“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Daniel 8:26-27 (NIV).
At the end of the chapter, we find Gabriel and Daniel. Gabriel tells Daniel to put the vision on ice, to not talk about it for awhile because the time to do so hadn’t arrived. That’s what Daniel does. Even though Jesus Himself had appeared, and even though Jesus’ holy messenger angel had explained what Daniel had asked to understand, Daniel, a wise old man in a foreign land, still felt vexed. Remember “Happy Days?” The 1970s TV show? “Sit on it:” that was one of the show’s catchphrases. Gabriel tells Daniel to sit on it with the vision God had given to him.
If you go back to Isaiah, you find that isn’t unusual. God told His prophets several different times to seal up His words until other times. Later, Jesus Himself told several people He healed to not talk about it (naturally, they were overwhelmed and sang like songbirds). Even later, in Revelation, God told John the same thing, only to reverse His command later on.
Hint: it isn’t for God, or even because God isn’t ready to have it happen yet. God Almighty lives outside of our time; time is only another tool for Him to use. But we don’t. And, in His wisdom, God sometimes sees how the time isn’t yet right for a people to grasp certain truths. Like a revelatory set of visions on Patmos. Like being healed unexpectedly. Like a prophecy given in Babylon.
The people of Daniel’s day were shell-shocked. Their homes had been destroyed; they had been enslaved in a foreign land of enemies; their way of life was gone. They felt abandoned by God. Perhaps God saw that they couldn’t handle what He was saying; perhaps there was another reason altogether that only the Lord knew. No matter the reason, Gabriel tells Daniel of God’s command to sit on the vision and not say anything about it just yet.
So Daniel obeyed.
So should we. When our words are too much for others to bear; when our words and deeds come across as selfishness instead of love; when anything we say or do runs contrary to what God tells us through His word, perhaps the best thing we can do is listen to the Fonz and sit on it until a more appropriate day arrives.
For further reading: Isaiah 8:16, Isaiah 21:3, Revelation 10:4, Revelation 22:10, Daniel 9:1
Lord, You know the times of our lives. All praise to You for this, and for revealing things to us as we need to know them.
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