Remember Daniel in the Lion’s Den?

This message isn’t about the Lion’s den, but it IS about Daniel. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament is a much overlooked book, I’m thinking. I’ve been studying it wide-eyed for the last year or so off and on. The reason it is such an important book is that in his later life, Daniel received a prophetic message, foretelling the future. Much of what he wrote occurred years after his own death. Many Bible scholars argued that the book must have been written after these events because they are so accurate, but the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls ended that debate. Daniel wrote the book between 604 and 532 BC under the direction of God’s Spirit and a heavenly warrior/angel, and still many of the events recorded have not yet taken place. . . but they will.

We are living in alarming and stressful times as one of those “wars and rumors of wars” Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:6 is wreaking death and destruction in the Ukraine right now. I share this encouragement to study Daniel because the prophet saw a vision of an angelic being who shared amazing words with him. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”” Daniel‬ ‭10:12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬
What grabbed my attention is that there is a battle raging in heavenly places even as there are battles raging here on earth. It took three weeks of struggle for this angel many believe to be Gabriel, the “messenger”, to get to Daniel until Michael came to assist him. Later in the same chapter the angel says: “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.”” Daniel 10:19-21

God is often called the Lord of Heaven’s Armies in the Old Testament, and I always wondered about that. Not any longer. The God of Heaven heads an army over a great spiritual battlefield. Shortly after Daniel wrote this book, the kingdom of Babylon, which had earlier fallen to the Medes and Persians, fell to Alexander the Great (Greece). So even before the battles may have appeared on earth they were going on in heavenly places.

My point – let’s pray the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will empower the angelic warriors to battle for us to bring about the end of this current battle going on here on earth. We pray and we are heard! Daniel prayed in desperate fervor and God sent His angels to comfort him. And the angels had to fight their way to him! Somehow, dear friends, our prayers strengthen the heavenly warriors.

Know your prayers MATTER and make a difference.

So we pray, Lord, that Your Warrior Archangel Michael and all the other heavenly beings would be empowered to victory, and we pray these things in the power of Jesus’ name!

Thinking of, Praying for the people of Ukraine

The sunflower has become a symbol of hope and resistance as the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia continue to become more desperate. 

The sunflower is also the national flower of Ukraine. Recently I saw a FB post from an artist asking all artists to post their paintings of sunflowers. I shared this painting entitled, My Sister, My Friend. The words below were written by the prophet Isaiah, somewhere around 740 BC in the 40th chapter of the OT book of Isaiah and I feel they are relevant:

“All people are like grass and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

21 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 HE sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.
HE stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 HE brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than HE blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

And the most marvelous, poetic words of this chapter~

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

These are dark and troubling days. We thought we were smarter than that – that those dark days of war were behind us. God has warned us there will be “wars and rumors of wars” But He is still in charge, still on His throne. Find comfort in these words and pray for our brothers and sisters in peril around the earth.