Daniel 7 and 8 make it clear that throughout the history of the world there have been some scary rulers. They also suggest that there’s no reason to think that things will get less scary until Jesus comes back. Rulers and powers will continue to rise up and fight each other for control. The struggle for human power looks like it will go on right up until the final days of this world. No wonder Daniel is ‘worn out’ after seeing this vision and its interpretation!
But the other theme that comes out really strongly in these chapters is that God is still in control. Even when things look like they’re totally chaotic in our world, even when nations go to war with each other and kings and rulers are overthrown. Even in the midst of the hardest times in our lives, personally and nationally, we can be confident that it is Jesus us truly rules.
Look up a few news stories from the last few days that worry you or make you sad. Spend some time praying for those situations and thanking God that He is in control, even there.
The final verse of chapter 8 tells us that Daniel was ‘appalled by the vision’ that he had seen. Perhaps he was most worried about what it seemed to say about how the people of God would be treated by the rulers described in the vision. Daniel and his friends were already finding things difficult living in a foreign land under kings who didn’t worship the God of Israel and the visions he had seen didn’t show things getting any easier. In fact, they seem to show that God’s people can always expect to find things difficult until Jesus comes back. That’s certainly true for many Christians today.
Find out about life as a Christian in some other areas of the world. The Open Doors website, opendoorsuk.org or the book Operation World are a good place to start. Pray for those Christians around the world who suffer for their faith. Ask God to help them to trust Him and to know that He is in control.
The final aspect of Daniel’s vision in chapter 8 is that it shows God knows what the future will look like. We won’t always have access to visions like this and, even when we do, we won’t necessarily understand them! But we can be confident that God knows what’s coming, He knows how world events will pan out and He knows where everything is headed in the end.
Spend some time thanking God that He knows what the future holds. Ask Him to help you to trust Him.