Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ongoing Warfare

Daniel 10:1-14, 20, 21
"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 understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. 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.
And on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.
Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you. And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
The he said to me, 'Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.
Then he said, 'Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.' "

This is a rare parting of the curtain, giving us a very unusual glimpse into angelic warfare that is undoubtedly going on all the time in unseen realms. From Daniel's perspective, the three weeks were filled with mourning for his nation's spiritual bankruptcy, manifested by such intense focusing upon God for intervention that he left off both food and personal hygiene. Perhaps after a week he wondered at the apparent lack of answer. At the end of week two, weakened physically, there seems no lessening of his resolve to seek God's face. By the conclusion of the third week, his bodily weakness is pronounced, requiring aid and strengthening several times during the encounters he has with God's messenger. Still, even in the face of heavenly silence, Daniel prayed on... refusing to allow the lack of God's response to deter him in his prayerful pursuit. He simply would not give up.
What a needed word for this generation of instant gratification Christians! We know nothing of this kind of prayerful perseverance, this kind of lengthy pursuit of our God's intervention. Our love of ease has deep roots into our flesh, and we are loathe to sacrifice comfort & convenience for spiritual power.
Too, we seldom consider spiritual warfare in the heavenlies as a factor in our praying... and we pay the price for such lack of spiritual awareness. May our Lord bring this, and other such passages, to mind to heighten our sensitivity to the need for alertness when we enter the domain of prayer (Colossians 4:2).

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