Daniel 10-12 - When Things Aren't Going As Planned

Steve Viars June 12, 1999 Daniel 10:

- Do you ever have times where things just aren’t going as planned?
1) Maybe you got married several years ago, and you had these ideas of casual strolls on summer evenings.....
- or romantic dinners several nights a week....
- or the picture perfect house with lawns and gardens that are perpetually trimmed and neat.....
- but its not going as planned......
- your spouse doesn’t seem interested.....
- the friendship isn’t there....
- or the dream is dying.....

2) Maybe things aren’t going as planned at work.....
- you thought this would be a place where you could really make a difference....
- they said there was room fro advancement.....they said you would start at this level, but then after six months, this would happen and that would happen.....
- they said, they said, they said......but none of it is happening....
- worse yet, when you started you had high hopes of having an effective testimony....
- of perhaps being able to tell others about Jesus Christ....
- about having a genuine ministry there.....
- but things just aren’t going as planned.....
- they haven’t kept their promises....
- you haven’t been the testimony you’d envisioned.....
- the whole situation looks like a dead end....

3) Maybe its the spiritual condition of people close to you....
- the plan was that all your children would grow up loving Jesus Christ....
- the plan was for them to have children and raise them that way as well....
- then everyone would come home on holidays and dad would cut the holiday bird and each family member would talk of their love for God and their desire to serve him.
- and it would be such a pleasant time as everyone loved one another and got along so well because they each loved the Lord.

- but that’s not the way its turned out.....
- the kids are apathetic about the things of God.....
- they’re not following the things they were taught...
- they squabbling with one another....
- family times resemble battles more than....family times.

4) Maybe its a medical condition....
- the plan was to get the kids through school....
- or the plan was, to make it to retirement....
- or the plan was, to travel together.....
- then there’s that pain....or that ache.....
- and you get it checked out....and the news isn’t good.
- what ever happened to the plan?
5) It could be something as simple as going on vacation....
- the plan was to have a great time....
- the plan was to have pleasant weather....
- the plan was for the car to function properly....
- the plan was for everyone to communicate together and get along....
- but somewhere on the side of the highway, when the van won’t run, and your spouse is reminding you that the oil light has been on for a month, and the kids are arguing, and you’ll get out and check under the hood as soon as the hail storm stops....
- somewhere on that highway, the vacation dream has died.

- Can you think of any examples where things just haven’t gone as you’d planned?
- most of us can?
- what should you do when that happens?

- this morning, we’re going to look at a passage of Scripture where that’s exactly what happens...
- and God responds in a way that teaches three very steps to take when things aren’t going as planned.
- with that in mind, can I ask you to turn to Daniel chapter 10.

- for those who are new, we have been studying the book of Daniel, verse by verse, and chapter by chapter, since January....and we’re now coming down to the end of our study.
- I know its hard to come into the middle of a series, so let me offer the briefest of overviews.....[which the folks who have been with us longer know by heart by now]
- Daniel was a Jewish teenager who was deported to Babylon by King Nebuchanezzar.
- the book is all about how he and some of his friends were able to maintain their faithfulness for God even though they were in a situation where there was great pressure to compromise their convictions and beliefs.
- the first six chapters were an exciting historical description of Daniel’s life.....
- the last six chapters are primarily prophetic......
- this man clearly had a lifestyle that could be trusted.....
- now we’re learning what God revealed to him about the future which is also worthy of our trust......

- I mentioned that we’re coming down to the end of our study....let me give you the specific game plan.
- believe it or not, we are actually going to examine chapters 10-12 this morning.
- its not because we’re rushing, because we’re not.....but we’re doing this because chapters 10-12 function as a unit, and they need to be studied that way.
- then tonight, in our evening service, we’re going to attempt something unusual, but something I hope is a help to many.
- we’re going to call it....”Putting Daniel in His Place”
- a number of folks have said to me during this series that you’ve felt like your Bible was a jigsaw puzzle box, and it has a lot of nice pieces that you look at, examine, and are helped by.....
- but you wish you had a better idea of how it all fit together.....

- and some have said that the fact that Daniel spans such a significant period of time, both in the past and the future, that the puzzle is coming together better.
- our pastoral staff got together, and worked on a presentation that is literally a one session overview of the entire Bible, and the entire course of human history.....
- we’ve divided all of this into 12 key categories...and we would like to present those categories as a way to organize the Word of God.....
- we’ll have a number of charts that should help from a visual perspective.....
- the secretaries have helped us put a large handout together that should be helpful not just now but in the days ahead as you study the Bible....

- the bottom line is, it assumes nothing....so even for a person who’s opening the Bible for the first time----we hope this will be helpful.....
- it would be very appropriate to call a friend or neighbor or co-worker to come along with you....
- our goal is to teach the Word of God here in such a way that when you pick up the Bible, you don't view it as an intimidating book that is beyond your ability to comprehend, but instead you view it for what it really is.....a sufficient and understandable guide for the issues of daily living.

- so that’s today....then next week we’ll take a week off from Daniel to focus on some ideas especially related to Father’s Day, and then Lord willing, we’ll conclude our series on June 27th with a wrap up message called, “Daniel, Jesus, and You”.

- now we’re in Daniel chapter 10, and after we read the first 3 verses of the chapter, it should make sense why we began the introduction with this idea of “what to do when things aren’t working out as planned.”

- READ Daniel 10:1-3

- this chapter takes place two years later than chapter nine.....so we’re talking now about 536 BC
- by this time, Babylon has fallen, and Cyrus and Medo-Persia are now the dominant power, exactly like the Word of God prophesied.
- now long after Cyrus comes on the scene, he signs a decree which allows the Israelites who have been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years to return to their homeland.
- you can read about this in the first two chapters on the book of Ezra.

- well, the question before the house is, then what’s Daniel’s problem?
- why would he be in mourning for a three week period?
- why would he be refusing any tasty foods, why would he not be applying the normal ointments to his skin that people in that part of the world used?
- why would he be acting as if there was need for a funeral?
- and the answer is.....because things aren’t going as planned.
- when you read the accounts in Ezra, you find that three bad things are happening.....
1) Not many Israelites wanted to return to Jerusalem.....
- the total numbered about 50,000, which was not very many.....
- many of these people would have been born in Babylon and the thought of rebuilding the Temple and the city of Jerusalem was that appealing....
2) Those who had returned weren’t working very hard.....
- so even after two years, they barely had the footings poured for the new temple....
3) They were already facing some opposition from people who didn’t want the city rebuilt.
- Daniel chapters 10-12 make a whole lot more sense when understood in light of its historical context.
- now, the question before the house is.....I wonder how God is going to respond to Daniel’s prayer?
- in chapter 9, Daniel prayed, and before the prayer was over, God had dispatched his angel Gabriel to give the famous “70 weeks prophecy”.....and Gabriel told Daniel that he was highly esteemed by God which is why God immediately sent him to tell Daniel about the future.
- well, here’s he’s been going for three weeks....no Gabriel, no message, no nothing.

- what’s about to unfold is incredible.....God responded in a very unexpected fashion.....and in so doing, gives us these three steps to take when things aren’t going as planned.
- let’s look at verses 4-14 for the first one.

- READ Daniel 10:4-14.

- now, the first principle from these verses is.....


I. Gain Understanding for the Reasons for the Struggle.


- these verses sound so unreal to us, which is why we desperately need to study them....
- God is giving Daniel and us a peek into the spirit world that explains one of the reasons things don’t always go the way we would have planned.

- we don’t know for sure who this person was.....some think it is Gabriel again.....some think it is an unnamed angel.....many believe it was a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.....I don't personally hold that view and the text doesn’t say.
- what it does say is that God sent this messenger to communicate to Daniel about the future, and that this messenger was detained for 21 days by demonic forces that were specifically assigned to the nation of Persia....and it required intervention by the Archangel Michael before this messenger could be freed to deliver his message.

- now you might say, PV, do you really believe that that actually happened?
- of course, I believe it happened exactly the way God’s Word said it did.

- the real question is, why did God allow it to happen, and why did He allow His servant Daniel to learn about it?
- the answer to that, in a nutshell is, to help Daniel get an understanding of why the rebuilding of Jerusalem wasn’t going as well as he had hoped, and to respond accordingly.

- now, its probably real important at this point to talk about the ditches we have to avoid on this topic.....because if you’re new, you might be wondering....what kind of cult have I walked into here?
- on the one hand, we’re going to avoid the ditch that suggests we ought to give over large amounts of times to focus on Satan, and demonic forces, and we ought to try to discern in different situations whether Satan is involved or not, and how he’s involved....
- we ought to have power encounters, and seances, etc.
- label that the “demons are everything” ditch.

- however, is there a ditch on the other side?
- yes, and God wanted to be sure that Daniel stayed out of it.
- label that, the “demons are nothing ditch”.
- this extreme would be characterized by a lack of caution.....as if there really wasn’t a spiritual battle going on.....
- or extreme frustration, wondering why right doesn’t triumph over wrong right now.
- and why things don't work out the way it seems like they should right now.

- the heavenly Father is essentially pulling back the curtain for both Daniel and us and helping us to understand the significance of the spiritual struggle that rages in this world.
- there’s a parallel event to this that is instructive as well.
- its in 2 Kings chapter 6 --- we won’t take time to read the verses but its a great story where the prophet Elisha and his servant are in a city called Dothan.
- the Syrian army is warring against Israel and they surround the city of Dothan at night.
- they’re there because Elisha keeps telling the Israelites what the Syrian armies are doing because he’s a prophet.....
- well, the king of Syria is fed up with this so he tells his armies to go get Elisha.
- so the army surrounds Dothan at night, and Elisha’s servant wakes up and sees all these Syrian soldiers and he’s ready to have a fit.
- so Elisha says, what’s the problem, we have more soldiers than they do.
- and the servant says.....how do you figure that?

- do you remember how Elisha prayed?
- he said, Lord please open this young man’s eyes....so he can see things the way they really are.
- here’s what II Kings 6:17 says - And the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

- the point is --- there’s a lot more happening in our lives than what meets the naked eye.
- that’s why the apostle Paul said in the great passage in Ephesians 6:10-13 - Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

- now, a great question to ask at this point would be.....well, PV, what am I supposed to do with this information?
- how did God expect this to affect Daniel, and how does He want it to affect me?
- well, he certainly doesn’t want you to be looking around, wondering if there’s a demon under your couch.....He certainly isn’t advocating some sort of power encounter, or magic incantation.

- but God does want you to be in a position where.....on the one hand, you’re not surprised when bad things happen to good people.....
- and on the other hand, you are walking cautiously in this world, realizing that there truly is a spiritual battle going on, that could negatively impact you and every member of your family.
- see, many people who call themselves Christians act as if all there is to life is what we can see, and feel, and taste, and touch.
- they are very unsupernatural in the way they approach daily living.....

- so they turn on their Television, or computer without even the slightest thought that there is a spiritual battle going on.
- or they pick up a magazine or a book with little or no concern for whether the contents will please God and strengthen them spiritually.
- they make decisions and build relationships with hardly a thought that those steps could lead them away from Christ.

- and the question I would need to ask you this morning is......was there evidence in your life this week that you are walking cautiously in this world because you realize the immensity of the spiritual struggle we face?

- now you might say, well, PV, if God is God, why does He allow this to go on?
- the answer is --- to fulfill His plan.
- God created Satan as an angel in heaven, but gave him the freedom to submit or rebel, and Satan rebelled.
- He created angels and they were given the same opportunity...and the Bible tells us that 1/3 chose to follow Satan.
- human beings were given a will, the ability to make choices......
- to do otherwise would have been to make human beings as robots....what glory would that bring to God....if people loved God and submitted to them because they had no hope.

- what brings glory to God is to allow evil in the world, to allow human beings to be born in trespasses and sins....and then to send Jesus Christ to die for those sins....and then make the free gift of salvation available to human beings.....and then ultimately taking a group of redeemed people and giving them the instruction and the strength to stand up against the schemes of the devil.

- if you consciously chose to resist temptation this week, you glorified God.
- if you have occasions where you resisted the devil, and he had to flee from you, just like the Scripture promises....you honored God.
- we ought not to be surprised when things don't go as planned....but we ought to understand the reason why and respond accordingly.....in a way that honors our Lord and Savior.

- now, in the next series of verses, we have one of the most detailed prophecies in all of Scripture.
- This angel gives Daniel an incredibly detailed explanation of what is going to happen in the next several hundred years of world history.
- of course Alexander the Great is in here.....
- there’s explanation of one king will do, and how the next king will respond.....
- there’s information about how one king will marry this person in order to form a military alliance.
- if you read through chapter 11, you find murder, intrigue....it reads like a novel.

- the beauty of it is, historians have carefully gone through this text....and matched the details with what takes place between 550 BC and 150 BC.
- We’re not going to go through it point by point, but let me just say to you, this is where a study Bible really can be useful.
- a new one that has come out recently is called the MacArthur study Bible----I am using it and finding it to be very profitable.
- in case you’d like to see what one is like, our secretaries copied the six pages from Daniel 10-12 from my study Bible-----to show what the notes are like, to detail how each detail of the prophecy corresponds to history that actually took place later.
- if you’d like a copy, either because you want to see how it all matches up....or just because you want to see how a study Bible works.....feel free to see the folks at the tape table in the gym.
- they also have the whole study Bible back there if you want to take a look.

- now, not surprisingly, at the end of chapter 11, the messenger launches forward to end times and speaks about the Anti-Christ....just like we’ve seen in several places already in this book.

- Now the big question is --- but why would God do this?.....why is this material in the book?
- the answer gives us our second key step......


II. Remember that God has a Definite Plan for You.


- one of the reasons I didn’t want to try to hit every detail is because its possible to miss the forest for the trees.
- the overall point that is being made loud and clear to Daniel is.....God has a definite plan in this situation, and God has a definite plan for you.

- so instead of Daniel fretting and worrying and getting upset because the rebuilding plan isn’t on schedule.....God wants him to simply focus on being a faithful man himself.
- see, maybe its God’s plan to let Jerusalem sit idle for a number of years to come....and to glorify Himself with the life of an elderly man who is going to remain faithful to his dying breath even though the younger people are living unfaithfully.

- see, in so many of these situations where things aren’t working out the way we’d planned....wise is the person who learns to say.....
- just because it isn’t turning out the way I planned doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan....
- therefore I’m going to find out what God desires of me, and how God wants to use me....and I’ll leave the rest up to Him.

- see, think about those situations we mentioned in the beginning.
1) For the person who got married hoping for eternal marital bliss.....maybe God has allowed the marriage not to go as well to give you an opportunity to choose to please the Lord day after day even though its hard.
2) Or when that job is not going as planned --- maybe God’s plan is for that job to be difficult for many years to come, but for you to be used as a shining example of how a Christian works even when he’s being treated unfairly.
3) Or when you planned to enjoy those retirement years with perfect health and a big motor home....maybe God’s plan is for you to magnify Him through a difficult illness.....
- maybe its God’s plan for you, or for your dear one to come to heaven.

- God wanted Daniel to see the incredibly detailed plan He had for the next several hundred years of human history so that he would be convinced that there was a plan....and the One doing the planning is really wise, and really good.

- its like the passage we saw last week from Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD,  plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
- now, the book ends with some great encouragement.
- remember we said chapter 11 ends with Daniel learning some more about the Anti-Christ during the 7 year tribulation.....
- Read Daniel chapter 12.

- the principle here is:


III. Be Encouraged that Future Blessing Awaits those who Live for Him.


- in a nutshell, chapter 12 is telling us that at the mid-point of the tribulation, when the Anti-Christ breaks his peace pact with Israel.....the judgment that will poured out by both God and Satan will be immense.
- The nations that have persecuted Israel over the years will be severely judged, and that portion of Israel that still refuses to trust Christ will be judged.
- but the beauty is that even in the midst of that terrible time, many will come to Christ, from every tribe of God’s chosen nation.....
- the book of Revelation tells us that many will be martyred for their faith...but like verse 1 said, their names are now found in the book of life.
- there will also be many who will testify for Christ during the tribulation.....like the two witnesses and the 144,000, which we also learn about in the book of Revelation.
- they are the ones who are spoken of in verse 3 as being like shining stars who ministered God’s word to others even though there was a heavy price to pay.

- Daniel was instructed to write all of this down, which is why we have the book in our possession.....but verse 4 gives the curious detail that during the tribulation, people will be scurrying around trying to figure out what is happening....and the book of Daniel will be one very popular book.

- Daniel still has questions, and its interesting how the book ends.....go your way, Daniel....
- you’ve already learned that the greatest part of the judgment will take place in the 2nd half of the tribulation......the 42 months, 1260 days, 3 1/2 years, time, times, and half a time.

- if you must know, verse 11 tells him that the time will be extended by 30 more days, and ultimately according to verse 12, an additional 45 days......so that the appropriate judgments can take place prior to the beginning of Jesus Christ’s rule and reign on the earth.

- but since Daniel’s question all along had been....what will happen to my people?
- the answer is------many of them will trust in Jesus Christ.
- they’re not going to change, Daniel, until the Messiah comes.

- yes, there will be some brief victories.....
- Nehemiah is going to lead some people back to finish up the wall, and many of them will be faithful people......

- but when the fullness of time comes, God will send Messiah the Prince, the Stone cut without hands......
- and even in the tribulation period.....some will repent and place their faith in Christ
- and some will risk their lives to proclaim the good news of Jesus.....
- and while many will die for their faith and their ministry.....
- God will not forget them - Daniel 12:2 - And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

- and friend, for every person here, who has things happening in your life that are different than you’d planned...or let’s face it....the way you’d wanted.....
- if you’re choosing anyway, to please God when its hard.....
- to love God when its hard....
- to obey God when its hard....
- to trust God when its hard.....

- Be encouraged that future blessing awaits those who live for Him.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video