In chapter six of his book Daniel looks like a hero. Do you think he looks like a hero in chapter 10?
The lion’s den was now a distant memory. After serving for decades in the administrations of foreign kings, Daniel the Jewish statesman was now an old man (probably in his eighties or nineties), but he hadn’t retired from his career as a prophet. God continued to reveal profound truth to Daniel, and some of the Lord’s message was so disturbing that Daniel went on a partial fast for three weeks. God sent a heavenly ambassador to speak with him face to face, and Daniel’s friends fled, leaving the old prophet alone to confront the divine messenger all by himself.
To describe Daniel as overwhelmed would be an understatement. He admitted, “I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless” (Daniel 10:8). He passed out and fell to the ground (v. 9). As the conversation continued, Daniel staggered to his feet “trembling” (v. 11) and “speechless” (v. 15), barely managing to sputter, “My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe” (v. 17).
Weak, exhausted, scared, old, speechless, and alone. Does that sound like a hero to you?
Bearing Fruit in Old Age
When we’re young, faith motivates us to venture into the lion’s den like Daniel did. In our early 20s my wife and I moved to Long Island, New York, where we helped to lead a new church on the outskirts of New York City. Our 10 years with South Nassau Christian Church turned out to be one of the happiest adventures of our lives. We had to exercise our faith muscles every day.
Decades later, with years of experience under my belt, I am learning that God still doesn’t want my faith muscles to atrophy. I’m not “aged” yet. (My grandchildren say I’m “medium old.”) But as the years pass I’m discovering new ways that I need to rely on the Lord.
My body isn’t as strong as it was when I was young. Will my health hold up as I grow older? (Probably not.) Will my faith remain strong when my body lets me down?
The culture—and even the church itself—keeps changing. Amid the shifting sands of human wisdom, will I keep building my life on the solid rock of Christ? Will my convictions be strong, my relationship with God vibrant, and my attitude hopeful, encouraging, and winsome? Will I be salt and light, or will I settle for blandness and darkness? Will I keep examining God’s Word to know what I believe and why I believe it? Will the fruit of the Spirit be evident in every stage of my life? Will I grow more loving as I age? Will I “still bear fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:14)?
When he was a young man Daniel trusted God to rescue him from the lions. As a seasoned veteran Daniel continued to grow in his faith, and God’s message in Daniel chapter 10 remains relevant to us in every stage of life. Humble yourself before God. He will answer your prayers and renew your strength. His Book of Truth (Daniel 10:21) remains in force. When you feel overwhelmed, you’re not overmatched. The Lord is with you. Don’t be afraid.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2017, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, ©2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.