Daniel: Day 18

The True Battle

by

Today's Text: Daniel 10:1-12:4, Ephesians 6:12, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Chapter ten opens in a vulnerable spot for our beloved Daniel. It’s about 536 BC, just a few years after Cyrus, the king of Persia, issued a decree allowing the exiles from Judah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:2-4).

Daniel is in his mid-eighties, physically unable to make the long journey to the land that was once Judah. In great distress, he mourns the difficulty facing those who have returned to Jerusalem. He fasts and prays for three weeks, seeking wisdom about the future of his people, God’s holy nation.

Three weeks seems like a long time to pray for a little wisdom. Why couldn’t God have answered him right away?

The angel tells Daniel his prayers were heard—on the first day. He’d been sent to Daniel right away, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed him for 21 days (Daniel 10:12-13). The angel was detained for the exact amount of time Daniel was waiting for an answer.

During those three weeks of fasting, Daniel probably felt as if his prayers weren’t heard. But they were! God had immediately sent His messenger with a vision for Daniel—an exact answer to his prayer!

Spiritual warfare is real. Daniel’s answer was delayed because the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed the messenger. This wasn’t a human prince, but a demonic spirit (possibly Satan himself), influencing the Persian Empire and opposing God’s purposes.

The angel was detained by evil spiritual forces while our man Daniel was on his knees praying earnestly for wisdom. Yes, Satan attempted to oppose God’s plan, and God allowed that. God fulfilled greater spiritual purposes that we will likely never know, but He also allowed this delay to sanctify Daniel.

What happens after fasting and praying for three weeks? Kneeling before the throne of heaven, seeking His face without ceasing? You’re changed. God had allowed this spiritual battle to commence as He worked to sanctify Daniel, drawing him close.

The angel reveals to Daniel God’s plan for His chosen people—a prophecy of the future so detailed it could only come from the One who holds it in His hands. The answer to Daniel’s prayer for wisdom was eternally significant. When evil forces work hard to thwart God’s purposes, we can be sure something significant is at stake.

Two years ago, I sat hunched over the edge of my desk chair, sobbing in my office. God had opened the door for me to start pursuing a seminary degreea desire He’d grown in my heart for many years. Now, it was time. But I was suddenly crippled with fear.

How could I keep up with classes, a full-time job, ministry obligations, let alone any sense of community? Three weeks into my seminary education, I was about to quit.

God had called me to something big, but suddenly it didn’t feel practical anymore.  By His grace alone I didn’t quitI wanted to, but didn’t. And the exact same thing happened the following three semesters. A few times it was financial, a few times practical, but four semesters in a row, I almost quit. 

It took me four semesters to realize one thing: we have an enemy who wants to destroy what God is doing (John 10:10). All of it. Every good thing, every calling God has placed on our lives, the enemy wants to destroy it. 

Let us not forget that our struggle is not against flesh and blood on this earth. It is against the powers that work hard to thwart God’s purposes (Ephesians 6:12). God wants us prepared for battle, standing firm. He has given us weapons to demolish strongholds—His Word and prayer—and we need to be ready for the days of evil, which, according to Daniel 11, are still to come.

Look once more at the promise at the end of the vision. After all the wars and turmoil, all the fighting and oppression and annihilation, look at this promise: “Those who are wise will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens” (Daniel 12:3).

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)

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  • Kasey Summers

    Wow! I have had he same thing happening with me with seminary. So thankful to be reminded that fear is from the devil. He wants to destroy the calling God has on my life and he is where the fear comes from. Gods got it. He has strengthened me to get through these last three semesters and he will continue to. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s so good to know I’m not alone in feeling that way!

  • Stephanie Cline

    Beyond the fact that this is such an amazing truth, my husband and I really needed this today! This month we have been hit with really hard stuff, and on top of that, attend seminary as well. What she described is so true, and we have to continue on remembering who our fight is against.

  • shamekamichelle

    Until this devotional, I had no idea the vision Daniel received from God or God telling him about the end of time. I have never had anyone break it down that ppl can and will go against your prayers and causing waiting. Knowing that God sanctifies me as I draw near to Him during prayer gives me comfort and great joy. I'm learning just how vital prayer is to my everyday life.

  • Aimee Hadden

    Exactly the reminder I needed tonight!

  • lorinicole33

    this was a difficult one to keep up with

  • shellywildman

    Over the past few years I have fallen in love with the book of Daniel. In fact, I just joined SRT because of this study. God has really impressed a couple of things on my heart through the many times I've read through this book. First, as someone else pointed out, in chapter 9, God makes it so clear how very precious Daniel is to Him. And this tells me that I am precious to God, too–a lesson I've really needed to learn. Second, this chapter especially shows me that God is SO in control of the events of this world. Sometimes I look around and get discouraged by the state of our world, but I am reminded here that God's got this. Nothing will happen that will surprise Him. And in His timing He will take care of ALL of it. So exciting!!

  • Danielle A.

    The reminder about spiritual warfare, it’s so important. It’s often forgotten.

  • Awesome and powerful post, Missy! I'm in a similar journey where I feel led to go to seminary (which has also been on my heart for a while) but struggle with juggling full time work, ministry, community, etc. I was wondering, do you know how God is going to use that degree for you? Many assume that I am going into pastoral ministry, but I don't think I'm called to it. Thank you!

    • Irina

      Pastoral ministry meaning to be a pastor ? I’m asking as in my Russian community there is no pastoral ministry for women…

    • Missy

      Hi Maria! I’m excited for you that you also feel God calling you to pursue a seminary degree. I am hoping to use my degree to write Bible studies and teach women God’s Word and how to study it thoroughly for themselves. There are a lot of different options-a few women on staff at my church are also getting their seminary degrees and simply using it to be better equipped in their ministries. Praying that God will give you clear direction and purpose if you do pursue this! Though sometimes it’s tough, it’s absolutely worth it!

  • I love this! I love all of this! I have been asking God to speak to me when I pray, and reading Daniel, He has illuminated me saying that He does hear me and He will respond.

  • What struck me about these passages was verse 19, where God tells Daniel to be strong. Then it says “When he spoke to me, I was strengthened”.

    God’s voice, His word, it’s so powerful.

    Our Creator who spoke the world into motion longs to speak things into our lives. Things like peace and strength, like He did here with Daniel. Things like hope, and purpose.

    What a good, gracious, and loving God we have who would still want to speak to us today. And He does. He desires intimate walks with us, close relationships where He is upholding and filling us with all we need.

    So thankful for His nearness today.

  • Sarah_Olsen

    I agree that if you have not seen War Room you need too! It really put into perspective that we are fighting the wrong battles. The battles are not against each other, but against our common enemy the Devil. You see, Daniel could have been upset that his prayers weren't answered immediately, or he could have been angry and said he wasn't being heard, but he just kept praying, he kept fasting. Daniel was faithful to a faithful God. Daniel is my role model. Our pastor tells us every Sunday that the Devil comes immediately to take away the word sown in our hearts (Mark 4:15). Immediately. He comes immediately to take away what God is doing for us. But we need to stand firm, to be faithful to our Lord and Savior. God answers immediately, but Satan thwarts immediately. You see, there is a spiritual warfare going on day in and day out that we can't see with our eyes. And sometimes, we let Satan win. We stop praying, we stop fasting, we give up or assume that it wasn't God's will. Keep our eyes on God and keep praying. Jesus did not lie when He told us if we ask of it in His name and believe it to be so. Jesus does not lie. But Satan definitely steals, fights, envies, and destroys. Our God does not. Our God is faithful, just, righteous, holy. My Father loves me. My Father never gives up on me. My Father will always have time for me. My Father ALWAYS listens, hears, and does. My God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, He is, He was, and He will always be!!!

  • Margaret

    Thank you! I am also a seminary student. (At 46 years old) This semester just started and I’m already feeling overwhelmed and all dried up. It’s tuff juggling it all but this is the Lords will for my life and the lives of my family…I just needed a reminder.

  • I shared yesterday my concerns over balancing work and home life, that my thoughts are more often on teaching, and that I miss my little family. My thoughts are still consumed with teaching, but I'm reminded that… (1) God has this teaching thing. I am not alone. (2) God has my family. We are not alone. (3) I am a part of His plan, but I am not the plan.

    I'm reminded, too, to pray during the daily transition from teacher to mommy, so that I am the mommy He wants me to be (and not the mommy I want to be).

    So grateful for this change in me. So grateful that I feel His love wrapping me up.

    • Beverly

      Your words and thoughts are encouraging, Amy!
      Work/life balance is something that I have struggled with too. I'm one who tends to get consumed by her work. And as my Husband and I talk more seriously about starting our own family, this is something in the forefront of my mind. I recently walked away from a good job potential because I discovered it was going to demand mental energy outside of my at-work time. It was hard. And so not like the 'old' Bev, but my priorities have changed – thank you, Lord!
      I am so grateful for those times that He wraps us up in His love. :) What a marvelous God we serve!

      • kb

        Beverly, I am riding this struggle bus right now, so it’s great to hear your perspective. The old me finds her identity in work, spends all of her time and energy throwing herself into her job. It is a REAL struggle as our company grows to figure out my career path. I helped establish this company, growing it from 5 to over 140 and we are still growing. Advancement means more hours, commitment, and energy which is something the new me can’t quite get on board with. So I’m going through my own sort of spiritual battle / self battle, constantly praying God will settle my heart and desires to focus on what He wants of me. The new me would say more money / a better title is not necessarily worth it, but the old me still has issues falling down the chain after so many years of blood, sweat and tears. Anyway, all this to say it is great encouragement to hear your stories about your job choices and how God has been so active in that process. Thanks for always sharing — I identify with so much of what you have to say! :)

        • Beverly

          Thank you for encouraging me, kb!
          Reading your words reminded me of the book of Esther. How she was brought into the kingdom "for such a time as this." I'm confident that God has placed you where you are for a purpose, and that He will guide you as you listen and allow Him to lead.
          I'll be prayerful over your situation. Praying He gives you discernment and peace with each decision you make.

  • These words spoken to Daniel by the angel stick out to me: Be strong and of good courage. Where else have I heard these words? God spoke them to Joshua just before he entered the promised land – taking city by city IN BATTLE. These are God's words for His people when they are going into battle. Hang in there, be strong, be courageous. God would never send us into battle alone, He stands beside us, cheering us on and encouraging us the whole way. Be strong. Be courageous. War is not for the faint of heart, yet we often wake up in the middle of a warzone and wonder: how did i get here? And How do I get out? As with Joshua and Daniel, God strengthened HIs people. He gave them everything they needed for battle. He fought the battle with them. And he cheered them on, much like a mom cheers for her kids: Come on! You can do it! Swing that bat! Run that last mile. Push harder! Be strong! Be courageous!

  • wilson jacket

    The websites and online assistance mentioned here are quite relevant, and had I been a business graduate I would surely have made the most of the links provided. This is a beautifully writing and a large focus to talk on. I value this innermost sharing!

  • MNmomma (heather)

    But if not…

    Our family has been in a battle against the enemy. Last year, the enemy packed a punch, youngest had viral meningitis, oldest attempted suicide, middle had shoulder dislocation that resulted in loss of use of dominant hand for duration of school year……but all of it brought me closer to my Father…..seeking Him continually. Yesterday I got the call that no parent wants to get. Our oldest boy was in a roll-over. As I got the call, I heard the sirens….. I arrived on scene shortly after the state patrol and ambulance……I saw Alexander standing on the side of the road and began to tremble with relief. He was wrapped in God's arms during the accident. The cab of his truck was miraculously in tact….the extended cab part, just behind the driver's seat was crushed by a tree. He was on a country road….very sparse population….and a gentleman heard the crash, called 911 and took off running and stayed with him until help arrived…..He was blessed beyond measure. He walked away with a minor concussion. I keep telling Alexander that God has amazing plans for him……and this bubble of protection highlights this. May he draw closer to Jesus thru all of this….

  • He is always battling against God’s best, but God is stronger. Never forget.

  • Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers, for fighting the enemy and for sanctifying us for your purpose!

  • Sometimes it is so hard for me to remember that the battle is not against "flesh and blood". I know this, but every time I read these passages I think, "of course! That's why I feel so frustrated, confused, etc, etc" When the people in my life are right in front of me, or the situations are staring me in the face, THEY seem to be the problem and I forget about this very real, but unseen battle taking place. And I'm reminded that I need to spend a lot more time praying- it absolutely affects that spiritual realm.

  • rachel marie

    today's devo reminded me of john 16:33 – "i have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. but take heart, because i have overcome the world." God reminds us that we'll face many battles because our trust is in Him. but it doesn't say "i *will* overcome the world." God has already won the war! Jesus crushed satan with His heel when He died on that cross and rose again, so we have no need to fear. hallelujah!

  • Caroline @ In due time

    Thankful Jesus is victorious!!!! He wins over every spiritual battle!!!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Kelly_Smith

    Thank you for this, Missy! I am a few weeks away from going through a study on spiritual warfare in my small group. I saw the movie, War Room, with my family this weekend (PLEASE see this movie, friends!). This week, a friend from Singapore sent me a book on spiritual warfare. I selected Ephesians 6:12 as my memory verse earlier this week. And now, this. All the while, I am battling bitterness and frustration in my marriage. Lord, I hear you! My battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. All of your bolded statements spoke directly to my heart. God is working. The waiting is for my sanctification. Something significant is at stake. I am encouraged to continue fighting the battle on my knees. Pray and get out of the way!

    • ~ B ~

      Awesome Kelly! "Pray and get out of the way" – love that. I believe greatly that one of the biggest battles in this world is over our marriages. There is something significant at stake and it will always be an area we need to guard and protect with a fervency. Thankfully, we don't have to war alone. Prayerful over your heart here Kelly and that the bitterness and frustration be lifted. ~ B

    • Lyle

      I love how Daniel is strengthened in verses 17-19. Praying for you to be strengthened in the battle surrounding your marriage today!

    • Beverly

      Praying God gives you both humble hearts, Kelly.

    • Jenny R

      My husband and I started counseling this week, and the anger and bitterness I had a few weeks ago were revealed to be spiritual warfare one night as I prayed. I’m genuinely thankful for it as it prompted me to stop avoiding conflict and seek help for us. I also started reading Sacred Marriage and a book on anger, and they have really helped with some perspective. I’ll be praying for you. Hugs.

  • And even today in that very same region of the world the struggle continues. We Christians around the world need to stay in prayer as Daniel did because it affects that region and eventually the whole world. Lord, help me to pray. I

  • Candacejo

    Love this: "What happens after fasting and praying for three weeks? Kneeling before the throne of heaven, seeking His face without ceasing? You’re changed." As we talked about yesterday, God's timing isn't ours and He knows what will make us stronger or make us a witness for His glory.

    If we never had a trial how would we know what God could do? And those trials may be strengthening us for something to come that we couldn't possibly face without learning to pray and fast during difficult times. In earlier studies we saw Daniel wasn't thwarted by a decree from the king not to pray to his God…he was so accustomed to his "habit", he was so dedicated to his God, that nothing could keep him from time with the One who gives strength, wisdom and power to overcome the spiritual forces at work. You are right Missy, spiritual warfare is real! But with the power of the Holy Spirit we can also overcome. ♥

    • Beverly

      Love this perspective, CandaceJo. God graciously strengthens us *through* our trials.

  • Abby Grisham

    It’s encouraging to read the story again of Daniel waiting the three weeks for the answer and to remember God is always working behind the scenes and fighting our battles for us.
    Because he is fighting for us, and with His armor on, we fight much more skillfully and we are protected! Imagine if we didn’t have Jesus in our corner!
    I love how In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us TWICE to put on the FULL armor.
    Thank you Lord for giving us full access to the truth in the ways of stories of godly men and instruction on how to fight. ❤️

  • "For our battle is not against flesh and blood!" Ephesians 6:12

    This can sound so overwhelming. When we consider that there is so much war over this world and the sin in it, a huge product from that it can easily become a place that sours us. I can speak to that angle in my marriage. Prior to its redemption there were times I was convinced my husband was the worst person on the planet, but there were greater times (only by God in me) that I knew it wasn't him I was fighting, it was the Enemy. Knowing *who* I was fighting against allowed me to have more compassion on the human in my husband and allowed me to have the strength to persevere when I didn't feel like it anymore. But one of the things that helped me to see what the enemy really is was a moment with my youngest at the time. She was pushing my buttons in an extreme way, as any toddler would do, but this particular day was tough. It was about the time, I began to notice there was something different about her and her fits were extreme. She sat on the floor in our dining room fighting with me, the most fervent look on her face with her eyes speaking, "you think you're going to win this, but you won't. I'm not giving up. I'm going to kick and scream and fight you until I get what I want." (we call this her "firestarter" look – she's still got it :)) The reality of the enemy in our lives is this. He is as desperate as a warring toddler. He will fight and push our buttons, he will do everything he can to wear us down and there will be days, just as in parenting, that he will succeed, but the bigger battle has already been won. This "toddler", never wins. Even better than a good parent wanting to stand firm against their two-year-old in a battle of wills, God stands unyielding ….the enemy will never win, in fact, he has already lost, he is nothing but a fitting child trying to get his way … we need to remember just as the angel said to Daniel in verse 18 …"don’t be afraid. God loves you very much. Peace be with you. Be strong now; be courageous.” … it is imperative we know who we are fighting and it's even more imperative that we know WHO has already one! Grateful for a loving father, standing solid in His position, guaranteeing my salvation and victory over our enemies. ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Yes! And I loved it to when he was told he was special to God and loved so very much!

    • Deb

      Yes! I need to focus on that, B! We are fighting a spiritual enemy, not each other!

    • Kelly_Smith

      Thank you for this word. I chose Ephesians 6:12 as my memory verse earlier this week after warring emotions surrounding my marriage. I, too, needed to remember that my battle is not against my husband but against the cosmic powers over this present darkness. That phrase–this present darkness–reminds me that the cloud hanging over our home is temporary. The Light of Christ will break through when the time is right. In the meantime, I fight on my knees and wait.

    • Janny

      Thank you for sharing this, B! Your words were an ah-ha moment for me this morning.

      Lord, help me be ever mindful that my husband is human, not the enemy. Help me to fill my mind with truth, and to recognize the lies for what they are and whose the are (the enemy’s)!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh man, this is so beyond true…..

    • Beverly

      Know who we are fighting, and more importantly Who has already won! Love this, B.

  • Wow, these chapters were hard and heavy. But I found it encouraging that in chapter 12 after the all the war and turmoil and the great prince arises… “There will be a time of distress… But at that time your people… will be delivered” (v. 1). What hope?
    When we face the challenges of our lives, we can take heart because it is in the distress that God is drawing us near, working on our behalf, refining our troubled hearts. Our struggles are real. They can be long – seemingly unending – BUT God is in control. (I can fight *it* all I want, but this does not change His work, His plan, His timing.) And Christ is walking with me. Can I see Him? Can I feel His love wrapping me up, even if only in glimpses? Oh, my soul, is praying today to know His nearness in the midst of my own hard season. Even if just for a moment, I want to hold on to that. To know that He is with me. And to trust unwaveringly that God is working…always working.
    Lord, continue to refine me, even when it’s hard and heavy. Lord, I pray You would grow in me wisdom so that I may “shine like the brightness of the heavens.” Your work is good, always so good.

    • ~ B ~

      God IS working, always working ….. perfect truth Beverly! ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Beautiful, Beverly ♥

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Praying with you Beverly <3

    • Amy J

      Grateful for your words, Beverly.

    • SusieT

      Sorry! Meant to click the thumbs up! – not the other.
      Beverly – you explained it so well! And had not Daniel had to wait those three long weeks, that experience would not have appeared in the Bible, where it now gives us hope and encouragement.

  • Brandie L.

    Powerful writing! His abundance of care for my personal growth in knowing him and loving him more (even through the battles) always amazes me. "God had allowed this spiritual battle to commence as He worked to sanctify Daniel, drawing him close."
    Standing Firm with you!
    Thank you!

  • carlybenson

    A few things stand out to me from these chapters. First, Daniel is repeatedly reminded, "You are very precious to God." (10:11, 10:19 and also 9:23).
    Then in Ch 11 it talks about all the chaos of the kings fighting and plotting against one another but then says in v 23: "but it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time." In other words, God's in charge.
    I think both of these things are really important to hold onto in times when we face battles or feel our prayers are going unanswered- God is in charge and we are very precious to him.
    Finally in Ch 11 it talks about the king of the north setting himself against God's people but v 32 says, "But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him." We may not understand all that's going on, and there will be times when it's hard and scary and we are under attack but the key thing is knowing God and holding onto the truth of who he is.
    Thank you so much for this study. I'm really enjoying getting to grips with these less familiar parts of the book of Daniel.

  • Michelle of LA CA

    Missy I loved your writing , thank you .
    "God fulfilled greater spiritual purposes that we will likely never know, but He also allowed this delay to sanctify Daniel."
    I liked this ~ He also allowed this delay to sanctify Daniel" . Been there myself many times . God giving me patience and strength during my hard times .
    Thank you Missy .

  • This is tough. On one hand, the battle has already been won. All our already defeated foe really has the authority to do is lie to us. But those lies can inflict more damage than any other weapon if we let them. So we're told to stand firm, guard our hearts, and be aware of who our real enemy is.
    It's so easy to pin the blame on the person who says or does something that triggers a lie in me, maybe without even knowing it. But God challenges me to stand against those lies and acknowledge the truth of what's really going on.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Soooooo true!

    • Courtney

      Ms. Hannah,
      I have struggled with "guard your heart" for so long now. I think about the phrase/verse, and ponder it frequently. I still don't get it! What does that mean to you? I hear it a lot in my spirit, but it usually discourages or worries me. Please help me!

      -Courtney

      • hannah

        Hi Courtney,
        Let's look at the original Hebrew: the word translated "guard" can also mean watch, observe, keep, or protect in other places in the Bible. The word heart means "inner shepherd". So to me this phrase means "Be aware of the condition of your inner shepherd".
        You can't guard your heart if you don't know what's in it. So I'm convinced a big part of guarding your heart is paying attention to your emotions. Not that we are led by our emotions, but we pay attention to them because they reveal our true beliefs (actually, people who suppress or deny their emotions are much more likely to be influenced by them without realizing it). Does that help clarify things at all? Let me know if it raises more questions!

        • Courtney

          Ms. Hannah,
          Thank you! So guarding your heart isn't necessarily a bad thing? It just means pay attention to what you dwell on. This covers your emotions and your mind? This was always discouraging to me because I didn't get it, and I heard it ALL the time. Please pray for me if you think about it I definitely need help in this area.

          • hannah

            Courtney, In this sense guarding your heart isn't a bad thing AT ALL! We're told to do it in proverbs 4:23. This isn't talking about putting up unhealthy walls or being defensive. I will definitely pray that God will teach you how to find the right balance with this!

    • melindawatters

      Hannah, your words hit home: "it's so easy to pin the blame on the person who says or does something that triggers a lie in me". I have felt challenged to pick up the sword of truth to battle against these lies and your words have spurred me on in this. Thank you!

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