12-2 Advent Devotional

Desolate but not Hopeless

Catherine Belles

Daniel 9. 20 – 27

Psalm 80.1-3, 14-19

Daniel 9 is midway through a series of visions; ferocious battles in which the Israel is divided and the people scattered before monsters. Daniel, the righteous teacher of the Qumran community, turns to the Lord with a prayer of supplication and traditional mourning posture; fasting, sackcloth and ashes. It is a prayer of “open shame” which “…falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you.” Daniel’s prayers are heard; Gabriel brings the gift of “wisdom and understanding” to explain the vision. However, as it is in explaining a parable, explaining the vision makes it more obscure with an unnamed prince, troops, destruction of the city and sanctuary, flood and war. This is not a word of comfort and joy. Daniel mourns the struggles of Israel’s people until God’s final judgment on the “desolator”

We wait… for God…for the Word made flesh, yet, this is The King coming in judgment of those who temporarily wield power; princes and troops. Only those in covenant with God will survive. The desolator, those who destroy, will be destroyed. We are waiting, certain the day of “the decreed end” will come.


Catherine Belles, a pastor of two rural north central Iowa churches, Eden Presbyterian in Rudd and First Presbyterian in Greene, Iowa. 

©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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