A Lesson from the Life of Daniel
I have an encouraging word for you today, directly from the book of Daniel. Not to worry, we won't be addressing end-time events at this time. In Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel has been mourning for three weeks. He's been praying and fasting, experiencing visions, his body weakened. Then "a certain man" whose appearance resembles John's description of Christ in the book of Revelation. I believe this to be an Old Testament Christophany.
In Daniel ten, three times, the Lord comforts Daniel. When Daniel encounters the Lord, he, much like John, responds as one dead. Verse 8 states that he had a "deathly pallor;" verse 9 that his face was to the ground. We do not know whether he couldn't or wouldn't look up, but we do know that Christ touches Daniel and sets him up, reaffirming Daniel's worth in the eyes of God and understanding imparted regarding what Daniel has seen. Upon Christ speaking to him, Daniel, in verse 15, again turns his face to the ground, speechless. Again, Daniel receives a touch from the Lord, and Daniel's mouth is opened, and he can speak. When Daniel addresses the Lord, he says he has no strength. Once more, Daniel is touched, the power provided, and the Lord speaks, "O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!"
So, what can we take from this encounter?
First, it is impossible, no matter how righteous we are, for anyone to stand at the manifest presence of God if we recognize it as such. Remember, His entry brought fear upon Daniel's companions, who turned tail and ran. Before Christ touched him, Daniel couldn't stand. It took the hand of God to uphold Daniel in His presence. The same was true of the Apostle John. In Revelation 1:17, Jesus places His right hand on John and tells him not to fear. Accessing the presence of Almighty God is a dreadful thing until the Lord Himself steps in to vanquish our fears and enable us to interact with Him.
Secondly, Daniel's lips were touched so that he could engage the Lord in holiness. This is observed in the life of Isaiah, the prophet. In Isaiah 6:5-7, Isaiah is increasingly aware of how unclean his lips have become. It takes a touch from the altar to purify him, making him ready for service. As Daniel questioned, "How can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord?" Engaging with the Lord in what He is doing requires a cleansing of the creative portal of our being so that what we speak and create aligns with the Spirit of God.
Thirdly, when Daniel indicates that his strength has left him, Daniel is touched and infused with strength. Not only that, Daniel is provided encouragement and courage to hear what God is speaking and understand it. We are not supposed to accomplish God's plans in our flesh. It takes supernatural strength, a strength made perfect in our weakness, so that we boast only in the Lord (2 Cor. 12:10, 1 Cor. 1:26-31).
Imagine, the God of the Universe stepped down and met Daniel exactly where he was and touched him not once, but three times, to equip him for what God had planned, and on every occasion, Daniel responds with increased humility. So, with this in mind, consider the following questions.
1. Where are you?
2. Where is God in proximity to you?
3. Are you in awe of His presence, waiting on His initiative, or scrambling to push your agenda through the court of heaven?
4. Have your lips been cleansed so that you can engage with Him? Do you recognize the need for them to be so?
5. Are you willing to allow Christ to infuse you with His strength, not to accomplish your goals, but to hear, understand, and act according to His?
Many desire to see what Daniel and John saw, speak as the prophets, and have the power of God at their disposal, like George Mueller, Smith Wigglesworth, and Evan Roberts of the Welsh Revival. However, few are willing to undergo the transformation required to operate at such an intense level of relationship. So, what must occur in our lives? I believe it can be narrowed down to Psalm 46:10, "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
All of the people of faith listed in Hebrews 11 (Daniel is one), while their love of God compelled them to act, first and foremost, they learned to rest in God. They had to let fall to the ground everything in light of God's presence in their lives. All their cares, anxieties, and worries were laid to rest at the feet of Him who holds the earth together by His power (Heb. 1:3). Who Christ is and His exaltation is not in question. Even if you are unsure, He is not.
We often talk of the character and nature of Christ, but seldom do we ponder what it means that He is God. We say He is love, peace, our joy, and the list continues, ad infinitum. Rarely do we meditate on His divinity. Yes, he works through us, but He doesn't need your strength or ability. On the contrary, you need His.
Can I encourage you today to humble yourself and cease trying so hard to make things happen for Him or yourself? Rest in the knowledge that He is GOD! When His timing is right, He will touch you, providing you with all that you need for the moment and more, as necessary. Let go and relate to Him as the holy God that He is, knowing you are but human, incapable outside of Him to draw a breath, reason, act, or love. Rest, and take one day at a time, confident in Christ alone.