"I, Daniel, alone saw the vision ... the men who were with me did not see the vision" (Daniel 10:7).
Here, we have a vision that was intended for Daniel. The vision was not given to the men who were with him. While this was, for Daniel, a unique experience of divine revelation, it raises for us a more general question: Why is it that some people receive blessing from the Lord, while others miss out on the blessing?
What are we to say about those who miss out on God's blessing? They may be present when the Lord's people are gathered together for worship - but they have no real sense of the Lord's presence. The power of the Lord is at work in the lives of others, but nothing happens to them. The Word goes on one ear and out the other. Others are being transformed. They remain unchanged. Are we simply to say, "Some are blessed by the Lord. They give thanks for His blessing. Sadly others miss out on His blessing - and we can say no more about this"?
In Romans 9:13, we read these awesome words: "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Here, Paul is writing about "the purpose of God according to election." He emphasizes that salvation is "not of works but of Him who calls" (Romans 9:11).
If we are to enter into the blessing of God's salvation, we must honour the principle upon which His salvation is based - "not of works but of Him who calls."
- "Not of works" - In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul emphasizes this point: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
- "Of Him who calls" - In 1 Corinthians 1:21, Paul emphasizes that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." In Romans 10:17, he writes, "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."
When we come to hear the Word of God, we must come to God, seeking His glory. His glory is much more important than our blessing.
If we are preoccupied with getting a blessing for ourselves, we will find that His blessing is like the elusive butterfly - so close yet so far. We are so close to the blessing. It's all around us. Other people are being blessed. We may ask, "Why them? Why not me?"
There is a problem with the "Why not me?" question. It's centred on ourselves. It's asking about what I can get. It's more concerned with getting blessing for ourselves than giving glory to God.
When we gather together for worship, let's not get stuck at the self-centred level of "I hope there's a blessing there for me." Let's pray that God will lift us up to His God-centred level: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory, for the sake of thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness!" (Psalm 115:1).
Let's return to the tragic story of Esau: "Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25:34); "Afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears" (Hebrews 12;17).
The tragedy of Esau is this: everything centred around Esau - what Esau wanted. He showed his true colours when he "despised his birthright." Later on, he wanted to get the blessing for himself. He wanted to be 'one up' on his brother, Jacob. What did all this have to do with the glory of God? There were "tears" - but what was he crying about? There were "tears" - but they weren't tears of "repentance." Esau was feeling sorry for himself. Jacob had been blessed - and he hadn't.
Feeling sorry for ourselves because other people have been blessed and we haven't - This is very different from seeking the glory of God. God wants to bless us. We must never doubt that - but we must never forget this: He does not bless us because we want to get blessing for ourselves.
God looks at what's going on in our hearts. Are we filled with envy? - We see others being blessed and we become obsessed with one thing: "Why am I not being blessed as much as he is? I deserve blessing every bit as much as he does."
What does God say about this? - "not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:9); "not of works but of Him who calls" (Romans 9:11).
Let us pray that God will give us a heart which seeks its glory - and let's leave the blessing to Him. He will send His blessing to those who seek His glory: "the vision ... will surely come", "Though it tarries, wait for it" (Habakkuk 2:3).