More Than Meets the Eye
Daniel was a prophet who had been taken out of his own home country and taken to a totally different culture. In the middle of that foreign, godless culture, Daniel represented God, took a strong stand for God, and was used by God to radically transform the culture around him. That is what we need to do today to be used by God to radically transform the culture around us.
What is culture?
Culture is the values, beliefs, language, communication, and practices that we shared in common with the people around us. Culture is what we know to be true, our common sense, assumptions, and expectations. It is our rules, laws, and morals that we live by; what we say, our symbols we use, our entertainment, how we express ourselves, our holidays. Really, it’s our way of life.
But what happens when we all live in the same country, and the same community, but we have essentially two ways that we see culture? That has been happening in the U.S. for the past many decades.
This has been called a Culture War. That’s where there is this battle between different groups for their values and beliefs.
Traditionally, we’ve had shared values and goals, and we’ve argued over how to reach those goals. Today, we can’t agree on the goals, much less agree about how to get there.
I think you would agree with me that there is a culture war happening right now. There is even a popular term you hear a lot about called Cancel Culture. Cancel Culture is when someone steps out of line from what the culture says is acceptable to them, so they get cancelled, or banned or boycotted.
As believers, we are not here to cancel culture, but to live counter to culture!!!
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
The book of Daniel is the earliest and best example of what is called Apocalyptic Writing in the Old Testament. The New Testament book of Apocalyptic Writing is the book of Revelation. When most people hear the word apocalypse, they immediately think of “The end of the world!” That’s not really what Apocalyptic literature is all about. What apocalypse really means is “to uncover, unveil, or to reveal.” It’s all about seeing something that was previously unseen.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. Daniel 10:1
Daniel has this vision that only he can see, and the people around him are terrified just by the presence of what is happening and the way Daniel responds to this vision. He reacts by praying for three weeks.
I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. Daniel 10:5-6
If you don’t realize what’s really going on behind the “seen,” then you will naturally be terrified. Look around you today. The people who don’t know that a spiritual battle is happening around them are living in fear of an unseen enemy. I’m not talking about a virus. I’m talking about the spiritual forces at work who are opposing themselves to God.
1. There is a very real war.
It is a spiritual battle happening behind the scenes. Or behind the seen, what you can see with your eyes. There is a very real battle that we are in with a very real, literal enemy named Satan.
Whatever battle you’re going through today, the devil is the real enemy. You think it’s with that other person. But your battle is against the powers and principalities that are at war in the heavenly places. Remember there’s more than meets the eye, so we have to start looking at our circumstance with spiritual eyes.
2. There is a very Real Victor!
Jesus and the Devil are not equal powers engaged in an equal struggle! Jesus is eternal!!! With no beginning and no ending! Jesus is all powerful.
Whatever battle you’re facing today, you’re not fighting on your own. Jesus is the Conquerer. “Greater is He that lives in me than He who is in the world.” So, we are not fighting for victory. Because Jesus already won! We are fighting from a position of victory. You are not a victim, because Jesus is the Victor!!!
The devil is a defeated enemy. He was defeated at the cross.
3. There is a very Real Battle Plan.
“but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.” Daniel 10:21
God’s Word, the Bible, outlines the strategy that God has to finish the battle. So, we don’t have to make up the strategy, we just do what our commanding officer has already told us to do!
We don’t fight the way the world does. Our battle is not with violence or with force or worldly weapons.
Phase 1: Pray!
The way you fight the battle is with prayer. One of the most important parts of a battle is clear communication with your commanding officer.
Prayer is not a defensive weapon, prayer is an offensive weapon!
One strategy of the enemy is to cut off the communication chain! He wants to confuse the communication. How does he do that? With distractions, like texts and notifications as you try to pray.
If the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.
Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12
Your prayers are far more powerful than you know. We need to be praying right now like never before!
You can do a lot after you pray, but you can do nothing of any eternal value until you pray!
Phase 2: Rescue the Prisoners of War.
We are not at war with our culture. We are fighting for the people in our culture. Those people who have been taken prisoner. It’s like they’re prisoners of war in this War of the Worlds!
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:23
How should we see people? That person is not your enemy!
If you’re fighting with a person, then you’re fighting the wrong enemy!
They are people who are held captive by the enemy.
You can’t argue people into the Kingdom of God.
You may win the argument and lose the person or the relationship! Don’t be a jerk for Jesus!!! No one ever said, “Wow! I’ve completely changed my opinion on this important because of your rant on Facebook!” We need to win their hearts to Jesus, because that will change their lives. That will change our culture!
And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Daniel 10:11
We are going to stand in the gap for our culture. We are not going to capitulate to culture.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Romans 12:2
Be sure about whose side you are on. Are you on the Lord’s side today? If you are, then today, you can live in the victory that Jesus won on the cross. He won the battle not by killing, but by dying! Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for the sin of the world!