Hardly a day passes without hearing about conflict and war in the world. It seems never-ending. The bad thing about watching the evening news on television is that it’s, well, mostly bad news!
Of course, there was no news media back in Bible times. If there were, however, they too would have heard daily reports about war and conflict in the world.
We find such conflict illustrated in Daniel 11:2-19, a passage which documents how the southern nations were in constant conflict with the northern nations, on and on, generation after generation. (By the way, the terms northern and southern, in the context of Scripture, are always in relation to Palestine.)
During these disruptive years, the land of Israel was invaded first by one power and then by the other. Northern and southern nations were continually vying for the control of the strategically located land of Palestine, which lay in between these two military strongholds. It was not a good time for Israel. Bad news!
We need not dwell on the details regarding the ongoing conflicts recorded in this passage of Scripture. But there are three important lessons we’d all do well to remember.
1. Coveting is the real cause of war and conflict.
James 4:1-2 affirms: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
Someone wisely commented that while wars may be fought on the battlefield, they are first waged in the human heart.
2. Earthly riches can quickly be lost.
Both the northern and southern nations knew what it was like to be plundered time and time again (see Daniel 11:8). Oh, how quickly earthly wealth can vanish. Rich one day, poor the next.
In view of this reality, I believe it is wisest to focus our primary attention on building up heavenly riches. Jesus instructed: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
The apostle Paul adds: “We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Timothy 6:7). We should therefore not set our “hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God” (verse 17).
3. Human leaders come and go.
Human leaders may become great for a short time, but they all eventually pass away like all other humans. Job said that “man who is born of a woman is few of days” (Job 14:1).
The psalmist pondered before God, “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you” (Psalm 39:5).
We ought to therefore place our faith not in finite, temporal human leaders but rather in the infinite and eternal Ruler of the universe, God Himself. He will always be there.
In a capsule, then, remember these three lessons we learn from Daniel 11:2-19: (1) Don’t covet; (2) Build up riches in heaven; and (3) Trust in God alone.
See what other important truths you can learn from Daniel in 40 Days Through Daniel.