- Go Your Way
Daniel chapter 12 is the conclusion of a conversation between Daniel and an angel of the Lord, probably Gabriel (Dan. 8:16, 9:20-21). Daniel had already received several predictive prophecies and visionary insights with some explanations and assurances about the future God had planned for his people. With all that he had seen and heard and read in visions and prophecies and world events, Daniel was still had questions and was curious about the future. He wrote, “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?'” (Dan 12:8)
Gabriel did not offer much additional clarity at that point, but he did assure Daniel that what he had been shown would be fulfilled according to God’s timing and purposes, and that with or without understanding of future events he himself should “Go your way, Daniel…” (Dan 12:9) and again, “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” (Dan 12:13)
The message is at once reassuring and demanding. You are to do your part, and God will take care of his part. Mind your business, God will mind the rest. There’s a great deal we simply need to trust God to take care of, while we do what we know we ought to do.
Jesus had a similar conversation with Peter on the shore of the lake in Galilee after his resurrection, when Jesus challenged Peter to figure out where his love and devotion truly lay, and told him repeatedly to tend the Lord’s sheep and lambs. Jesus also gave Peter a glimpse of future hardship that he would experience in shepherding the sheep of Jesus. Peter would at some point in the future be a prisoner and be taken by force to his death (John 21:18-19). That foretelling concluded with the simple instruction, “Follow me.” Having a bit of foresight, Peter was curious to know more, and saw John not far away. “When Peter saw John, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?'” (John 21:21)
At that point “Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'” (John 21:22 NIV)
John offered a disclaimer at that point, that Jesus was not promising John would live until Christ returned. Rather, the message to Peter, like that to Daniel, was that he had been given enough, and the Lord had everything else in hand. As Daniel needed to go his way and do what he knew how to do, so also with Peter needed to follow Jesus and care for his sheep. He could do that without knowing what lay ahead for John.
We all have some curiosity about the future, our own, our friends, our nation, and so forth. Some things we may know, many things we do not know. The Lord’s word to us is the same as that to Daniel and to Peter. Take care of your business, and let the Lord take care of his. You and I don’t need to know the future beyond trusting the Lord. We don’t need to know what the Lord will do with whom and when. Each of us needs to “go your way to the end” and follow Jesus.
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