What Do Spiritual Battles Look Like? – A Behind The Scenes Look From Daniel 10
Daniel 10:2-4 – In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris)
Daniel 10:10-14 – And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
1. Daniel was serious about the spiritual battle.
Daniel was a person who lived in the midst of great darkness. Idol worship took place on all sides. His peers schemed politically. The riches of the world and all the pleasures and luxurious he could have wanted were available.
But Daniel did not care for these things. He did not indulge himself in the pleasures of the world. While he lived in the capital of a rich empire, his heart was not there. His heart was set on his people.
Daniel cared deeply for his people. He wanted them to be victorious. And he wanted to know God’s plan for his people’s future.
Daniel therefore engages himself in a spiritual battle, fighting on behalf of God’s people. So what does he do?
He mourns for three weeks. During this time he fasts from meat, wine, and all delicacies. Verse 12 says that he “humbled” himself before the Lord. Daniel sets his heart on fighting this spiritual battle. He doesn’t come with weapons. He doesn’t come with schemes. He comes with a humble and committed heart. He does not just dabble in and get his toes wet. He doesn’t just pray for a few minutes and then say, “my job is done.” Daniel commits himself. He is all in. And that requires sacrifice.
Daniel is more than willing to sacrifice for this spiritual battle.
Application: Perhaps there is a serious issue you need to take before the Lord. Are you willing to sacrifice? How committed are you? What are you willing to give up? Serious prayer and fasting requires sacrifice. When you take a serious issue to the Lord you should not just live your life exactly the same and offer a few moments of prayer here or there. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord. We need to focus our whole attention on Him. Like David, we do not come with a javelin. We do not come with weapons of this world. But ours our spiritual weapons. How serious are you about the spiritual battle in front of you?
2. We are greatly loved – fear not
Daniel 10:11-12 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not.”
When God’s messenger comes to Daniel, the very first thing he says is that Daniel is “greatly loved.” That is a very important message. It did take over three weeks for Daniel to receive a reply. For us it can take much longer before we see God’s answers to prayer. And sometimes when we look around, it may seem that the other side is winning. The last year and a half has been chaotic in many ways. Many have faced challenges in business, family, and ministry.
I believe God’s message to us is the same as the one to Daniel, we are greatly loved. We must not interpret trials as apathy from God. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that God loves His church, and He loves every person in it. He wants what is best for us. No matter what happens going forward, we must not forget that.
Secondly, the messenger tells Daniel to “fear not.” He is told to “fear not” because his words have been heard. God is on side, not against him. The angel may appear to be quite frightening, but he is on Daniel’s side. What does that mean? Daniel’s enemies should fear, not him.
The same is true for us. If God is for us, who can be against us?
3. God hears and answers
Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
See this. Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks. During this time, it looked from man’s perspective as if nothing happened. Neither Daniel nor anyone else could see any tangible result from the prayer. But. God heard. God didn’t only hear him after three weeks. God didn’t only hear him after his prayers escalated to a certain intensity. From the first day, from the very beginning, God heard.
And that is a comfort to us. God hears. Every prayer that has been uttered so far today, God hears. And every prayer that will be made for the rest of this week, God hears. While we should be committed and sacrifice, God hearing is not dependent on our prayers being perfect. So be confident of this. When you bring your prayers to Him, He always hears.
Secondly, we see that God answered. In fact, God sent the answer right away. As soon as God heard Daniel’s prayer, He dispatched an angel to go to Daniel. Some think it was Gabriel, but he is not named here.
Isn’t that an exciting thought? God is sitting on His throne. Legions of angels are at His service. When His saints pray, He hears. And God will dispatch angels to the world to help us, fight for us. When you pray, God may say, “Gabriel, go.” [Or another angel].
How will God respond to your prayers? When you raise your voice to God, He hears. How will He answer? We don’t know exactly how, but we know that He will.
4. Satan opposes
But that is not the end of story. We just saw God heard. And answered. But the result was not seen right away. The messenger God sent runs into some trouble.
And here is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the spiritual battle raging around us. The angel who was sent as a messenger to Daniel could not come. For three weeks he was stopped. Opposed. Who would dare oppose him?
Daniel 10:13 – The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days.
Who is this? It is a powerful demon. This demon appears to be assigned by Satan to the kingdom of Persia. It is his job to influence that kingdom in favor of Satan. You see, Satan is staking his claim over this land. He wants to keep it in the dark. And so he sends his own forces to blind men, to influence kings, to shape politics, and to oppose God’s forces.
And we see many of the results of these demonic forces in the book of Daniel. Some truly terrible laws are passed. One time a law is passed that every person must worship an idol or be thrown into a fire. Another time a law is passed that all people must pray to the king only for 30 days. These are evil laws. And they have an evil origin. From this passage we can see that Satan’s forces are at work in this kingdom. And it is reasonable to conclude that laws like these were spawned from his own mind. His fingerprints are all over them.
Satan is opposing God. He opposed him then. And he does so now. He uses politics, laws, and governments to enact his policies and fight against God. And note that this demon is not a weakling.
For three weeks, he was able to successfully resist this angel and slow him from his mission.
What lesson can we learn from this?
Satan is opposed to God’s work. And he will use every means at his disposal to fight, including spiritual forces and including government, politics and laws.
We need to be aware that we have an enemy. And thus we need to know that coming to God for help is our only solution. We must depend fully on Him.
5. God’s forces win; sometimes it takes time
And now we end on a good note. Satan opposed God. Demonic forces were fighting angelic forces. And it took three weeks, but God wins. When the first angel ran into opposition, then Michael came. God’s forces win.
God has a plan for you. It might not be what you expect or hope. But He is going to win. The result will be good for His people.
We get the wonderful privilege to be part of the process. As we draw near to Him in prayer, He will draw near to us.
So let us be patient.
Let us be committed.
Let us sacrifice.
Let us humble ourselves.
And let us also hope.
Let us look forward with expectation to see what God will do on our behalf when we humble ourselves before Him. Because we know He wins.
We want to help you study the Bible, obey the Bible, and teach the Bible to others. We have therefore created a library of almost one thousand (and growing) inductive Bible studies, which are available for free. This takes a lot of time and hard work.
Help us continue to create Bible study resources by supporting Study and Obey for as little as $1.