Day 18

Kings of the South and the North

from the Daniel reading plan


Daniel 11:5-45, Ezekiel 20:4-9, Matthew 23:37-39

BY Melanie Rainer

My daughters were in Narnia for the first time this summer. Every night, they’d beg for the next chapter of C.S. Lewis’s beloved fantasy series. The spell has taken them in, totally, as we talk of Aslan and Lucy, of Reepicheep and Mr. Tumnus, of glory and dust, of past and future. Prince Caspian is the second book in the series, and its opening chapters read like a stop-and-start, future-and-past prophecy. The Pevensie children return to Narnia, and find themselves retracing their Narnian steps 1300 years after they left, though it has only been a year at home in England. Caspian, the titular character, knew the legends but never expected to find Peter and Susan and Edmund and Lucy and Aslan to come to his aid, restoring his place as rightful king.

As they struggle to grasp the reality of waking up in the ancient ruins of their once-glorious Cair Paravel, time shifts forward and backward in their minds. Could this be my sword? Peter wonders. Our table? Our home? Is this where we danced and played and ruled a beautiful, peaceful kingdom?

Holding the tension of “the already and not yet,” the mix of grief with memory but also hope, is a benchmark of the Christian life, and I felt that familiar, yet somehow distant, feeling while reading Daniel’s third prophecy, in Daniel 11. Already living in exile, Daniel is given a prophecy of an even longer exile, while also clinging to the hope of the Davidic kingdom the Israelites had once known, longing for the time when they would finally leave exile and rebuild Jerusalem.

Daniel’s prophecies were very real to his audience and to the Jewish people. They predicted events that would be fulfilled over the next four hundred years of Israel’s history—redemption that would come for a season and a people. But the redemption Daniel foresaw comes to us as well. We cling to the hope of something that was here once (Eden), and we know will one day come again (God’s fully restored kingdom). 

Daniel’s prophecies, especially here, are for us, too, as people of God’s already-and-not-yet kingdom. As believers with a future hope, we constantly experience the push and pull of kingdom living. Our hearts quicken to signs and wonders, reminding us of something that hasn’t happened yet, but we somehow miss and long for anyway. We are Prince Caspian, steeped in the ancient history of our beloved kingdom, but never expecting the good king himself to break into our present. 

But when he does, it’s glorious. And that hope that Daniel prophesies and the rest of Scripture proclaims, is very real. God’s kingdom is everlasting, from generation to generation. Once, hundreds of years after Daniel’s exile, Jesus broke into the earthly realm and planted the seeds of God’s kingdom. And one day, He will come again, and bring with Him the full flourishing kingdom that our hearts were made to hope for.

Post Comments (26)

26 thoughts on "Kings of the South and the North"

  1. Megan Herren says:

    Reading this passage today made me think of how similar it sounds to what’s happening in our country. This passage could honestly be about the upcoming election and the constant fighting, it’s wild. So interesting how things are the same even centuries later.

    1. Bee Feltner says:

      I’ve been saying the same thing, about how you can look at the OT/NT and see how people are still the same. Many have learned, but there are also many still living in sin & strife.

    2. Karly Richards says:

      Absolutely!!

  2. Sarah Eral says:

    The feelings described in today’s devotion remind me (fittingly) of C.S. Lewis’s definition of Joy—a mix of brilliant emotion with deep, unexplainable longing.
    “All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be.’” His book Surprised by Joy is full of gems like this, for those interested!

  3. Margaret W says:

    It is amazing how much the descriptions of these leaders look like they could have come from this morning’s newspaper. Human nature doesn’t change much! And yet, God has reassured us what the end will be. It is in His hands.

  4. Dorothy says:

    I have been going back and catching up on reading the comments. I would like to thank those of you who encouraged the single ladies. I’m divorced and lately have been wondering about whether to get back into a relationship. After reading what was written, I now know that if God wants me to find someone I will in His time not in mine just like Daniel and God’s people would return to their land in God’s time not in their time.

  5. CeeGee says:

    What a blessing it is to study with you ladies each day! Your comments always inspire me.
    DOROTHY, it is great to have you back! Thanks for the update on your sister and nephew. Finley and her family are in my prayers today and I will be praying for your heart as you care for her post-surgery.
    TAYLOR, your pastor’s quote really impacted me, too, and I shared with my husband.
    CC, you will be in my prayers! I am kind of there myself these days.
    PRAYER REQUEST: My husband is having a sleep study tonight and we are praying for answers. He has had a difficult time the past few months. Thank you!
    By the way, the footnotes below the Scripture reading add a lot of meat to these studies if you have the to invest! Have a blessed, peaceful, hopeful day!!!

  6. Allison Bentley says:

    Love this- thanks for sharing!

  7. Rhonda J. says:

    Building 429 “Where I Belong.”
    This song instantly comes to mind! When the earth shakes, I want to be found in You! When the lights fade, I want to be found in you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he32vwlKQPY

  8. Maura says:

    Rita, praying for your Mom, His rest and healing. Nanak, love that song so powerful, I remember belting it out years ago on my way to work and feeling God strengthen me for my day in the ER back then,thanks for posting it. The Lord of Angel Armies is indeed always by my side.Today the kings of the south and the kings of the north confuse me, but the self elevation and self worship that the flesh and the world seem to desire is so prevalent today. Angie, your words on the radio going in and out, is familiar to me in some of the places I have driven many times, and the static that the world brings, whether it is political, effects of covid, or other interruptions, I am so thankful that as we draw near to the Lord even through all that is meant by the enemy to divide us, or pull us away from the King of kings, truly has no power because Jesus is the victor and there is where we know we are united in the blood, the forgiveness, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Taylor, I loved what you quoted yesterday from your Pastor, “God what’s my life in your plan, will?” This really is great. May we be God focused and step in to all He is doing by His power in our weakness, praying without ceasing, loving and serving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And one last comment, as it really made me smile throughout the day yesterday, and I did not have time to comment, Angie, Twinkie and Dinkie, gave me many giggles and I love the sweet thought of your children naming their guardian angels. I imagine in my heart that the mighty guardians were also filled with joy to be named so lovingly. So thankful for your stories Angie, praying over you and all teachers this day, His strength and peace in your spirit, and His overwhelming love touching all your students through the words and laughter and joy you share. ❤️❤️❤️

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