We Can't Back Down
At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. — Daniel 11:29-31
So this section is about the third campaign of man in the prophecy of Daniel 8, dubbed the "little horn." Today we know this man was Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, who repeatedly made these military campaigns south to Egypt. But each time as he headed home, he returned through the land of Israel and wreaked devastation on the people of God. The situation we read about here was far worse than Daniel's experience, even in Babylon, because Antiochus IV was a wicked man.
But let's restate what this man does because I think it is essential to see how he conquers God's people. First, he aligns himself with weak followers of God. The text calls these people "those who forsake the holy covenant." Second, he removes their place of worship. In other words, no more church gatherings. Third, he removes their rights to practice their religion legally, so no more circumcision, reading of scripture, sacrifices, or religious celebrations. Fourth, they set up a replacement God, in this case, Zeus, in the temple and perform unholy sacrifices. Fifth, he rewards those who fall in line. You know, sometimes prophecies like this, and history itself, remind us how easily we can lose our footing as believers in the present times.
So now the question you must ask is how do we respond? The text tells us how the faithful responded in verses 32-33. Here's the text again:
He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. — Daniel 11:32-33
Here's what we are called to do. Four things:
- Stand firm.
- Take action.
- Read scripture.
- Suffer well.
So what are you going to do to do your part today?
ASK THIS: Which do you need to focus on today? Stand firm. Take action. Read scripture. Suffer well.
DO THIS: Do one of the four and do your part.
PRAY THIS: God, may I never be numbered with the weak. Help me to do all four today.
PLAY THIS: I Won't Back Down.
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