Fantasies of reversal
READ Daniel 7
Rather than expecting kings and rulers to recognize God’s authority and enact God’s righteousness, these visions look forward to God’s invasion of history, when power will be taken from unbelieving rulers and God’s own kingdom established. While the vision itself (3-14) is rather generic, the interpretation and expansion of the vision (17-27) focus on the little horn, who uses his power to suppress the worship of the God of Israel and persecute those who would remain faithful to God. The vision, like those in the following chapters, seeks to empower those threatened by Antiochus IV’s persecution of Judaism by positioning a time in the near future in which God would reverse the order of things, placing “the saints, the people of the Most High” (27) at the top of the political pyramid. They are thus given encouragement to hold on just a little longer.
But can we entirely comfortable with such fantasies of reversal? The conflicts between classes and races also give rise to such hopes of reversal, when those now oppressed can exercise power to oppress their former oppressors. Would the saints follow the ways of the beasts, initiating pogroms and persecutions, or would they follow the way of God, using their position to increase love, to extend reconciliation, to strive for healing?
“Whoever can be trusted with a very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10-12). If we commit ourselves and our resources, however limited, to work for reconciliation, for the healing of relationships and for the rights of the powerless, then perhaps we will be found worthy by God to be entrusted with greater resources to use for greater good.
PRAY Lord God, may I be a true realist, who can see You working out Your purpose.