There are 2 books in our Bible that are apocalyptic…a word not intended to conjure up the catastrophic…the unthinkable…the dreaded…or the terrible. Apocalpyse means an unveiling…a revealing. The two books are The Revelation (of Jesus Christ) and Daniel – especially chapters 7-12. Apocalyptic literature is typically filled with bold imagery that is intended to engage our imaginations. There is a caution though…most people spend too much time focused on trying to decode the imagery when they should focus on allowing God to work through their imaginations.
Daniel 7-8: Chapter 7 begins the second half of Daniel – the 4 visions. Visions of world empires. Visions alluding to moral characteristics of these nations. Nations that would be cruel and evil and rule over Israel. Through it all though Daniel was able to see God’s Kingdom that would not only arrive but conquer the 4 nations. From Ch 8 to the end of Daniel, the prophecy, even though it concerns the Gentiles, is occupied with human history as it relates to Israel. Ch 8 is really a tough passage – it has brought many biblical scholars to their knees so, maybe a word from Paul might help as you embrace this chapter – may the Holy Spirit speak into your life…”All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).
There is still an agonizing question though in Ch 8 – why would God provide a prophecy that leaves Daniel “overcome and lay sick for some days…but I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it”? The trouble is that most of us want the answers but prophecy is not provided so that we will understand everything God has in mind and why he is doing it. Prophecy exists so that can be comforted in knowing that the future is in God’s hands…that he is in control. And even though there may be visions of suffering, we are to trust that God is God and we are not.
Psalm 134: Is part of a group of “song of ascents” addressing the priests and the Levites who kept watch at the temple, the pilgrim asked that heavenly blessings be given them from Zion.
Luke 18: These verses include two of Jesus’ parables about prayer. One was addressed to the disciples (vv. 1-8), and the other (vv. 9-14) to “some who were confident of their own righteousness.” Verses 15-17 are a short interlude following up on the previous parable. Jesus had taught that it was necessary to be humble before God. In these verses He compared that humility to childlikeness. In these words Jesus was stating that a person must come to Him in humility in order to enter the kingdom. Children come with expectation and excitement. They come realizing that they are not sufficient in themselves. They depend totally on others. The concluding verses of Ch 18 find Jesus teaching that wealth is a hindrance to the important issues of life.
Devotion: It is good to worship the God of Creation…it is very good to humbly approach God in prayer with an attitude of childlike behavior and it is especially good to have our priorities grounded and focused on Jesus. Through it all though comes the reality that we should let God be God…to trust that he has things under control despite what may be happening in our lives or in our world.