A 19th Century English hymn writer and theologian who was from where I’m from, Frederick Faber, said that
We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and the wet, in the thunder and lightning, in the cold and the dark. Wait, and He will come. He never comes to those who do not wait.
Daniel 11 then, what are we waiting for and is it worth it?
Chapter eleven, like all of Daniel in general, is a tool for motivating future faithfulness, a tool to give you proper perspective on where your horizon should be. The book of Daniel, and here chapter eleven show us just how far away our horizon should be and that yes, the waiting is worth it.
God’s people are essentially being told look, things are not going to be great from now until the end, but, if you stick with it, if you wait, if you remain faithful, then it will all be worth it.
We see this idea being brought into play in the wider, bigger picture context of 12.3:
But the wise will shine
like the brightness of the heavenly expanse.
And those bringing many to righteousness
will be like the stars forever and ever.
What about you and me then?
What is the wisest way to look at life?
What is the hope on the horizon of the wise?
The wise among God’s people are those that will trust in the Messiah even though it will result in their suffering. The wise are those that will trust in Jesus for salvation, for deliverance. This is no longer just applicable to the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Now through the coming of Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection, the way has been opened for us all.
The wise are those that will trust in Jesus for salvation, for deliverance.
The wise among God’s people are those that will trust in the Messiah even though it will result in their suffering. Just let that sink in. Choosing to trust in the Messiah, choosing to trust in Jesus is what the wise will do, but it will also result in suffering.
Often times, as I read this week, we focus on the empty tomb and conquered grave and think yes, that’s the Jesus I am now attached to…yes, that’s true and that gives us a hope for the future that nothing can dent or diminish, but, in His humanity, He was a man of sorrows, of rejection, of ridicule, a man who knew suffering, and, in our humanity, that is what we are joined to too. Let me be as honest and open with you as I can be, it will be the same for you.
Maybe it will be minor, maybe you will lose a job for the decisions you make for Jesus. I did. I lost a job. At the time, doesn’t feel minor. But, looking to eternity, extremely minor.
Maybe it will be more serious than that. That’s a reality that many of us will never experience but is a daily reality for many believers around the world.
What are we waiting for then, and is it worth it?
What is the hope on the horizon of the wise?
If you look a little bit into your future, maybe even a long way into your future, you might not see things getting any better. That scares you or depresses you or worries you. The same is true of God’s people here and with Daniel here in chapter eleven: if they looked just a little into the future things looked bleak. If they looked a few hundred years into the future, things looked bleaker still. But, if they and we look all the way into the future, to eternity, that is where things are 100% guaranteed to be better. Our perspective, then, has to be eternal. We can’t look at the coming weeks and months and years and decades and think, well, things are gonna get better I’m sure of it. How are you sure?
That’s not the perspective we are called to have as believers. Ours is an eternal perspective. Our waiting is never wasted and I promise you that when you lose the 80 year focus on life and start to focus on the eternal and infinite it’s liberating, it’s energising, it’s freeing. Some things won’t matter that much to you anymore, some things will matter a whole lot more. But, you’ve got to choose to lose that short term earthly perspective.
Simply, there is no certainty in our own lifetime. That’s not being negative, that’s telling you the truth.You won’t find it in your job, your next set of military orders, the next rung on the career ladder, in your finances, nothing and nowhere.
God has said things will return to the state that they were always intended to be in: God and man dwelling together, on earth as in heaven, Eden, tabernacle, temple, now, through Jesus…who loves you. Jesus, whose sacrifice has made a way of forgiveness for you, who accepts you, who wants you to experience this radical new way of life announced through the Gospel.
So, rather than look within, rather than look around, rather than look anywhere for certainty about the future, I would encourage and exhort you today, now, to wait. I would encourage you to look to the only place of certainty in your life now and your life in the future, to the place where all God’s plans for humanity meet and find their ultimate fulfilment, the point to which then, ultimately, Daniel 11 drives us, to Jesus.