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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, December 03, 2010

Gleanings from Daniel [17]

Daniel Prays for Israel [9:1-19]

We come to an important chapter in Daniel. Chapter 9 entails some pivotal, and controversial revelation regarding the coming of Jesus Christ - The Son of Man in Daniel 7.

It is controversial in that the interpretation of the subject matter revealed later in vs. 24 and following defines how one sees the unfolding of eschatological events in the end-times.

But, before dealing with those eschatological events, Daniel presents for us an unique prayer. It is one of the longest prayers in the Bible and the prayer is spoken on behalf of the people of Israel. In fact, the covenant name of God, YHWH, appears in this chapter seven times, not being found anywhere else in Daniel's book.

I. The Occasion of the Prayer 9:1-2

The setting of this chapter is the first year of Darius the Mede - 538 B.C. This is following the fall of Babylon and 12 year after the previous vision in chapter 8. This is the same Darius we saw in chapter 6, "Darius," I believe, being another name for Cyrus. Daniel reminds us of God's sovereignty - Daius was made king.

It was during the first year Daniel came to understand an important truth: He understood the exile was nearing an end.

He was reading the prophet Jeremiah [note by the way how he calls the prophet's book, scripture] specifically Jeremiah 25:11-12 which reads,

11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years. 12 Then it will come to pass, when 70 years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the LORD; and I will make it a perpetual desolation.

The prophecy had reached a fulfillment. It had been 70 years Israel served Bablyon, and the Babylonian empire had just been taken over by the Medes and the Persians. This captivity for the Jews started in 605 B.C. when the first captives went to Babylon and continued to 538 B.C. Daniel is in the 68th/69th year of this exile. The next couple of years will see Israel returning to Israel.

II. The Awakening to Pray (9:3-15)

The realization of Jeremiah's prophecy stirred up Daniel to go before God in prayer. Not just a quick prayer to God, but he was stirred to fervent prayer, "I set my face." His motivation was to go to God until God answered. He prays to the LORD God, the sovereign Lord, owner, ruler of all the human kingdoms. He expressed his humility and dependence upon God with sack cloth and ashes.

From this prayer, I believe we can learn from Daniel so as to strengthen our own prayer life. It is a model for us to consider.

1) Saturated with Scripture.

Note how Daniel was stirred to pray by being in God's Word. Throughout his prayer, Daniel specifically references the OT passages dealing with God's covenant relationship with Israel. For example, Leviticus 26:31-35, Daniel mentions the curses brought upon Israel and the land. Our prayers should be filled with scripture, which implies we are reading it regularly.

2) Filled with adoration to God.

Daniel's prayer being soaked in Scripture set his mind to be thinking rightly upon God. This fills his heart with adoration. Daniel reflects upon how God is,

- awesome (4)

- Covenant keeping (4) which implies God keeps the good blessing along with the bad cursing. In other words, God would not be faithfully keeping the covenant with Israel if He did not bring the curses they deserved for their disobedience.

- Merciful (4)

In the same manner as Daniel, our understanding of who God is should elevate our thinking to adore the God of Heaven when we pray.

3) Confessing of Sin.

Daniel's heart is quickly turned to the importance of confession. There was a reason Israel was in bondage: They had sinned against God. "Commited iniquity," "done wickedly," "rebelled," "rejected the prophets," "departed from precepts." Further, they are said to be shameful, they experienced "shame of face" because they were disgraced by the bondage. However, unlike Israel, God has been faithful. He does not lie. He is been faithful to punish Israel who are deserving of punishment (14).

III. Petition and Supplication

Only after sin is confessed can supplication be made. That is what Daniel does. Daniel makes a prayer of restoration. Note verse 18. Not because of what we do, but because of God. Daniel knew God would keep His promises to His people and calls upon God to forgive them, to hear his prayer, and to move to answer.

Daniel's prayer is answered, and the remainder of chapter 9 details the answer God provides.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Darrin said...

Fred-

Josephus lists Darius and Cyrus as coregents in some way. What are your thoughts on that?

Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

4:54 PM, December 03, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

That is the position of John Whitcomb. He has even written a book on the very subject.

I thought Stephen Miller's argument for Darius and Cyrus being one and the same was compelling, so that is where I landed. I deal with it a little bit under this posting

5:08 PM, December 03, 2010  

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