“Daniel, greatly beloved, pay attention to the words that I am going to speak to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” So while he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. He said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understandingand to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:11-12)
From the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God…
Daniel 10 is a strange passage (among many!) to our ears, with fascinating questions raised. A man in linen, with body like topaz and face like lightning (etc.) comes to Daniel in response to his prayer, but has been delayed in a battle against the prince of Persia. In the end, he comes because Michael (‘one of the chief princes’) has stepped into take over this battle. Who is this man? This has been the focus of much debate. And of what nature is this heavenly battle? This picture of the powers and principalities can again, seem hard to grasp.
But what we can see is that Daniel called, and this is the one who answered (eventually). The man with the ‘voice like the sound of a multitude’ seems keen to assure Daniel that, despite the delay, Daniel’s words have been heard from the first day.
Daniel has not just come to notice ‘after a while’. No, from the first day he has been heard, his words attended to and his determination seen.
And it is determination. Daniel has ‘set his mind’ to it. This implies both desire and decisiveness. He does not merely wish for understanding, he does not just want to humble himself – no, he sets his mind to it.
How often do we really ‘set our minds’ to something? All the other things of life come along and drag our attention away. But not Daniel. He has set his mind to it.
The answer was despatched, a response to Daniel’s commitment to seek understanding. It got re-routed for a while. But the re-routing did not mean that Daniel was unheard.
- How committed are we to seeking understanding? To humble ourselves before God? How do we show this commitment in the entirety of our lives, including the digital arenas in which we find ourselves?
- In an age where we expect immediate replies, retweets and Facebook likes, how do we cope when ‘answers’ feel a long time coming?
This post originally appeared at the BIGBible Project