Daniel believed God, studied the Scriptures and pleaded with God for His people and city that bears His Name. He walked with God through all the challenges when Jerusalem was besieged, and all the people of Judah were taken into captivity in Babylon. We know he remained true to his faith and did not “defile himself with the royal food and wine” when he was chosen to “serve in the king’s palace” (Dan 1:1-20 NIV). He showed himself faithful, even when facing the shattering death of being thrown into the lion’s den (6:1-21). Now, let us watch as he takes the Scriptures to God in prayer. “According to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah,” they were supposed to be delivered out of captivity at the end of seventy years (9:2). If you were Daniel, how would you approach the situation? Would we plead our case in the same fashion? If our prayers were recorded, would we find them of raw innocence and humbly asking for forgiveness and mercy? Would we be magnifying His name? Let his prayer sink deep within our hearts as we consider his words and his ways.
“In the first year of Darius…who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom…I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Dan 9:1-19 NIV). Amen. Amen. Amen. Daniel entered into the presence of God in humble adoration confessing their sins and pleading for mercy.
Gabriel shows up in the middle of his prayer and explains the “seventy years” to him! How cool is that! Wouldn’t you love for Gabriel to show up during your prayer to explain everything to you? “While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel…instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: ‘Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing…The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Dan 9:20-27 NIV). Daniel has always walked in faith, and his prayer was answered through more insight and understanding. He was considered “highly esteemed” and was blessed with this prophecy. He was blessed with wisdom from above. “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere “(Jas 3:17 NIV). Gabriel shared with him the coming of the Messiah and what will be. Praise be to God!
Let us dig into one more story that is recorded as part of Daniel’s faith journey. “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel…Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning… I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves…A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, ‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you…Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come… first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth” (Dan 9:1-10:21 NIV). Wow!! That is amazing!! Daniel had set his mind to gain understanding and humbled himself before the LORD, and the answer was on its way from the very first day. Spiritual warfare is very much real. Michael was detained for 21 days! Let us never give up!! We must hold fast to our faith, be diligent in prayer, always seek understanding, and humble ourselves before the LORD. In the end, “everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep…will awake: some to everlasting life others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Dan 12:1-3 NIV). To God be the glory!! Amen.