Food For Thought… or NOT!

Daniel 6: daniel praying(Daniel 10:1-3) In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeksI ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Over the past month I have been reading from the Prophecy of Daniel. While watching a YouTube video concerning Daniel 10 (the chapter I just read), an interesting question was asked by the presenter; a question which is the basis of this article. Before we get to the question, a little background is in order, concerning this passage.

The message Daniel is declaring that which he received from the Lord in Daniel 9, concerning Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 weeks (Jeremiah 25). With great detail, God revealed many terrible things to befall His people after they would return to their nation and capitol city. This prophecy is super relevant to our own understanding of the time before and up to Christ’s return.

After being given great understanding in this matter, we find Daniel very distraught. In fact, he was in mourning for three weeks, signified by him not eating his normal diet (this partial fast is the basis for the modern “Daniel fast”). One radical characteristic of his mourning, which indicated it’s serious nature, was he did not anoint himself either. This means, as the most important counselor of the king, Daniel did not present himself for work, but mourned in isolation.

As a result, this powerful man of faith, receives a visit from the Son of Man, in His pre-incarnate glory (The Holy Anointed Messiah). When you get an opportunity, compare Daniel’s experience (Daniel 10:4-17)  with that of John the Revelator in Revelation 1:5-17; you’ll find it a remarkable testimony of Christ’s ministry to faithful servant’s who live in absolute surrender to Him.

At a certain point in this encounter with of the Son of man, Daniel is told something, concerning the moment his mourning led him to shut out everything in the world, to seek the LORD.

Daniel 10:11-14 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.  Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

Daniel was seeking the LORD, because although he had prosperity, wealth, favor and position, to him they were only platforms to glorify God. Whether he was famous and powerful meant nothing, because his people were in captivity for their sins. He knew they would go back to Israel, but he knew their national joy would once again turn to pain, at the times of the end (read Daniel 7-9 for further understanding). In verses 11-14 he is told, he will receive more revelation, but something else of interest to us now.

Daniel is told that from the first day he set his heart to understand, which would have been in chapter 9, the Divine messenger was sent to give him additional information, but right when he began to fast, there was a spiritual battle, coinciding with his intercession and fasting. Daniel, like Job, was part of a high stakes warfare, without knowing it. Can we be also and be equally ignorant of what is taking place?

This is where the question (from the YouTube video) comes to bear upon our discussion. The presenter asked… “I know it is impossible to thwart the will of God, but had Daniel quit on day 18, being tired and worn from seeking, what would have happened, or not happened?”

This question led me to think of possible outcomes: Could Daniel have missed this glorious vision and the revelation, The Lord having to wait until Daniel picked up seeking the Lord again? Would the Lord have needed to find someone else?

The point is we don’t know, because unlike Christians in modern America (most Christian’s in America), we give up or never begin to completely shut the world out and seek the Lord without interruption or intrusion for very long; if ever.

Daniel’s fast was not skin and bones starving, but it took discipline, and that can be a real problem for followers of Jesus in the land of the free. The desires of God’s heart, which are to be our own and in some cases, He makes our partnership necessary to their fulfillment. This is especially true when it relates to area’s we are to minister , for His will and glory.

Though this post is not primarily about fasting (its about the discipline and endurance  necessary live for God’s will in Christ), a lack of discipline in food often times impedes our dependence on God. A lack of self-control in this area can also hinder our relationship to God; as can a lack of obedience in being tethered to the electronic media of our lives (T.V., computer, wireless phone).

The presenter reminded me that the first break in relational harmony with God, came over temptation from food, in the Garden of Eden. Yet there are other examples where self-control, concerning food, produced good or bad results.

What of the rebellion, only a few days after Israel’s exodus from Egypt? In Exodus 17, Israel provoked God in rebellion, concerning their lack of food. What of Daniel and his three compatriots in Daniel 1, where they ate a diet according to the law, rather than the delicacies of Babylon (this was to their benefit). Take a look at some troubling passages concerning a lack of discipline in eating.

Philippians 3:18-20 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shamewho set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

Titus 1:10-12 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.

The point here is not to bring shame upon folks who are overweight (most Americans are clinically speaking) or celebrate “in shape” narcissists because of their healthy bodies. What we need to understand is that the discipline it takes to seek the Lord, in order to be continuously filled with His Spirit and walk in bold faith (moving in the power of the Holy Spirit)–we must have the discipline and endurance of Daniel, which arose from a heart that would go to any length for the purpose of Gd’s will.

Look to Daniel again, who even put his responsibility to the king he served aside, to seek and serve the King of Heaven. Remember, it was this discipline which led him to pray when it was illegal; the penalty of which was being fed to lions. Yet Daniel, endured this and continued to seek the Lord. He was blessed with intimacy and revelation, which we still study today.

Friends, consider our times and understand, the world as we knew it is over. There will be more lock downs and law changes. (Check out Daniel 7:25 to understand the times we live in). Will we seek Him with disciplined perseverance, or give in to what is easier, more convenient, and less risky. We must be careful of obeying man, when they are blatantly in opposition to God’s call and commands.

We have just come through a season, where the church was tempted to disobey God’s clear commands, because of  spurious information growing more spurious by the day. Where will we be next year, like Daniel seeking the Lord in spiritual warfare and intercession, or hiding and seeking not to rock the boat. Consider Jesus’ illustration and outcome.

Luke 18:1-8 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Today God is calling His men and women to cease attempting cultural change, prepare for His return and with callous knees seek Him for power to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ–He is calling us to seek Him for the power to endure the times, troubles and persecution has come upon the body of Christ world-wide–doing this with prayer and fasting, as we learn to truly surrender all to Him.

May I ask, when Jesus comes for us, will He find faith in you? Will He find faith in me? will He find faith in us? We can answer yes, but only if we will persevere in prayer and enduring in faith, seeking His way forward through trouble of our times.

About Michael J Erdel

Mike is a pastor with The Assembly of God Fellowship. He is the lead pastor at Encounter Church in Fostoria Ohio. His desire is to encourage the Church of Jesus Christ, and declare God's hope through His Son Jesus, to a world which is long on excuses and short on hope. Mike has experienced the truth that when we kneel before Christ, surrendering to Him as Savior and LORD, being led and empowered by His Spirit. To Jesus Christ be all glory and honor.
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