Read Daniel 8
Focus on verse 15 and 27
As clever as I believe myself to be, I freely admit that there are many things that I don’t fully understand. This does not mean that I don’t try to gain understanding of them. It just means that I have decided that I can live with accepting some things as incomprehensible – at least for the moment. The funny thing about knowledge is that the more one begins to understand about things the more one realizes how much more there is that one still does not understand. For those who refuse to accept that which they don’t understand this can sometimes cause an intellectual meltdown of sorts.
In today’s reading Daniel has another vision, about which he states,
When I, Daniel, had seen the vision I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. (v. 15)
This being that had the appearance of a man turns out to be the archangel Gabriel who encourages Daniel to understand that the vision is for the time of the end. Unfortunately we are not clearly told what end that might be exactly, though we do get a few more clues out of the context as we read on.
Daniel was one of the king’s wise men. He was well versed and educated in the ways not only of the Jews, which he would have learned prior to his captivity, but also in the ways of the Babylonians and the Medes and Persians, which he learned in the first three years of his captivity. The point being, Daniel was no dummy, but when we get to the last verse of the chapter he admits,
And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. (v. 27)
Did you catch that? Even after having it explained to him by an angel – he did not understand it! While that may be frustrating to some people, I find consolation in those words, because there is a great deal in regard to the book of Daniel that I also do not understand.
It is my suspicion that there are some parts of the Bible that we are not supposed to understand just yet. It is also possible that when the time is right, the Holy Spirit will give understanding to us so that we do understand and can respond to it. Now, this does not give us an excuse not to study in order to understand. On the contrary it should motivate us to work all the more toward seeking understanding – just as Daniel did when he had this confusing dream – he sought to understand it. As far as we know, it becomes clear that at this point in his life he was going to have to live with a little mystery.
A little mystery is not a bad thing to have in one’s life. If I understood everything there was to understand I would no longer need God because I would BE God! Since that is not likely to happen any time soon, I will resolve to be thankful for that which I do understand, and trust that God can handle the things I do not yet understand. It makes my life a whole lot less stressful.