"THE BOOK OF DANIEL" Daniel's Penitential Prayer (9:1-19)
INTRODUCTION 1. As we continue our survey of the book of Daniel, we come to a remarkable chapter... a. In which we find a beautiful prayer expressed by Daniel - Dan 9: 1-19 b. In which we find an amazing revelation regarding "seventy sevens" - Dan 9:20-27 2. Without question, the latter part of the chapter is difficult... a. Edward J. Young describes it as "one of the most difficult in all the OT, and the interpretations which have been offered are almost legion." b. H. C. Leupold wrote "This is one of the grandest prophetic passages; and yet, if there was ever an exegetical crux, this is it." 3. In light of its difficulty... a. We should certainly approach this passage with humility, and not dogmatically b. We should be careful not to draw conclusions that contradict clear teachings of Scripture 4. But before we consider the actual vision of the seventy weeks, let's take the time to consider the prayer offered by Daniel... a. A beautiful example of confessing sin and seeking forgiveness b. Akin to the prayer of David in Ps 51 [A wonderful blessing we enjoy as Christians is the cleansing blood of Jesus as we confess our sins (1Jn 1:9). Daniel's prayer in this chapter provides insight into the art of confessing sin...] I. THE SETTING OF THE PRAYER A. THE DATE OF THE PRAYER... 1. In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus - Dan 9:1 a. Of the lineage of the Medes b. Made king over the Chaldeans (Babylonians) - Dan 5:31; 6: 1-28 2. The time is now about 538 B.C. B. THE REASON FOR THE PRAYER... 1. Daniel knew the prophecy of Jeremiah, regarding 70 years of Babylonian captivity - Dan 9:2; cf. Jer 25:9-12; 29:10 2. The 70 years of Jerusalem began in 606 B.C., with the captivity of Daniel and the first devastation of Jerusalem - 2Ch 36:5-7; Dan 1:1-6 -- So with this first year of the Medo-Persian empire (With Darius the Mede over Chaldea, but with Cyrus the Persian over all), the prophecy of Jeremiah was almost completed
- 2 Chr 36:21-23; Ezr 1:1-4 C. THE PREPARATION FOR THE PRAYER... 1. Daniel set his face toward the Lord God - Dan 9:3 a. To make request by prayer and supplications b. This may have included facing toward Jerusalem - cf. Dan 6: 10-11 2. With fasting, sackcloth, and ashes a. Physical preparations which illustrated his humility and contrition b. Similar to the practice of others - Neh 9:1-2; Jon 3:5-9 [With the Word of God fresh on his mind, his heart humbled by his own sins and those of his people, even his physical body humbled into submission, Daniel begins his penitential prayer...] II. THE CONTENT OF THE PRAYER A. DANIEL'S CONFESSION... 1. Addressing the Lord his God - Dan 9:4 a. As great and awesome b. Who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who: 1) Love Him 2) Keep His commandments - cf. Ps 103:17-18; Jn 14:15 2. Confessing in behalf of his people - Dan 9:5-6 a. Of sinning and committing iniquity b. Of doing wickedly and rebelling c. Of departing from His precepts and judgments d. Of failing to heed His servants the prophets, who spoke to their kings, princes, fathers, and all the people - 2 Chr 36:15-21 3. Contrasting their shame with God's righteousness - Dan 9:7-9 a. To Judah, Israel, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem belong shame of face 1) Those both near and far off in countries where God had driven them 2) To them, their kings, princes, and fathers 3) Because of their unfaithfulness against God, their sin and rebellion - Ezr 9:6-7 b. To God belongs righteousness 1) To Him belongs mercy and forgiveness 2) Even though they had rebelled against Him - Ezr 9:8-9 4. Reviewing their sin, and the fulfillment of God's warnings - Dan 9:10-14 a. The nature of their sin - cf. Neh 9:13-30 1) They have not obeyed the voice of the Lord 2) They have not walked in His laws set before by His prophets 3) They transgressed His law, and departed so as not to obey His voice 4) They had not prayed that they might turn from their iniquities and understand His truth b. The fulfillment of God's warnings - Lev 26:14-39; Deut 28:15-68 1) The curse and oath written in the Law of Moses has been poured out 2) He has confirmed His words spoken against them by bringing a great disaster upon them 3) Especially the disaster which has come upon Jerusalem 5. Summarizing their sin - Dan 9:15 a. To Him who delivered them from Egyptian bondage with a mighty hand b. They have sinned, and done wickedly! B. DANIEL'S PETITION... 1. His passionate plea for God to: a. Turn away His anger and fury - Dan 9:16 1) From His city Jerusalem, His holy mountain 2) Because of their sins and iniquities 3) For which they have become a reproach b. Hear his prayer and supplications - Dan 9:17a c. Cause His face to shine on His sanctuary, which is desolate- Dan 9:17b d. See their desolation, and the desolation of the city called by His name - Dan 9:18 e. Hear, forgive, act and not delay! - Dan 9:19 2. His passionate plea based, not because of their righteous
deeds, but upon: a. God's righteousness, and for His sake - Dan 9:16-17 b. God's great mercies, and for His city and His people called by His name - Dan 9:18-19 CONCLUSION 1. Like the penitential prayer of David in Ps 51, this prayer of Daniel is a classic example of how to confess our sins and seek God's forgiveness a. To seek forgiveness on the basis of God's lovingkindness and mercy, not one's own righteousness - cf. Ps 51:1-2 b. To acknowledge one's sins before God - cf. Ps 51:3-4 -- As we confess our sins (cf. 1Jn 1:9), remember the example of godly men like David and Daniel! 2. Daniel's noble character is seen in how he identified himself with his people in their sins... a. Even though he had been faithful to God throughout his life - Dan 6:10 b. For such reasons he was "greatly beloved" by God - Dan 9:23; 10: 11,19 May the example of Daniel's life and faith inspire us in our own walk with God, for we too have been blessed to be "greatly beloved": "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" - 1Jn 3:1a Are we trusting in the love and mercy of God for the forgiveness of sins, and not our own righteousness?