work of grace, mercy and reconciliation in the first place: He shows that we can hold on to Him because He is holding on to us. We need to hold onto God and not our plans about what God should or should not be doing.
“The bane of the spiritual life is its impermanence. So many are sighing over lost ecstasies, lost touch with God, lost victory. It is largely because they are living not “the life of the Spirit”, but the life of following an ideal with their own resources, stirred by emotion through a sermon or plagued by a demand laid upon them. So they grow tired and give up …..A lot of people are tired because they are working on the City of God, instead of the City of God working in them. The Holy Spirit is the City of God working in us. We don’t work at the City of God we let the City of God work in us, take possession of us.”
Dr S. Jones, Power and Poise page 147.
We live in a fallen world and we are not immune to some of the difficulties it goes through as Daniel clearly knew. In the New Testament, Paul tells us to “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Eph 6:16). The term ‘flaming arrows’ (‘belos’) speaks of a strange fire – a fire that was designed to incapacitate and break up an advance. In Daniel’s day, as in any and every day, the enemy seeks to advance and separate us from the One who gives all strength and ability. Despite all that was going on and all that was going to happen, Daniel was known, loved and encouraged as are all who are open to the presence and leading of the Spirit. God does not need us and we do not make Him bigger in any way by what we do, yet He is always willing to give out to those who are open to receiving and do not judge Him by what they may or may not be going through.
“God does not want to be served in any way that implies we are supplying his need or supporting him or offering him something that he does not already own by right. “Who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (Rom 11:35). “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.”
Therefore we simply cannot negotiate with God. We have nothing of value that is not already His by right. We cannot service Him. His car never breaks down. It never runs out of gas. It never gets dirty. He never gets tired. He never gets depressed. He never gets caught in traffic so that he can’t get to where he wants to go. He never gets lonely. He never gets hungry.
In other words, if you want what Jesus has to give, you can’t buy it. You can’t trade for it. You can’t work for it. He already owns your money and everything you have. And when you work, it is only because He has given you life and breath and everything. All we can do is submit to his spectacular offer to be our servant.
And this submission is called faith – a willingness to let him be God. Trust him to be the Supplier, the Strengthener, the Counsellor, the Guide, the Saviour. And being satisfied with that – with all that God is for us in Jesus. That’s what faith is. And having that is what it means to be a Christian.
Dr.J Piper, in ‘The Dawning of Indestructible Joy’ pages 61-62
In a world where we can seem so very small, let us praise God that we are part of a much bigger story than the world could ever write and that He really is the ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ One. If we feel totally on our own, it may well be because we have closed the door to God, not that God has closed the door to us. God is at work and we are part of that work right here and right now.
In the final verses of chapter ten, the angelic messenger speaks of soon returning to the heavenly battle with the support of Michael. Michael’s name means, “Who is like God” and he appears as one of the angels who, in the Old Testament, stands in times of conflict as a special guardian of Israel. In the N.T. he appears in Jude and also as one fighting against Satan (Rev 12:7-9)
“God often uses angels to carry out His work on the earth. They deliver messages (see Luke 1:26-28), protect the people of God (see Daniel 6:22), give guidance (See Exodus 14:19), offer encouragement (see Gen 16:7), bring punishment (see 2 Sam 24;16), patrol the earth (see Gen 16:7), fight the forces of evil (see Dan 10:12-13), interpret dreams and visions (see Dan 8:16), offer praise to God (see Rev 19:1-3), and perform any other service for which God might want them.”
Dr R. Booker in ‘The Overcomers’ p73
Back in our reading, the camera then turns from the appearance of the heavenly messenger and supernatural battles and the strengthening of Daniel, to focus in even more closely on world history.
Although Daniel was in a prominent position and well-respected by many, we need to remember that he is a displaced Jewish man in a pagan empire that sought to dominate the world. In all the ups and downs of life, it is easy to start trying to work everything out in our own strength. What God wants us to do is to learn to lean on and trust in Him more and more each day.
“The things Jesus says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, “This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go,” but He says, “I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.” He says, “No man can reach absolute reality except through me. Try to retain your own life and you will inevitably be ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved.”
Taken from C.S. Lewis “What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” quoted in The Journey, p 179, Ed Oz Guinness.
Living from His Presence
For Christians, there is the continual reminder that we are to live from God’s world towards the visible world (as mentioned previously). We are to allow His Word to define our lives and not the words of others or the experiences we have gone through. We are to live in and from the presence of the Holy Spirit who indwells our lives. Our lives are dependent on God, whilst His is never dependent on ours.
“God’s kingdom does not ultimately depend on human agency at all. God’s new government comes, Jesus taught in his parables, as secretly as a net slipping through the waters. It grows as surprisingly as a tiny mustard seed. It comes without warning. Like a master returning from a long trip…Jesus’ blessings did not go to the righteous and well fed, generally speaking. They came to ordinary people desperate for hope – poor people, hungry people, sick people, sad people, ostracised people, people who had to forfeit their family’s respect to come to Jesus. Throughout his ministry Jesus carried on in the pattern, blessing sinners, tax collectors and lepers.”
T. Stafford in, ‘Surprised by Jesus’ page 86.
The purpose of God’s indwelling presence and empowerment is not, first and foremost, so that we can do things for God. Instead it is so that we can fully grasp the love of God and know this love in such a way that we are filled with the fullness that the Lord desires for us. Let us take to heart Paul’s prayer recorded in Ephesians chapter three.
'For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.' Ephesians 3:14-19
If we are not prepared to spend time with God and get to know what He is really like through the scriptures and meditation, then we are going to forgo much of the power and blessing that is ours through Christ. We become like a hungry person who does not see the food in front of us; like a thirsty person who does not see the well beside us. We become powerless, failing to see that His power is present even when things don’t seem to be moving along as fast as we think they should…
“When we know that delay is not procrastination, that our waiting is not because of someone’s indifference, that we have not been forgotten, then the waiting is not intolerable. Important things are being done while we wait. The action on earth, seen from the heavenly place is drama of victorious redemption.”
E.Peterson in ’Resident Thunder’ page 94
In resting in the Lord and trusting Him no matter what is going on, we are able to partake of the power of One who is always present. Power is strength in action and those who trust in and conflate their thinking with the Lord will exchange their strength for His living presence (Isaiah 40:31; Mt 28:20). Everything stems from my relationship with God because He has made a way for me to know Him through the work of the ‘sin-free’ man: Jesus Christ. That relationship is then seen in transforming character and the way in which we view and reach out to others. Take, as an example of this, the world of IJM.
The International Justice Mission (IJM), a Christian organisation helping local and national governments deal with the exploitation of people recently had another victory. IJM in Kenya worked with British and Kenyan police in a case against a British abuser of Kenyan children. This came about as part of the ‘Stop it Together’ campaign victims testimonies were heard via video link over 6,500 miles. It is the first time this technology has been used between Britain and Kenya.
The One who brings us home
The amazing truth is that, through Christ, we have come into fellowship with the awesomely Holy One (Ps 89:18), the Father of heavenly lights (James 1:17) who is the source of all blessing (Num 6:24-6). The One who painted the dawn in a myriad of pastel colours (Ps 19:1-2) is our Father (Mat 6:9). He is the One who halts all destructive building programmes that reach into our lives and who removes the rubble of our failure as we are raised up in newness of life. He is the One who helps His people to build their lives and the lives of others as the following testimony clearly reveals…
Ghulam Masih Naaman was a Muslim who, many years ago, was caught up in the events accompanying Indian independence and the division between Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Kashmir was claimed by both States and Muslim leaders called for a Holy War. Ghulam became an underground fighter and was involved in eliminating non-Muslims from the territory. Speaking about this time in his life he said, “It was our general practice to enter a village, send everyone at the point of a gun to their houses, shut the doors securely from the outside and set the whole village alight. Somehow the inhumanity of this kind of act did not penetrate into my consciousness. I was merely doing a job and the job had to be done well.”
One night, he was preparing to kill a family of Christians whose ten-year-old daughter asked to pray with her parents. They finished their prayer with, “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” As they did so, Ghulam saw a wall of light rise up between him and his victims. He murmured, “forgive me” and left with his men, without harming the family. He later said that the Jesus the little girl had prayed to seemed to be pursuing him. After many more strange incidents and feeling betrayed by his own religion, Ghulam started searching for peace. He began praying and asking God to show him the right path because he was not willing to trust any of the religions or creeds in the world. He also asked for mercy.
One day, in the early hours of the morning whilst in the waiting room at a railway station, he was praying and was suddenly conscious of a hand on his shoulder and a voice that said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” No one was visible, yet Ghulam had felt as if an electric charge had gone through his body and he felt forgiveness. He was not sure what the phrase “My grace is sufficient for you” meant and was muttering it under his breath as he left the station. A sweeper heard him and said, “Son, are you a Christian?” The sweeper told him what the scripture meant and about Jesus. Ghulam became a Christian and later went on to become a pastor, despite great hostility from his family.
Jean-Marie Gaudeul in, ‘Called from Islam to Christ.’ (pages163-5)