I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. Daniel 10:7-9 (NIV).
This isn’t the first time that God revealed things to one person in the presence of others but the others didn’t see it. As you’ll see from the associated verses (below), God personally interacted with Jacob, Elisha, Habakkuk; later, Peter, James, and John, and Paul. Events from Jacob wrestling with the Lord to the transfiguration of Christ are things not revealed, at the time, to everyone.
Is that so strange? After all, there are things in your life that you keep close, or don’t tell others, or don’t talk about immediately. Most people only reveal things about themselves, or their actions, or their thoughts and dreams, carefully. Social media has complicated that principle, at least for me (but I think for many, many others as well). Still, even on Fakebook, we only share what we want people to know when we want them to know it.
So it was with Daniel here (and with the other Biblical examples cited). God wanted to speak especially to – and through – Daniel, so He tailored the audience. Those who weren’t addressed became terrified, then took off. Even Daniel seemed afraid, his face turning pale and his feeling turned helpless. Think of Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration. They saw Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, glorified and alive, talking about matters far above the disciples’ pay grade. Peter’s reaction? Fear. Not really trepidation or terror, but uneasy all the same.
I won’t speak for you, but I would probably feel like Peter. And I’d feel like Daniel, if God spoke to me as He did to Daniel. Dave of many words would be speechless, unable to convey anything except fear of God. It wouldn’t matter if it was a Christophany, or one of Jesus’ angels, or something altogether different. I’d be unable to say anything or do anything except praise God. In the words of AC/DC, “you’ve been thunderstruck.”
Maybe that’s the point. Maybe God was rendering Daniel speechless so that he would simply watch and listen, then write down what he saw later. God sometimes works that way, and that isn’t a bad thing. These days, maybe we could use some more of that.
For further reading: Genesis 32:24, 2 Kings 6:17-20, Job 4:14, Habakkuk 3:16, Matthew 17:6, Acts 9:7, Daniel 10:10
Lord Jesus, You sometimes render us awestruck. When You do, inspire us to worship, watch, and listen, to simply be in Your presence.
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