Adult Sunday School Lesson for January 28, 2018
To persevere in faith despite uncertainties and discouragement
Background: Daniel 10; 11
Daniel 10:10-19 (CEB)
10 But then a hand touched me, lifting me up to my hands and knees.
11The man said to me, “Daniel, you are greatly treasured. Now grasp the meaning of what I’m saying to you. And stand up, because I’ve been sent to you.”
As he said this to me, I stood up, shaking.
12 Then the man said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, because from the day you first set your mind to understand things and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I’ve come because of your words!
15 While he said this to me, I turned my face to the ground and kept quiet. 16 But then someone who looked like a human being touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to the person standing in front of me: “My lord, the vision bothered me deeply, and I couldn’t stay strong during it. 17 So how can I, my lord’s servant, speak with you, my lord? Even now there’s no strength in me, and I can barely breathe.”
18 The one who looked like a human being touched me again and gave me strength. 19 He said, “Don’t be afraid. You are greatly treasured. All will be well with you. Be strong!”
As he spoke to me, I suddenly felt strong. Then I said: “My lord can go on, because you’ve made me strong.”
He said, “Don’t be afraid. You are greatly treasured. All will be well with you. Be strong!” (Daniel 10:19)
The passage we are studying today is part of a larger segment that comprises Daniel 10–12, generally characterized as “an apocalypse with a review of history.” Most of us are more familiar with the prophetic genre than we are the apocalyptic genre, we need to look at this distinction. Much of the confusion surrounding the interpretation of apocalyptic writing comes in blurring the differences between prophecy and apocalyptic writing.
The main message of prophetic literature is “repent and return to God,” which assumes that the troubles experienced by God’s people are the result of their sin and that God is using other nations to punish them. Apocalyptic literature, while not denying that the people are sinners, sees the world in terms of a cosmic battle between the forces of evil and the power of God. The message is “hold fast until God enters history to save you.
In some ways, Daniel as a whole is something of a mix between the prophetic and the apocalyptic. Certainly, the prayer of lament and repentance that we studied last week was prophetic in nature. On the other hand, the suffering of the righteous young men of Israel was not their fault but the fault of an almost irrational tyrant. They had no need to repent; they had to stand firm and rely on God’s power to save them if God chose to do so.
As our text begins Daniel had been in long period of prayer and fasting. He is physically weak and tired. God’s messenger offers words of encouragement and assures Daniel he is very important to God, then Daniel is offered assistance, helped up. Again Daniel is offered assurance and told to not be afraid. All of this comforted Daniel and he could feel his strength returning as his fear subsided. The visitor assures Daniel that his prayers were not in vain, he has been heard.
Let me stop for a moment and emphasize the importance of how the messenger treats a person in distress. Words of comfort and assurance are spoken and then assistance in getting back on your feet. Then confirming that God is aware of you and your circumstance and is here to help.
The following verses are very apoplectic “13 For twenty-one days the leader of the Persian kingdom blocked my way. But then Michael, one of the highest leaders, came to help me. I left Michael there with the leader of the Persian kingdom. 14 But I’ve come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the future, because there is another vision concerning that time.”
We now know that two of God’s messengers are involved, both Gabriel and Michael. Michael becomes involved because of the battle between good and evil.
The battle was probably between Michael and one of the devils demons. Maybe the fact that the king’s mind was about to change and allow the Jews to return back to Jerusalem, was not in the best interest of the devil’s plan.
While the victory was never in doubt, the time that the battle lasted seemed to be up to Daniel and his prayers. What if Daniel threw in the towel and gave up? Would the outcome be different?
There appears to be a new figure in front of Daniel, someone that appears human like. Maybe the Son of Man himself. This touch from the Man immediately restore Daniels strength’ he is renewed and ready to go forth with new energy and lack of fear, Daniel has been touched by the Son of Man, he is a new creature with new visions and greater faith.
Sometimes we need that special touch, my hymn for this week is “He Touched Me”