Read Daniel 10:1-21
1In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
2At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
4On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
10A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."
15While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, "I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. 17How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe."
18Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong."
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength."
20So he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. (NIV)
This is an interesting passage in that the themes are repeated elsewhere in Scripture. Some have called this section of Daniel, “The preparation to see the vision of God.” We need to be prepared to hear from God. The more we prepare ourselves each day, the more we will hear from God. What we read in verse 7 is reminiscent from Saul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Saul hear the words of Christ, but all the others only heard thunder. Here, Daniel sees the man standing before him, the others do not. They only sense something is happening.
We see that Daniel had been preparing himself for something. He set out on a three week prayer and fasting. Fasting is a great way to have something from God revealed to us. Revelation is often the result of intense prayer and fasting. As a church, we need to recover this great connection to God.
But as I talked about Sunday, we need to stay connected to God in so many ways of our lives. These are the means of Grace that we talk about. These are: Reading Scripture, Meditating and Studying Scriptures, Praying, Fasting, Attending Regular Worship, Living Healthy Lives, Sharing Our Faith, Participating in the Sacraments, Christian Conferencing (which is accountability to one another), Group Bible Study. There are also acts of Mercy which is visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, giving generously to the needs of others, seeking justice and the ending of oppression and discrimination, and addressing the needs of the poor. When we do these, we stay connected to God and are better able to hear him.
But we also see that Daniel is humble in his coming to God. If we think we know all there is to know about life and God, then we will hear very little from God. He will not be able to reach us. But when we are open and hungry for a new word each day, then more often than not, we will hear a new word. We need to be humble and hungry.
As a minor note, this is one of the earliest references to the Angel Gabriel. It is also a reminder that there are spiritual battles going on for our benefit.
Blessings and Peace