Daniel 9 - Daniel Intercedes for His People

Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 9:1;

 

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

 

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

 

8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.

 

13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

 

16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

 

May God bless the reading of His word.

 

Let us pray.

 

Here in the beginning of chapter 9 we find Daniel back in the reign of Darius, the Median emporer.

 

Daniel tells us;

 

“I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

 

As we read this, it might be useful for us to understand the times associated with this passage in relationship to Jeremiah.

 

Remember, Jeremiah lived in the time before the siege of Jerusalem and its ultimate capture by King Nebuchadnezzar. His prophecies start in 627 BC and go to 582 BC when Jerusalem falls. Chapter 2 of Daniel takes place in 603 BC before Jerusalem has fallen, as does chapter 3 which happens in 587 BC.

 

Chapter 9 takes place in 539 BC, so the Jews have been in exile for 43 years, leaving 27 years until their return to Judea. In reading the book of Jeremiah, Daniel realizes that God has promised that the Jews would suffer 70 years.

 

Daniel is grieved by the thought that his people have so upset their God that He has turned His wrath against them so He cries out in intercession for his people.

 

If we ourselves see that nation is under the wrath of the same God, the Living God, Creator of all things, then we would be wise to look at Daniel's intercession as a model for our own humble appeals God.

 

First Daniel comes to the Lord in complete humility, literally he has donned the attire of a mourner, wearing sackcloth and ashes. He is fasting that his flesh might be under submission, as he brings his prayers and supplications to God. This is in keeping with the example of our Lord Jesus Christ as well, Who taught His disciples that the combination of prayer and fasting is a powerful one that can overcome even the vilest demons.

 

Next, Daniel approaches the throne of God acknowledging the greatness and sovereignty of God. He doesn't jump right in with both feet and start presenting His petition. Rather, he acknowledges God and His greatness and worthiness.

 

Next, he admits the failings of his people, telling God; “we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.”

 

Part of our problem today in many “right wing conservative Christian” circles is that they don't understand or acknowledge this fact. Instead of seeing our fallen state for what it is, the punishment of God, we think that we need to pray to God to keep us from the evil that has beset this country on every side when in reality this country is beset by evil on every side because we are under God's judgment, even as the Jews were.

 

One only needs to read Romans 1 to understand the signs that God is judging a people or a nation. Paul tells the Romans in 1:18-32;

 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

 

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

 

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

 

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

 

People who are misguided come to God thinking that America is being attacked and as a result we are losing our godliness, when the reality is that we lost our godliness long ago and that which we perceive as an attack is simply God's wrath.

 

If we are to truly bring prayers and supplications to our Lord for the renewal of this country, then we must do so in humility and mourning, understanding that God's wrath is being visited upon s and that we have fallen instead of coming to God with the wrong headed notion that “we don't deserve this.”

 

Like Daniel we need to confess with our mouths the unrighteousness of our people. Daniel tell God;

 

“O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.”

 

Those who truly serve God and who earnestly seek the healing of this land must be like the prophet Daniel and proclaim with him;

 

13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

 

Instead we profess bewilderment at the state of the country and instead of relying wholly upon God for our restoration we entangle ourselves in politics and speak of the need for the right political candidate to win because he or she will appoint judges, build a wall, create jobs or whatever.

 

This whole attitude reflects just how far we have come from reliance in God and our sensitivity to His sovereignty in our every affair. It is even as Daniel wrote about his people in verse 13, praying;

 

13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

 

Unlike Israel, America is not God's chosen people. We are not a race per se, but a nation of many races and like so many nations before us, the fate of the nation is not the focus of God's eternal plan. God does not deal with nations, which rise and fall, but rather with the souls that comprise that nation.

 

This does not mean that a nations fortunes are not tied directly to the people's and the nation's reverence for God.

 

In fact the opposite is true.

 

Those countries which have acknowledged God and made His law and His Gospel the center of the institutions in their country have benefited greatly from God's manifest blessing. Indeed, from Christendom, those nations which have a Christian core, the entire world has been blessed.

 

But the nations that comprise that which we refer to as Christendom have lost their moral compass.

 

They no longer recognize their success as a blessing from obedience to the Creator, but rather they think that their countries are successful because of the abilities of the men that inhabit them. Once the sun never set upon the British Empire but today that kingdom is riddled with holes, no longer the great empire that it once was. When you look at the heart of it's government, it's politics and it's people you understand why.

 

The same can be said of the United States. There are those who attribute our decline around the world to the current administration. But, if we are truthful with ourselves, our country has been on the wane for many years, as we have exalted man, destroyed the institution of the family, and allowed pharmakia to reign.

 

Of course this downfall of our country is no less a part of God's plan than the exile of the Jews for 70 years. As we have seen very clearly has we have studied the prophecies in the book of Daniel so far, the Creator God is in control of all things.

 

It is precisely as Paul writes in Romans 1. We have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”

 

What is that lie?

 

It is the lie which Eve fell for in the Garden of Eden. Satan continues to tell us that “You will not surely die.” and then goes on to tempt us, telling us; For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

But what can we do about it?

 

Well, if you confess Jesus as your Lord you can first and foremost devote yourself to holiness, the kind of holiness and fervent desire to serve God and please Him that we see in Meshach, Shadrach, Abed-Nego, and Daniel.

 

As we exhibit the same faith that these young men did, we too will be used by God to draw people to the Gospel and the Living God even as Nebuchadnezzar and Darius both were drawn to worship the God of these men because of the power God displayed in their lives as a result of their complete faith and trust in Him.

 

But we must do more.

 

No we shouldn't organize huge political rallies or rail against the various evils that have become an epidemic in this country.

 

What we should do is pray.

 

We need to intercede for the people who God puts on our hear, lifting them up to God for their salvation and spiritual growth, because God deals with individuals, not with countries.

 

The only soul that America has is the soul of it's people. Though it is a promise that is recorded from God to Moses, 2 Chronicles 7:14 shows God's hear.

He tells Moses;

 

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land

 

Pray.

 

Fast.

 

Ask God to give you a burden for those He will save.

 

Let us be on our knees, serving God, obeying Him, and trusting Him in all matters from the fate of this country, to the fate of all men who failed to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.

 

And then, most the most import piece of all, let us quit putting effort into the secular organizations of this world and start to show our allegiance to the Living God.

 

Ad if you have never confessed Jesus as Lord, I pray that God would not delay in making the truth alive to you in order that you might truly understand your spiritual condition and your need for a savior.

 

You see, the Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

The problem is, that until God awakens your soul and the Holy Spirit testifies to you of the truth of His existence and your need to be made clean, your eternal destiny is sealed.

 

You see all those who have sinned and have not had their sin paid for by Jesus, are condemned to live in eternity in that place that Jesus refers to as “the outer darkness.”

 

But the Good News, or Gospel is that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and His resurrection testifies to the worthiness of the sacrifice He made.

 

Won't you cry out to God today to give you the faith to believe?

 

Let us pray.

 

 

 

 

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