“Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” — Daniel 10:12
Today’s text contains an amazing account of Daniel’s experience when he set himself to seek God, and gives insight on what transpired because he prayed. It was a dramatic and precious occasion, and what Daniel saw, heard, and felt had a great impact on him.
When we pray, God may not answer exactly the way that He did for Daniel. The fact is, over his long years of service to God, Daniel prayed often (three times a day), and we can be certain that many of those prayer meetings were not particularly eventful. Whether or not a time of prayer seems outstanding to us, it is important to note that “from the first day” Daniel’s words were heard, and our prayers are heard as well.
My own heritage includes two women who were faithful in prayer. When my great-grandmother was seeking her baptism, she consecrated everything that came to her mind, yet still did not receive that experience. In desperation, she told the Lord she would even go to China if that was what He wanted! As plainly as if He were sitting by her side, God let her know that her mission field was her family. Then He filled her with His Holy Spirit.
My great-grandmother faithfully devoted herself to this calling and prayed earnestly for her family all the days of her life. Although she never went to China, others in her family traveled to various places around the world to share the Gospel, and her prayers were with them. The results of her prayers are still evident today, a number of decades later. Many of her descendants have been and are pastors, ministers, musicians, and Sunday school teachers who are offering their talents in God’s service.
In the next generation, my grandmother was also a fervent Christian. As a young mother, she suffered much sickness, including tuberculosis and then a staph infection that ultimately took her life. Many prayers went up for her healing. Although God heard each of those prayers, He chose to answer in His own way.
My grandmother’s last days were spent in a hospital, but even in the midst of sickness and pain, she made the effort to shine the light of Jesus to those around her. Because of her testimony, three people in that hospital were saved, and many people were impacted by her Christian witness. In addition, she left behind a legacy of faith and hope to her four children and their descendants.
Whatever our situation and needs today, we can be certain that God hears our prayers “from the first day.” Whether or not He answers in the way we desire, we can trust Him and know His ways are best. Only eternity will tell all the far-reaching results of faithful prayers.
This narrative, which explains further details of God’s plan regarding the seventy weeks, took place within a short time after the previous chapter. “The first year of Darius” (Daniel 9:1) and “the third year of Cyrus” (Daniel 10:1) were within the same time frame.1 Some have suggested that Daniel’s sense of deep mourning may have been prompted by a specific event, such as the letter written by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel (Ezra 4), who accused the Jews to the king. That the “time appointed was long” in verse 1 indicates not only a passage of time, but implies great conflict and considerable difficulty for God’s people.
Daniel’s location at the time of this vision was near the Tigris (Hiddekel) river, where verses 5-9 detail his introductory encounter with “a certain man.” This man had a distinct and unusual appearance, but he was not an apparition or a figment of Daniel’s imagination; he was real and Daniel understood the words he spoke. Since Daniel’s companions fled, he was the only one who heard what was said.
Beginning at verse 10, the man prepared Daniel to hear his message from God. Verse 12 makes it clear that he was sent immediately in response to Daniel’s prayer. However, the answer was hindered by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” a supernatural force under the authority of Satan. In contrast, “Michael, one of the chief princes,” was an angelic being. He is mentioned again in verse 21 as “Michael your prince” and also in chapter 12, verse 1, as “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” These descriptions indicated that one of his special responsibilities is the welfare of the Jewish people. Verse 14 disclosed that there was further revelation to follow concerning the last days.
The information in verse 20 revealed that the reign of the Persian Empire was not yet over, but when it was complete, a Grecian Empire would follow. This was fulfilled when Alexander the Great conquered the Persians in 330 B.C.
III. The prophetic history of the Jews
C. The vision of Israel’s future (the history of Israel in the 70 weeks, cf. 10:14)
1. The preparation of the prophet (10:1 — 11:1)
a. The situation (10:1-4)
b. The vision of the heavenly messenger (10:5-9)
c. The explanation of the heavenly messenger (10:10-14)
d. The enablement of Daniel (10:15-19)
e. The conflict of the heavenly messenger (10:20 — 11:1)
Are you bringing a petition before God? Be assured that your prayers are heard and noted. In His own time and way, God will answer.
1. Jerome Peat, “Cyrus ‘King of Lands,’ Cambyses ‘King of Babylon’: The Disputed Co-Regency,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 41, no. 2 (Autumn 1989):199, https://doi.org/10.2307/1359915.