Old Testament passage for Tuesday, December 3, 2013: Daniel 11:2-35
32 By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. 33 Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. 34 Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. 35 Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:32-35 (NASB)
I have never devoted much time to figuring out the time lines and sequence of all these future events. Rather, I have sought to distill the message for today. What does all this boil down to in terms of our "now" mandate?
As Christians, we believe history is headed toward a consummation. It is the reflection of a plan that sovereign God has laid out. Throughout this plan, He has ordained that a people of faith will represent Him. Occasionally, we find vignettes describing this pilgrim people.
Daniel, in this 11th chapter of his book, prophecies amazing details about the rise and fall of great international powers. Then, he pauses to give us a picture of God's people living in the midst of tumultuous times. Here are a few observations:
1. Vs. 32. Deception will grow. Daniel says "smooth words" will entice people toward godlessness. The opposite of this slippery way of living will be a "covenant way of living."
2. Vs. 32. Three fundamental characteristics of God's people: 1) they KNOW GOD, 2) they have outward appearances of STRENGTH, and 3) they are ACTIVIST -- they take action.
3. Vs. 33. Teaching must take place. Those with insight MUST teach folks how to walk the walk.
4. Vs. 33. There will be major battle over IDEAS. Some will fall, all will be attacked.
5. Vs. 34-35. God allows REFINING and PURGING to bring "a little help" to His people.
6. Vs. 35. God has it all under His control. He has an "appointed time" for all these things to unfold.
In our day, God is raising up a powerful witness to His Lordship. Right now is a season of refining and purging. But just around the corner is a day of mighty advance. God's people will rise up again to display the strength of Jesus' resurrection.
During times of uncertainty, we can rely only Him who does not change. His Word is truth!