Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Great Alarm

Daniel 7:28
(28) "Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart."

This verse is at the end of Daniel's first vision where he sees four terrifying creatures. Each creature represents a different kingdom. There is of course debate among scholars as to what each creature represents. I don't want to get into that here.

What interests me today is Daniel's reaction to this vision. I once made a comment to a Christian brother about how foolish it was for Joseph to brag to his brothers and father about his vision. He made a good point in responding, "You have a vision from God and see how well you keep from telling anyone." Personally, I've never had a vision from God. I'm not sure that I'd recognize it if I did have one. If I had a dream where I saw the creatures Daniel described as well as the Ancient of Days sitting on the throne it would probably not be very ambiguous. I would be pretty sure about what I had seen.

This verse describes Daniel's physical reaction. At this point he has been around the block a little bit. He has seen God's faithfulness when he and his friends decided not to eat the king's food. He saw God's faithfulness when his friends were rescued from the furnace. He has an idea of what God is capable of doing and has a sense of God's character.

Yet he really had a physical reaction to this vision. I'm pretty sure that I would be greatly alarmed and that I would become even more pale than usual too. This verse reminds me that these are stories about real people. They aren't superheroes. They are men and women who had emotions just like we do. It's easy to look down our noses in hindsight sometimes. I know I have. I want to instead react with joy that God would use real people like Daniel to accomplish His will. It also encourages me that my humanity is not a hindrance to God accomplishing His will through me. It is not something that I need to destroy in some sort of gnostic way, but it is who I am. And, thanks to Christ, that is not a problem anymore.

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