Tuesday, June 27, 2017
A personal note
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase...But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
When most people think of the book of Daniel, they remember the lion's den or think of the hand writing on the wall or perhaps his prophetic visions or Nebuchadnezzar's dream, indeed, that is usually what comes to mind for me, but the above blurb from the last chapter caught my eye the other day. Daniel has just finished seeing all these odd things, some involving his own scattered and exiled nation, and he's rather curious about what it all means and how it will all turn out. But he isn't given the exciting details, save the puzzling prophetic visions he's already recorded, rather he's told how the whole grand tale ends, not the details concerning Israel's exile, moreover, it ends on a personal note, which is rather astonishing, and reassuring, coming from a book addressed to all nations, tribes, and tongues, written for all people in all times. This particular part of the grand and epic story of the universe and our reality ends on a personal note!
I was overlooked as a kid, forgotten on more than one occasion, neglected or ignored when I wasn't being criticized or publicly humiliated, thus I have a very hard time understanding that I can be loved, that I am lovable, that I have value and worth and that I matter. So when I am personally remembered, when someone does something specifically for me, it touches me deeply. And here, after all these grand visions of things yet to come, a sweeping saga touching empires and vast stretches of time, a simple man is remembered, he is asking about the future and well-being of a whole nation, but it is he himself that is remembered and reassured. He is not to know all those things pertaining specifically to his nation's fate, of which he is vastly curious, but of his own he is assured.
And that is the promise of this great book, for each and every human soul. We can have an 'allotted place at the end of days.' We can shine like the stars in their courses above! Or we can run to and fro after knowledge, vain and ever increasing (were they envisioning google with that prediction?) and go down into darkness and infamy evermore. As grand and epic as this tale is, it is also a very personal tale. That's why the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; he had friends and enemies, joy and sorrow, a name and a face. We each desire to be known and loved individually, and that is the very promise of this marvelous book, though it deals with happenings throughout all of time and history and that yet to come. I love that I can still discover little gems like this, tucked away in various places though I've read and reread it time and again. Written to all peoples, but also to me.