Read Daniel 11
Focus on verse 32-33
Standing firm is next to impossible if one does not have a solid footing upon which to stand. If your feet are mired in deep mud or sinking in shifting sand one does well just to keep from falling head-long. To stand firm it is essential to have one’s feet firmly planted upon a solid rock that does not shift or roll underfoot when things get stressful.
In today’s reading Daniel is informed of times in the future during which evil rulers will profane the temple and persecute people who remain faithful to God. These will be stressful times for those who attempt to remain faithful to the Lord, and many will give in or be deceived by the flattery of this wicked ruler. Daniel describes it as follows:
He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. (v. 32-33)
This is a fascinating statement because it describes quite accurately the condition of the contemporary western church. In a recent survey by Barna (see Barna’s report here) there seems to be an indication that while a majority of Americans call themselves “Christian”, a much smaller percentage hold to one of the essential tenets of the Christian faith – that being the deity of Christ.
The foundational premise of God’s grace and forgiveness is that Christ was able to redeem humanity because He was both human and divine. To call Christ’s divinity into question undermines the very foundation upon which our redemption stands.
When Daniel writes of people who violate the covenant being deceived by the flattery of a deceptive, evil leader, it brings to my mind those who attempt to defend or excuse behavior that God describes as abominable in the name of love and tolerance.
Daniel goes on to prophesy “people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” These are the people who are not deceived by the flattery because they are familiar with God and the truth of His word.
I am encouraged by the words of verse thirty-three which states that the wise will make many understand, though I expect there will be some, as there have been in the past, who will pay the ultimate price with their lives for standing firm upon God’s truth.
Those who benefit from being able to deceive people with lies do not appreciate it when someone comes along and starts speaking the truth because it break the power that they have to be able to manipulate people with their lies. In my view that motivates me all the more to study the truth – so that I can get it right. I want to know that when I take a stand, that I am standing on rock, and not just any rock, but the rock of my salvation – Jesus Christ my Lord.