Daniel knew the prophecies well. He knew that Jeremiah had prophesied 70 years of captivity for the Israelites, and now—joy of joys—those years were almost complete! Daniel should’ve been happy, but he had had a vision that threw him into deep depression. This vision predicted a long time period of trouble for God’s people before the sanctuary would finally be restored—2,300 days. Taken literally, this is only 6 ½ years, but Daniel knew that this meant much longer than just a few years. He was devastated, and thought that the cause for this delay in the temple’s restoration was caused by the Jews’ further disobedience to God.
So Daniel did what all of us ought to do when we are in the throes of depression, or when we don’t understand God’s plan—he prayed. And he prayed a very long prayer, asking God to forgive him and the rest of the Jews for their unfaithfulness. His final plea was, “Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name” (verse 19).
Suddenly Daniel looked up. He described it like this:
“While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, ‘O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.’”
God loved Daniel so much that, at the moment Daniel began his prayer, God made an announcement on heaven’s loudspeakers asking for someone to head down to earth to encourage Daniel. Gabriel—the top angel in heaven—accepted the call, and “in swift flight,” hurried down to Daniel as fast as he could. He told Daniel that he was greatly loved, and then gave him the best hope anyone could imagine.
Gabriel explained to Daniel exactly when the haunting “2,300 day” vision would actually begin, and explained what the first part would look like. This prophecy pinpointed the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and a few other events as well. And probably most comforting to Daniel, it assured him that this prophecy was not the time it would take for the Jews to return to Jerusalem!
When we pray, God answers. He may not send an angel down to us right away (although He still does sometimes), but we can have the confidence that He will be with us when we ask Him! I’m so glad that I have a God who loves His children so much that He goes to colossal lengths to comfort them!
Timmy Baze 😀