Worse Than a Lion’s Den
Lord, there is much in my world that can cause me to fear and despair. Help me to lift up my eyes and find my hope in You.
Read Daniel 7:1-14
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Note verse 13; this is the first reference to Jesus as the son of man. See Mark 14:62 and Revelation 1:7 for the fulfillment of this prophesy in Jesus.
The book of Daniel divides into two halves. The stories about Daniel and his friends take up the first six chapters. The second half of the book is far less familiar and, for many, unexplored territory. Here are laid out four prophecies from the latter part of Daniel’s ministry—prophesies that came to him and were not simply explained by him. The prophecy we read today takes most of us way beyond our comfort zone.
Today we read the dream and tomorrow we will find the explanation. The first half of the dream is taken up with the description of four wild beasts that emerge from a turbulent sea, each one violent, grotesque and terrifying. A lion with wings and a human mind; a bear on its side; a leopard with four wings; and the fourth, worse than the rest, with iron claws and ten horns on its head. Then a “little” horn (8) emerges and begins to uproot the other horns.
At this stage, the only clue of explanation we have is the vision in chapter 2, of four kingdoms emerging in turn (2:36–40), but whereas empires like to portray themselves in statuesque form, impressive and worthy of our loyalty, the reality for many is that they are oppressive, bent on plunder and domination. Suddenly a more reassuring figure stands over against them. The Ancient of Days is portrayed, sitting on his throne, surrounded by his court. His poise puts the posturing of the others into perspective, and his clear domination makes the wild animals a sideshow. Finally another figure emerges like a “son of man” (13) and to him final power is given and the ultimate authority bestowed. It is this final vision on which our hope is centered and from which we can draw our strength.
Read again verses 9, 10, 13 and 14. In what ways can the truths contained in these verses help you move from fear to hope?
Lord, there is so much in my world that can cause me to fear and despair. Help me to lift up my eyes and find my hope in You.