You Are Greatly Loved
The following is taken from a teaching on October 8, 2014 at CBS and edited for this blog.
When a reference to Daniel of the Old Testament is made, we think of Daniel and his three friends - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
They are the guys you want your daughters to marry. They are the guys you want your sons to be best buddies with. If you are single, the type of guy you dream of marrying. They are the guys you wouldn’t mind your husband going golfing with.
They embody heroism.
They come from an elite pedigree and have physical and intellectual superiority that is unparalleled.
They are tactful and wise.
They elicit favor wherever they go.
We think of the collection of larger-than-life stories that make up the first half of the book. They have been a part of our bedtime storybook routine. But when was the last time we heard about Daniel confessing his sins along with the sins of his people?
In his confession, he is vulnerable – a kind of vulnerability that feels naked, like he has nothing to hide. When people try to frame him and they did, accuse him of wrong doing, they tried, he could honestly and humbly say, God is my judge. He surrenders wholeheartedly to God’s hesed, lovingkindness.
What follows is absolutely amazing!
Gabriel, the angel “swiftly” enters the stage (chapter 9 verse 20). I have no idea how long it takes for angels to travel from one place to another. I’m guessing not long. Yet there is a sense that Gabriel came as soon as he could. He was excited to share the news with him.
“O Daniel, I have now come out…. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (chapter 9 verses 22 and 23)
Before Daniel finished his prayers, before he wrapped up his fast, Gabriel shows up for a personal visit. He wants Daniel to know that he is “greatly loved ” (ESV), “highly esteemed” (NIV). This literally means, “precious things” or “precious treasure”.
It’s like a mom or a dad who would take their child's face lovingly into their hands, make eye contact and say, “I love you. You’re precious. You will always be my daughter/son.”
This was important because Daniel would pray for another 3 years or so before King Cyrus of Persia would issue a decree (539BC) allowing the exiled Israelites to return to Jerusalem. Daniel would not make the journey back to his homeland. He would spend his last days in Babylon. He would only see the fruition of God’s hesed, lovingkindness from a distance. Yet, I could only imagine how deeply the words spoken through Gabriel – well done my good and faithful servant, you are dearly loved sustained him and brought him peace.
My husband makes it a point to drop off the girls at their school. As they pull up to the drop-off area, he says to them, “I love you. Remember who you are.” And the girls respond, “Okay dad. I love you too.”
What do you hear God speaking to your heart?
 Archer, G. L., Jr. (1986). Daniel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel and the Minor Prophets (Vol. 7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.