Daniel's terrifying vision of flames licking at God's chariot and throne is a warrior image for the ages, with thousands, nay, tens of thousands serving in the court of this almighty judge. Surely, this is a contender in the divine marketplace, a god who will remove all woes, who will raise our nation to ascendancy, who will give us power and wealth and worldly success! Who needs other gods? Here is the fulfillment of all of our aspirations, if only we will follow.
But as it turns out, what we get is not this warrior god. Instead, it is "one like a human being," as in fallible, frail, and, well, broken, being given glory and kingship. And it is to this broken vessel that God gives everlasting dominion.
We tend to read this passage as being about Christ. But perhaps this is an affirmation of each one of us, just as Christ himself is. An affirmation that God calls us just as we are, in all of our weakness and need, and sets us to work for the glory of the kingdom, not at some distant future date, but now, here, today.
God of this day, join us in the chaos of our daily lives. Give us strength and wisdom, and most of all, give us the certainty that our weakness will be used to your glory. Use our broken lives to usher in your reign, that all peoples, nations and languages might serve you. Amen.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 (NRSV)
9 As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.