Scripture Focus: Daniel 8.26-27
26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”
27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.
8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the LORD when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
Reflection: Facing a Biblical Disaster
By John Tillman
For some people the only use of the word “biblical” they are familiar with is as an adjective to describe the proportions of disasters. 2020 has brought multiple disasters described as being of “biblical proportions.”
Along with physical disasters, this year has brought the exhausting mental and emotional disaster of trying to sort out truth from the storm of misinformation and lies. Every problem we face seems to have competing sets of “facts” that conveniently paint one political side or the other as being the problem.
The unnatural disaster of conspiracy theories getting injected into churches by mainstream and fringe news outlets has caused spiritual and emotional trauma for many. How is it people who claim to know the truth that will set us free, have become unable to agree on basic truths?
Christians have been filling up on bread with the yeast of conspiracy theories rather than the bread of life, and we are belching up harmful and hateful lies as a result. As Ed Stetzer has said, “Gullibility is not a spiritual gift.”
Too many Christians follow political pundits more closely than Jesus Christ. Their spiritual diet depends more on news programs than Bible passages. They are more concerned with the status and power of their political party, than the health and productivity of the body of Christ, God’s Church. Many Christians would rather change churches (or fire their pastors) than face uncomfortable truths from the Bible that conflict with their political worldview.
This is the true biblical disaster of 2020.
Many ask, “Are we in the end times?” I don’t know. I do think we are seeing what they are like. Visions of the end, as Daniel can attest, are exhausting and terrifying. Daniel tells us, wisely I think, that visions of the end are “beyond understanding.” Even with Gabriel’s explanation, he still couldn’t understand.
May we mimic Daniel’s faithfulness through confusion and weariness, his caution in not sharing what he didn’t understand, and his focus on prayer and the scriptures.
Rest and trust in Christ. Your exhaustion and confusion is real and justified.
Lay anguish, rage, and sadness from this crisis-filled year at the feet of Jesus, rather than weaponize it against your brothers and sisters.
Go about our king’s business. Love one another well and share the good news (the gospel) that unites us rather than news that conspires to divide us.
Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Of Jesus, it is written; “In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.” — Mark 1.35
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle
Daniel 8 (Listen – 4:39)
Psalm 116 (Listen – 1:34)
This Weekend’s Readings
Daniel 9 (Listen – 5:22), Psalm 117-118 (Listen – 2:52)
Daniel 10 (Listen – 3:18), Psalm 119:1-24 (Listen – 15:14)
Read more about Worship and Politics
I have never heard anyone say that a politically tinged sermon which agreed with their politics was “too political.”
Read more about The Seductive Idolatry of Politics
Politics is the most powerful new religion of this millennium…politics poses a greater threat to the gospel than any other religion.