Today’s reading: Daniel 10-12.
“Is there really spiritual warfare that I can’t see? Should I be concerned about it?”
Daniel’s visions troubled him greatly, and he prayed for understanding. God sent an angelic messenger to explain the meaning of his visions, and the angel’s words give us a glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare.
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14
Spiritual warfare responds to prayer. When Daniel saw the fearsome vision that he did not understand, he prayed and fasted for three weeks. The angel said that his words were heard and that he came in response to them.
Spiritual warfare takes time. How surprising that the actions of eternal beings work out in the framework of earthly time! The important point is that we should always be patient while God works and continue to pray.
Spiritual warfare pits God’s angels against Satan’s demons. God and Satan aren’t equals, but they both have immortal servants who are the actors in the ongoing struggle to accomplish God’s will. The battleground is earth, whose temporary master is the devil.
Spiritual warfare deals with God’s efforts to help, and Satan’s effort to hinder, God’s people. This battle isn’t about matters that don’t concern us. It deals with our own welfare and God’s kingdom. It’s vital that we stay involved in the conflict.
Daniel wasn’t the only Biblical figure to write about spiritual warfare. Here are some other pearls about this supernatural struggle.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
The focus of our struggle. Paul wanted us to open our eyes and see that the conflict is rooted in a hierarchy of spiritual powers opposed to God’s will. I can’t overcome my own lust, or another person’s mistreatment of me, without putting on my spiritual armor to win the fight.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9
The origin of the struggle. The war began in heaven when Satan rebelled against God, but the conflict has moved to earth.
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:16-17
The invisibility of the struggle. Elisha’s servant only saw the earthly forces of a human enemy, but the prophet opened his eyes and he was amazed to see God’s supernatural army standing ready to fight. We should remember that God’s invisible army stands ready, when needed, to support us.
We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. I John 5:18-19
The limitations of our struggle. God protects believers from the touch of the evil one, but the evil one holds the lost world in his power. Rather than claiming whole cities or nations for God when the Bible says they are under Satan’s power, we should be humble in our approach and carefully seek God’s will when waging war. I think we are on much stronger footing when we battle for individual souls.
To be a Christian is to be a warrior. The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battle-field. Neither must he reckon upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God. His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the panoply provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, “This warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare; this prophesies opposition.” Charles Spurgeon