Daniel 11:2-4 Video Devotional

“And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these. – Daniel 11:2-4

The goal of this devotional is not to get into the nitty gritty of the prophecy details. It is to see the main threads that run through the whole of this book to get to the main idea Daniel has for his readers and what he expects them to do about it – the intended response. From that, we can learn how we should understand this book in our context and how we can best respond to its message.

Again, though in much greater detail, we see the rising of evil kings and them facing off against other evil kings and rulers with the faithful to God seemingly at the bottom of the food chain of life. The end of the chapter (verse 45) finally shows that the worst of the evil kings will meet his end. So we see throughout all of Daniel’s visions, this idea of many rising evil kings, but for them all (even the really evil one) to meet their end at the hands of the God of gods. Evil will not win in the end.

That said, a lot happens in the 45 verses of this chapter, which constitutes a lot of time. In other words, there is a lot to endure before the end. Whether you choose to read this as prophecy that relates to the kings of Daniel’s time (Medes, Persians to Rome) or as end time prophecy, the same idea runs clear; there will be a lot of evil to wade through before the King of kings reigns. Endurance is a must if we are to survive through the evil.

Whether you look at Daniel’s situation (exile), the waiting of the Israelites for the coming Messiah, or everyone since then that trusts in Jesus, we are all waiting for the end of evil and for the King of kings to come quickly and put an end to the injustice. Endurance is what is called for and the first half of the book (Daniel’s stories) set us up for that.

Daniel shows us what true faithfulness and endurance look like. He is our model, our inspiration to living a righteous life that endures until the end. It makes perfect sense that he would be the one telling us what we will have to endure. It is a good ting that we can lean on Jesus, the One who emptied Himself of His power and took on the nature of a servant as we seek to persevere through this difficult times. 2020 is a perfect microcosm of this idea of endurance. So hang on and trust the One who invented time. He will see us through.

Daniel 8:9-14 Video Devotional

Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” – Daniel 8:9-14

It can be easy to get lost in any prophecies, especially ones that depict future events. This is partly due to the fact that our nature seeks to understand the details and the “how”. We want to know what is going to happen. That’s one of the reasons that people get so into passages like Genesis 1 and Revelation, among many others, is because those have glimpses of what will happen, but they don’t share all the details – and we want to know the details! God, however, wasn’t intending to share with us the details, because that’s not the question we should be asking. For example, the better interpretative question to ask for Genesis 1 is not “what happened at creation?”, but “who created?”. That passage tells us a ton about our God who created the world. The same holds true here in Daniel.

Chapter 8 is another vision Daniel has, this time about a ram and a goat. The ram was powerful, but the goat overtook it and then grew a bunch of horns, but would be eventually overthrown. After that, things would be restored to their rightful state.
This passage is more about endurance than about knowing exactly what would happen. We can know this for a few reasons: 1) the main idea of this book is that righteous suffering leads to victory and we see victory at the end of the dream, 2) the other visions, though different in detail, match the idea of evil being finally overthrown by good, and 3) the ending of the dream focused on the idea of things being made right – justice and restoration.

This world is stuck in long-suffering brokenness and sin that has marred everything. Evil reigns here and all good can do is endure until everything is made right. While we don’t need to know exactly what or when that will happen, what God makes clear is that it will and justice and righteousness will be restored. When endurance seems impossible, this is what we can rest in; this gives us hope and patience to endure the temporary evil now.

This should encourage us to hold fast to Jesus (faithfulness, similar to what we’ve seen in Daniel’s life) and rest in the fact that He (and therefore, us) will win in the end.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Video Devotional

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I may have good excuses for being exhausted lately, but they are nothing compared to friends that are taking extra jobs, including night shift work to provide for and protect their families. People who are doing what it takes to properly care for their loved ones are to be commended during this time (and any time, for that matter). 

And even they are not alone in this. Everyone is exhausted. Mentally, physically, socially, emotionally. Maybe even spiritually. This is a time when we can very easily be weak and become more prone to sin. I know temptations have been higher for myself and I am sure I am not alone in that.

That’s where today’s verses come in – friends, this is an long range situation we are in and we have to endure through it. There is no option; either we endure or we die. To do that, we need to shed the sin and get ourselves free of entanglements – then stare straight at Jesus and run! He will give us the strength and energy we need – just keep your eyes on Him.

As a way of running towards Jesus and connecting with the hall of fame in Hebrews 11, please reply to this thread or make a new post and tag me/the church in it and share your testimonial. What was the key turning point that brought you to trust in Jesus? I would really love to hear your story. Blessings to you!