Go Your Way Daniel
Author: Steve Wyzga
Let’s admit it, the final chapters of Daniel are tough. I don’t care how you sort it, there’s some very painful promises in these chapters:
And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. - Daniel 11:33
In the midst of these painful chapters I caught this phrase:
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. - Daniel 12:3
Shine like the brightness of the sky above? Like stars? These are the kinds of final destinies found typically only in fantasy novels and video games. But it’s not just an angel who makes this promise. Jesus said the same at the conclusion of the parable of the wheat and the tares:
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. - Matthew 13:43
Our Lord is not stingy. He motivates with real promises. And when one considers the cost of following Jesus, one needs that level of promise. Besides the book of Daniel consider Hebrews, Revelations, II Timothy, I Peter, and the exhortations, parables and declarations by Jesus himself regarding counting the cost, fighting the fight, and persevering to the end.
Unfortunately, the only ‘plan B’ I could find was not very appealing either:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable... their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur..." - Revelation 21:8
I was dwelling on these truths this morning, looking for hope, personally not ready for a fight and feeling pretty overwhelmed. I noted what Robin shared Sunday - that twice the angel says: “Go your way Daniel....” (Dan. 12:9); “But go your way till the end...” (Dan. 12:13).
Is that: ‘move along’? Or: ‘keep doing what you are doing’? And if it is the latter, what is it Daniel has been doing?
From Daniel 1 to 12 there is a background, an atmosphere, a theme of devotion and prayer to the Lord. From chapter one, Daniel sets himself to not be defiled. When he faces his first major test he runs to his friends and tells them to “seek mercy from the God of heaven.” It is noted several times in the book that in him “is the spirit of the holy gods.” And when his enemies can’t find anything to tear him down, what do they do? They make a law against praying. That will trip him!
Is that the trap they would have set for me?
But having read and considered all of this, I was still feeling weak, overwhelmed and not wanting to fight. My wife asked if I’d like to go with her on her prayer walk, and I did. As we walked, we prayed. In my weakness, I prayed. And as I prayed, God met me.
That’s when it all came rolling back to me again. It’s not about am I strong enough to endure? I’m not. The refining and purifying and being made white is an ongoing recognition of my weakness and his strength. We will not make it to the finish line praising power, perseverance or even prayer, but grace. (see Zechariah 4:6-7) And specifically grace personified in a savior.
Go your way Daniel. As you have leaned on your God again and again through all these decades, continue to do so until the end. I did this morning. Lord help me to continue to do so throughout the week, and to the end.