Read: Daniel 8-9
Daniel’s visions are detailed and somewhat disturbing. His prayer and incredible devotion give us an example to admire and challenge us to a higher level.
Daniel 8: Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat
Another vivid vision that captured Daniel’s thoughts, I can imagine he woke up sweating!
…suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; Daniel 8:5-7
It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. Daniel 8:11-12
The interpretation lets us know that these events are far into the future. Many people, no doubt, see this distant future as today, or ten years ago, perhaps ten years from now.
“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Daniel 8:26-27
Daniel 9: Daniel’s Prayer
Daniel studied Jeremiah’s writings, an amazing feat all by itself considering the exile and means of communication back in those times.
I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. Daniel 9:2
In his prayer, Daniel takes on the sins of the people and appeals to God for mercy.
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. Daniel 9:7
There is something amazing about the words here, something I can’t quite articulate. Daniel is so far removed and isolated from other Jews because of the exile, and yet so in touch and aware of their plight. His humble request is echoed in Paul’s writings in the New Testament, forged in honor, delivered in praise:
We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:18-19
Prayer is a difficult thing to understand at times. I wonder how they are received, even if they are received to be openly honest, at times during great stress. Daniel’s example here is significant. Surely, here is a man of God that has kept the Law, done his part in setting the example. Yet he completely takes on the sins of our ancestors. This does not go unnoticed:
As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Daniel 9:23
When we pray with humble hearts, I do believe our prayers are heard, though the answers may not be provided in the manner or time we desire. Here we see an immediate response to prayer. The interpretation of which gives us something to ponder indeed!
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. Daniel 9:26
At best, these words had to be disturbing. I can completely understand why Daniel was shaken by the dreams. Living in exile, he dreams of a time to come when rulers come and go. Here he sees the crucifixion of Jesus, the Anointed One, but doesn’t see the rest of the story, the miraculous resurrection. I’m not sure I would want to go to sleep anytime soon!
The heart of Daniel is seen in these chapters. I’m in awe of his strength of character and humble heart. Lord, may we be as consistent and devoted as Daniel, may I be even one percent of the leader he was!