13And I heard one of the holy ones speaking, and one of the holy ones said to his companion, “How long is the vision of the continual offering and the transgression that desolates, giving over the holy place and the host to be trampled. 14And he said to me, “After 2,300 evening and morning sacrifices have passed, then shall the sanctuary be restored.” — Daniel 8:13-14
I’m really involved with the book of Daniel right now for these devotionals. It’s not a special study I’m making for anything else, but I see some real lessons for modern living as God’s people in the world in this little book. In a previous devotional I commented that we often miss the message of Daniel because we’re so busy interpreting the symbols and figuring out the timeline. I outlined the teaching up through chapter 7:
In the first chapter we find that even though God’s people may be taken into exile in a foreign land, God is still the one who guides and blesses their lives. In the second chapter we learn that it is God who knows and controls the flow of history. The third teaches us that no matter how much effort we go to in order to avoid that lesson, God will still get in the last word. The fourth chapter tells us that God not only rules in the kingdoms of men, but he pursues those he loves implacably, even when he has to make it quite hard on them! The fifth chapter, we saw, shows God getting the last word on a king who refused to see what God was doing. In the sixth God prospers his servant who stands for him in the face of death. Here in the seventh chapter we see that no matter how many beasts Satan sends, God will have the last word.
Now we get to chapter 8, and we find that the beasts are still there, different beasts, but with similar interpretations, though in much more detail. We have seen how Daniel and the various other characters learned that God was in control of everything, and that no matter how much junk came at you, God was going to rule in the end.
But then comes the question everybody asks: How long? When are you going to intervene? It’s the same question asked by the saints under persecution in Revelation:
10And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, Holy and true Lord, do you not avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” — Revelation 6:10
It’s not just toddlers in the car on a long trip. It’s all of God’s people that get around to wondering just how long they have to wait.
So what can we learn from Daniel 8 about God’s timing?
- God is aware of our suffering and hardship. The angels are watching.
- God does have a timeâ€”limits on the time that the evil one can keep on acting against us.
- God’s time can be measured in terms of worship. The 2,300 morning and evening sacrifices represented a time of separation for God’s worshipers. The â€œcontinualâ€ sacrifice no longer continued.
- At the end, God’s purpose is restoration.
Can there be anything better than that?