Daniel 10:1-3 "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision. 2 In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. 3 I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed."
The book of Daniel is equally strong in its emphasis upon prophetic events, giving examples of godly piety and prayer. Daniel, the chief protagonist and prophetic author, was a man vested with prophetic gifting. Throughout the 70 years Daniel would spend in Babylon, we find him not only interpreting dreams and seeing visions - but also growing in prayer. In today's post we want to consider a very important lesson learnt upon one's knees in prayer - strength.
Dr. Charles Stanley has noted that when we fight whatever battle on our knees, only then can we march forward on our feet. Strength is the lesson we find Daniel learning in his time of prayer to God in Daniel 10. What is the nature of the strength available to anyone in prayer? What ways can strength be delivered when God’s people seek Him in prayer? Let’s explore the answers together in today's post.
1. Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Daniel 10:1-9
In the opening verses of Daniel 10, we find Daniel brought in contact with a mysterious figure. The description of this figure in terms of his raiment and other characteristics matches very closely with the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:13-16. Scholars such as the late John Walvoord and H.A Ironside have suggested this is none other than a pre-incarnate appearance of the Son of God. The presence of Christ headlines Daniel 10. The prophet is in need of strengthening.
When we turn to the New Testament, we find Christ promising to strengthen His church and its preachers. Matthew 28:20 records the promise Jesus made to his apostles and ultimately to the church: "and I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." In 2 Timothy 4:1-2a, Paul delivers the urgent command to young pastor Timothy: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word." Christ's presence among and in His people and with His preachers provides strength. As Daniel would experience ministry from the presence of the pre-incarnate Son, he would have just enough strength to interact with a second visitor - an angelic emissary sent from God.
2. Provisions of grace from God. Daniel 10:10-17
When we consider this second interaction of Daniel in Daniel 10, we find this mysterious figure to be an angel. Angels are among the provisions of grace given by God to strengthen His people. Passages such as Psalm 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14 promise reinforcements from Heaven at key low points in our lives. The angelic messenger to Daniel details the battle waged during Daniel's three-week fasting and prayer session. How often do you and I ponder the spiritual battle waging while we pray? Daniel experienced a delay. What would had resulted if he had stopped at week two, one or on the first day? Prayer is an exercise of the soul desperate for God.
Angels of course are not the only provisions of grace. If for anything, angelic aid is a secondary provision, with several others leading the Divine gallery of provisions. Let the reader be reminded of what such provisions are:
a). Holy Spirit. John 14:16-17
b). Mercies. Lamentations 3:21-25 "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him."
c). Ordinances, such as the Lord's Table, 1 Corinthians 11:23ff.
God mediates His strengthening grace through such energies that He disposes for the care of His people. By the symbols of the Lord's supper, the Person of the Spirit and those precious mercies - God's people are renewed. We as the sheep of His pasture are frail, weak and unable to perform His will apart from His will. We need His strength. We need the Person of Christ and the wonderful provisions of grace.
3. Power of God’s words. Daniel 10:18-21
The angel says the following to Daniel in Daniel 10:19 "He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” This angel was delivering a message from God to Daniel. We find too the angels at Christ's empty tomb telling the women that "He is not here, for He has risen".
God's words, whether delivered by angelic or human agents, deliver strength. The quality of scripture to provide spiritual strength to those open to it is attested throughout its pages (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:17-18). Romans 15:4 notes - "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
We all need strength for the journey. Thanks be to God for the strength we find in prayer to God. God strengthens His people in turn by the presence of Jesus, His provisions of grace and the power of His words.