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Daniel's Prayer for Deliverance (Daniel 9:1-19)

The time of this chapter in Daniel's life was after the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persians.  Daniel had been in captivity in Babylon for about sixty nine years and he knew from the writings of Jeremiah that the time for the end of their captivity was near.  Daniel was an aged man at this time, probably in his eighties or close to it.  He had lived all of his adult life in Babylon in service to various kings and had seen many of them come and go. 

Hoping in his heart of hearts for the release of his countrymen and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, Daniel went to God in fervent prayer on behalf of his people in confession and a petition to God for mercy, forgiveness and deliverance.   Daniel's prayer is a model for people throughout the centuries to learn from and emulate.  Daniel's prayer was answered in a very special way.  And while no one today can be be answered in quite the same way Daniel was, we can learn from him how to approach God in our prayers in such a way that we can be assured that our petitions to God can likewise have a similar audience. 

Daniel's prayer was not a spontaneous prayer that he gushed forth with no prior preparation.  His prayer was carefully planned and precisely delivered according to instructions contained within the law of Moses concerning their captivity.   Daniel's prayer leads us on a journey through ancient prophecy that reveals just how far God went to try and avoid punishing the Israelites but was left with no other recourse.  God did everything He could reasonably have been expected to do and then went above and beyond what anyone would expect in order to give the Israelites every chance to repent and turn from their idolatrous ways.  We learn from this study that Israel refused to heed the warnings and refused to repent and in the end, left God with no choice but to punish them.  And they were indeed punished.  It was severe and bitter and when it was finished, the Israelites hearts were prepared to return and serve God faithfully. 

Daniel 9
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Darius is a hard individual to identify in history, especially since there were so many called by this name.  However here we have a clue that helps to identify who this person is.  Nebuchadnezzar carried the first group of Israelites away in approximately 604 BC.  Sixty nine years after Daniel was carried away, in about 538 BC, a ruler named Darius, who was also known as Cyaxares II became the ruler of Babylon.  This man was brother to Cyrus the Great's mother, Mandana of Media, thus making him the uncle of Cyrus the Great.

Cyaxares II was the son of Ahasuerus or, Astyages. Ahasuerus was a name shared by more than one of the kings of Medo-Persia and should not be confused with the Ahasuerus of Ezra who was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus who reigned from 530 to 522 BC.  Josephus named Astyages as the father of Darius the Mede, thus this Ahasuerus is commonly identified with him.  The Ahasuerus of Esther is generally believed to be Xerxes I of Persia who reigned from 485 to 465 BC.

The conclusions drawn among the scholars as to the precise identity of this man are by no means in agreement.  It must be noted here that we simply do not know for certain who this man identified as Darius really was.  There are difficulties associated with all of them.  It is the belief of this Bible student that the Darius of chapter 9 and the Darius of chapter 6 are one and the same.  The reasons for this is very simple.  Daniel was thrown into the lions den by a king named Darius.  The king who threw Daniel to the lions loved Daniel and was tricked into it by the manipulations of those who sought to have Daniel removed from power.  Please refer to the study of chapter 6 for details of their relationship and the events surrounding Daniel and the lion's den.  

Daniel and Darius were obviously well acquainted and had a working relationship of trust.  There are no records of any Darius prior to this one ruling over Babylon, meaning this Darius was the first.  Daniel was at the least near or in his eightieth year when this happened.  Please refer to the timeline for additional information.  Daniel was an aged man when the first king named Darius came to power at age sixty two (Daniel 5:31).  He and Daniel were both elderly so they shared that in common with each other.  Basically, given the obvious relationship Daniel and Darius shared, it is my conclusion that if these men were not one and the same, Daniel would not have referred to them by the same name.  He would have distinguished them from each other, not wanting to confuse a man he obviously shared a close working relationship with for a king he did not.  Therefore it is my conclusion that these two kings, both named Darius were one and the same. 

However we are still left with uncertainty as to exactly who this man really was.  In the study for chapter 6, it was my conclusion that Darius was a man named Gubaru.  This conclusion is based on evidence from the Nabonidus Chronicle which named Gubaru as the governor/king of the Babylonian province during this time period.  Archaeological evidence from that very time period in history carries much more significance than material written by others at much later dates, however, the validity of the Nabonidus Chronicle is challenged as propaganda by some due to inconsistencies.  The conclusion that Gubaru is Darius is arrived at because there simply are no other candidates which fit the facts as closely as he does.  There are difficulties with this conclusion and to fair and unbiased, it must be mentioned that the main one is that in history, Gubaru was never called a king, nor was he called Darius. 

So the mystery continues as to who this Darius really was.  This is what we know about him:

1)   His father was Ahauserus (Daniel 9:1).  The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes, both deriving from the Persian Khashayarsha. The form Xerxes has not traditionally appeared in English bibles, but has rather appeared as Ahasuerus. Many other translations and paraphrases have used the name Xerxes.  As mentioned earlier, Josephus named Astyages as the father of Darius the Mede and the name Ahasuerus is associated with him.  But this is by no means certain. 

2)   Darius was of the "seed of the Medes" Daniel 9:1.  Racially, Darius was a Median. 

3)   In authority, he was called the king over the realm of the Chaldeans, Daniel 9:1.  That was the province of Babylon, not to be confused with the Babylonian Empire which had fallen at this time and was being absorbed into the Medo-Persian Empire.  This is significant in that this man, even though he is called a king in scripture was not ruling over the empire, rather only over one part of it, namely the realm of the Chaldeans.  This makes him a co-regent or vassal king to the supreme king who was certainly Cyrus.  In the Nabonidus Chronicle, it is established that a governor over a province can be referred to as a king. 

4)   He was 62 years old, (Daniel 5:31).

It can be fairly concluded at this point that the Darius of Daniel 6 and 9 is either Astyages or Gubaru. 

Astyages succeeded his father, Cyaxares, in 585 BCE, following the Battle of Pteria, which ended a five-year war between the Lydians and the Medes. He inherited a large empire, ruled in alliance with his two brothers-in-law, Croesus of Lydia and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whose wife, Amytis, Astyages' sister, was the queen for whom Nebuchadnezzar was said to have built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  Astyages was married to Aryenis, the sister of King Croesus of Lydia, to seal the treaty between the two empires, Astyages ascended to the Median throne upon his father's death later that year.

Gubaru is mentioned in the Cyropedia of Xenophon as a general who helped in the conquering of Babylon. Gubaru was placed over Babylon as a governor.  See chapter 6.

The case for Gubaru being Darius is the strongest and I would offer an opinion here that is purely speculative.  Astyages was much higher up in authority than Gubaru making it more unlikely that he would have the time to form a relationship with Daniel.  Gubaru was a more of a local governor, also called a king, who with only the Babylonian province to govern would be in a position where he was more closely associated with Daniel than Astyages.  Archaeology continues to make discoveries and it may be that in the future evidence will be discovered that will decisively link the Darius of Daniel to a historical figure.  In the meantime, we will leave it to the conclusions of the individuals researching the evidence for themselves.  An error over the identity of this individual will not cause our religion to crumble down around our ears and has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the inspired text.  

Daniel 9:2 
In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord  came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.  And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

The time in Daniel's life when he received this vision was in the first year of the reign of Darius.  Just who this Darius was is not known for certain, but we do know that the time of this vision was roughly the same time as when Daniel was cast into the Lion's Den.  There is no indication in the account of Daniel and the lion's den (chapter 6) about how much time expired between the ascension of Darius to the throne and the incident that caused Daniel to be thrown to the lions, but we must concede that enough time transpired in order for Darius to become familiar with Daniel and form a bond of affection and trust for him.  It is not known for certain which event happened first, the Lion's den or the vision in chapter 9, but I will hazard to say that this vision might have followed Daniel's demonstration of faith over the affair of the lion's den. 

Daniel knew from the writings of Jeremiah that the captivity would last for seventy years.  Daniel knew that the timeframe of seventy years was almost expired.  It had been sixty nine years since Daniel had been carried away from Jerusalem and he went to God in prayer and supplication to plead for the release of his countrymen so that they could go back and rebuild the city and the temple.  Daniel was at least in his early eighties, having been in Babylon since he was a youth.  Daniel spent his life serving God faithfully in captivity in a foreign land.  His heart's desire was for the temple to be restored in Jerusalem where God was worshipped by the Jews.  Daniel knew the time was near and he was praying that God would fulfil His promise to restore Jerusalem after the seventy years of desolation were over.

There is something here that needs to be pointed out to those today who believe that God personally directs their every step and communicates with them directly through the Holy Spirit.  A more faithful and dedicated servant of God could scarcely be found than Daniel.  God chose to reveal through Daniel, some of the most amazing prophecies of the coming Messiah and His kingdom than can be found anywhere in scripture.  Yet Daniel learned of the timeframe of the Babylonian captivity through the words of another prophet of God written elsewhere.  There are three observations which need to be stressed here.  (1), God did not reveal everything to any one single prophet, and (2), to learn the complete revelation of God through his prophets, Daniel had to rely on the word of God from another source.  We know that it came to Daniel in written form because Daniel wrote that he understood it "by books".  And (3), Daniel recognized Jeremiah as a prophet of God and had absolute faith in the words he wrote as being the word of God. 

Jeremiah prophesied to the nation of Judah against their idolatry for many years.  His warnings began 23 years prior to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:3).  The word of the Lord concerning the 70 year time period for the captivity came to him in the first year king Nebuchadnezzar's reign, (Jeremiah 25:1).  Concerning the prophecy of the 70 years, Jeremiah wrote:

Jeremiah 25:9-12

9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.

11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

Of significance to this issue is recognizing from the text that the end of the 70 year captivity coincides with the destruction of Babylon as a world empire.  The beginning of the first captivity started with the carrying off of Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's first siege on Jerusalem in 606 BC.  Babylon was overthrown by the Medo-Persians in 539 BC, which was the 67th year of the captivity of Daniel and the others who were carried away with him.  The two time periods are too close to be a coincidence.  The end of the 70 year captivity coincides with the overthrow of Babylon.  The prophecy was given in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar in about 606 BC and Daniel was recording this vision in about 537 BC; 69 years later.  Babylon had already been overthrown and this part of the vision was fulfilled.  Daniel knew the time was close.  The decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem went out in 536 BC, which was 70 years after Daniel was carried away to Babylon. 

There is no shortage of disagreement among the scholars as to whether the seventy years was a literal period of time or not.  Daniel here claimed to have understood the "number of the years" that God told Jeremiah He would accomplish the desolations of Jerusalem.  In Daniel's perception, the desolations started when Nebuchadnezzar looted the temple and carried away Daniel and several other of his companions to Babylon.  Daniel was in his sixty-ninth year of his captivity and he knew the Babylonian Empire had fallen to the Medo-Persians.  Daniel understood it to be seventy literal years and he was making the appropriate supplications to God as a result of his conviction.  By this time, the student of Daniel should well know that he is more than capable of correctly interpreting and understanding the visions and prophecies of God.  He has demonstrated this ability over and over to more than one king of Babylon.  They had no problem whatsoever in recognizing Daniel's extraordinary capacity for unraveling the mysteries of God.  This student of Daniel likewise recognizes Daniel's abilities in these matters and is of the firm conviction that the seventy year Babylonian captivity of the Israelites was for seventy literal years. 

"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes"

Of interest here are the terms "fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes".  The practice of fasting, wearing sackcloth and sprinkling of ashes on oneself was a traditional form of supplication to God.  Each one of these components represented a specific element of the mental state of the person.  The fasting represented the self denial of one's most basic necessity and represented great distress.  The sackcloth, also known as 'hair cloth" is made of the bound hair of goats, usually black, or camels and represented being bound or tied to something, in Daniel's case, being bound to the will of God.  The ashes came to designate worthlessness or insignificance (Genesis 18:27; Job 30:19).

Daniel 9:4 
"And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments"

Daniel's confession is recorded in verses 5-11 of the following text of chapter 9.  A key component in obtaining the forgiveness of sin is found in the recognition and acknowledgement of one's wrongdoing to God.  Confession of one's sin is the expression of a conviction of the heart over one's wrongdoing or failure.  Daniel's confession here was not made to or before any man, rather it was directed solely to the throne of Heaven.  No man can forgive sins for man or dole out God's forgiveness based on his judgment of such matters.  Sin is a transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4).  When man sins, it is God who has been violated, therefore it is God to whom man must go in confession and supplication, and it is God alone that forgives sin. 

In the New Testament, confession of sin is tied to the ongoing forgiveness of sins for a Christian.  In 1 John 1:9 we are taught that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".  The word "if" denotes a conditional statement.  We receive forgiveness of sin "if" we confess them, meaning to recognize and acknowledge them, to God.  Therefore, "if" we do not recognize and acknowledge our sin to God, then there will be no forgiveness.  Such is the force of a conditional statement.  If the first condition is met, then the results promised will be forthcoming.  If the first condition is not meant, the promised results will be withheld. 

"O Lord, the great and dreadful God"

Daniel begins his prayer to God by addressing Him and acknowledging that He is both great and dreadful.  Paul wrote, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness.."  God is indeed great and good.  But there is a dreadful side to Him as well.  People throughout the ages seem to forget about the dreadful nature of God.  The wages of sin is death.  The God we serve demands the penalty of death for all sin no matter what it may be.  Spiritual death is the eternal separation from God's glory.  His righteous nature was so adamant and unswerving on this issue that the only avenue by which man could be saved was through the sacrificial offering of the life of His only Son.  We serve a God that is dreadful.  For those who never come to know God and obey the gospel, their fate is eternal destruction from the presence of God, (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  For those who come to know the truth of God and fall away, their fate is worse than if they had never known God, (2 Peter 2:20-22).  God's punishment for the wicked in the afterlife is dreadful. 

We serve the same God that destroyed all life from the earth with the exception of 8 souls in the great flood.  We serve the same God as He who rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah and utterly destroyed them from the face of the earth.  We serve the same God who parted the red sea for the Israelites and then let it come crashing down on the army of the Egyptians, utterly destroying them.  We serve the same God who brought the Roman Empire to her knees and then broke her power for her iniquity against God and her crimes against the Christians.  We serve the same God who allowed the Babylonian empire to enslave His people and destroy Jerusalem and the temple.  We serve the same God who allowed Daniel, who was as righteous and upright an individual as could be found in all of Israel be mutilated, enslaved and then carried away to a foreign and hostile land where he spent the remainder of his life in service to various kings.  Yes the God we serve is good and great and loving and full of mercy, but He is also dreadful and fearful.  Daniel was well aware of the dreadful nature of God and acknowledged it in the opening of his prayer.  Let us never be guilty of forgetting the dreadful and fearful nature of the God we serve and always strive to afford Him the reverence and respect that is His due. 

"keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments"

Daniel was well versed in the Law of Moses.  This phrase he used in his prayer to God is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations"  God keeps His covenants and has mercy with those who are faithful and obedient.  The logical opposite to this statement is that God does not have mercy on those who do not love him and do not keep His commandments.  God's requirement to love and obey Him are in both the Old and New Testaments.  Of significance is the fact that love and obedience are tied together.  Those who love God will obey Him (John 14:15; 14:23), and those who obey God love Him (John 14:21).  Conversely those who do not love God will not obey Him (John 14:24).  Many among those who claim Christ as savior view their love of God as an emotional love and not an obedient, submissive, self sacrificing love.  Daniel knew that love to God was inseparable from obedience and acknowledged this in his prayer.  Daniel full well knew that obedience to God was required and he knew that rebellion to God was what got Israel into the sad predicament they were in.  Those today who call on the name of the Lord should likewise recognize the importance of obedient love to God.  

Daniel 9:5 
"We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments"

Daniel well knew the law of Moses and he has demonstrated this numerous times throughout his writings.  This confession of sin to God is not something that Daniel dreamed up on his own.  In Leviticus chapter 26, God gave a warning to the Israelites through the hand of Moses that is an unmistakable parallel to exactly what happened in the Babylonian conquest and captivity.  Starting in verse 15 of Leviticus, Moses wrote, "And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you..."  Moses went on from there in a lengthy discourse which spelled out the fate of the nation of Israel if she departed from the commandments of God.  The language written has the imagery of the Babylonian captivity woven entirely throughout the context.  The parallels between what was warned against and what happened are too apparent not to draw a comparison between the two.  Following the descriptive warning of what would befall the Israelites, Moses wrote the condition that had to be met in order to bring an end to their suffering for their rebellion against God.   Starting in verse 40 of Leviticus chapter 26 we read the following:

Leviticus 26:40-42
"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:  Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

Daniel knew the 70 years was almost up and he knew that God required confession of sin in order to remember His covenant with the fathers of the Israelite nation.  This confession of guilt was something Daniel knew had to be accomplished.  God gave the remedy and Daniel was diligently applying himself to the observance of that condition which had to be met in order for the Israelites to return to the favor of God and get the opportunity to go home and rebuild their city and their temple.  Daniel was a righteous and upright man and without a doubt innocent of idolatry which doomed the Israelites to captivity in Babylon, but when praying on behalf of the entire Israelite nation, he used the term "we".  Israel as a nation was guilty of sin and Israel as a nation had to confess their iniquity if they were to be remembered and receive God's mercy.  Daniel was praying on behalf of his people, acknowledging and accepting the guilt for their transgressions.  

It goes without saying that Daniel was not the only member of the Israelite nation praying this prayer of confession.  One person did not get Israel into their predicament and one person would not be able to pray them out of it.  Israel was a broken and contrite nation with their hearts well prepared for the confession of their sin. 
 
Daniel 9:6
"Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land."

Moses warned them, Ezekiel warned them years before they were overthrown, (Ezekiel 12:12-14), himself being carried away to Babylon. Jeremiah warned them before they were overthrown and continued to warn them afterwards.  There was no shortage of warnings to the Israelites about their fate if they refused to follow the law of God.  These prophets spoke to their kings, to their fathers and to all the people repeatedly and often.  The Israelites were given the opportunity to repent even up to the 11th hour before they were overthrown and enslaved and refused to hearken to the words of the Lord through His prophets.  They had no excuse, they had no one to blame for their predicament but themselves.  God was in no way silent about their impending consequences.  He did not sneak up on them in the dark and bring sudden calamity down upon them. 

It here needs to be recognized that God's purpose was to bring Israel to repentance and to avoid at all cost their destruction.  Godly men such as Ezekiel, Daniel and Jeremiah were put through torturous circumstances in order to bring about the will of God.  The life of a prophet was never a one of ease and luxury.  God put His prophets in life threatening situations all the time and scripture records that they were all ill treated.  Stephen asked the enraged mob this question right before they stoned him to death as recorded in Acts 7:52, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers".  The application for us today is that God is more than willing to sacrifice His faithful to the furtherance of the deliverance and salvation of others.  The entire book of Revelation stands in stark support of this.  God expected His righteous to remain faithful without regard to the personal dangers that confronted them.  Circumstances had no bearing whatsoever on God's expectations. 

In the new testament we are given this somber exhortation, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution".  It is not God's desire that mankind be persecuted.  A study of Revelation reveals that much of the punishment God inflicted on the enemies of the Christians was because they were persecuting them so terribly.  God does not enjoy the persecution of His children any more than we would enjoy the persecution of our fleshly children by the ungodly.  However, God is more than willing to place His faithful children in harm's way in order to further the cause of righteousness and save the souls of the ungodly.  When one thinks about this, one is forced to acknowledge the fact that God was willing to sacrifice the life of His own Son in order to save mankind, therefore why would He hesitate to require the same thing of us?  The words of Paul are appropriate, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).

"which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land"

The prophets of God were not speaking in dark corners.  They were proclaiming the word of God to everyone from the people in the streets to the throne rooms of Jerusalem. 

Daniel 9:7 
"O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee."

Daniel acknowledges here that righteousness belongs to God.  Later in this prayer Daniel says, "the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth".  Daniel is a true student of God's law and once again demonstrates this abundantly in his prayer of confession to God.  Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 32:3-4, "Because I [Moses] will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.  He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he".  No man can make that claim.  The source of righteousness is God alone and to God belongs righteousness.  He is the originator of righteousness, He has lived it throughout eternity, He has brought it to His creation, He has set the standard for it and proclaimed it throughout the ages, and of great significance, He has ordered His own conduct by the standards of His righteousness and will continue to do so throughout the ages.  Truly righteousness does belong to God and no other. 

"but unto us confusion of faces"
The Hebrew word for confusion carried the meaning of shame.  The NKJV renders this phrase thus: "but to us shame of face, as it is this day".  See also the NASB, NIV and YLT.  The Israelites were shamed because of their rebellion to God.  They were confused to be sure, having been overthrown and scattered as slaves to the surrounding countries.  Not even their kings and nobility escaped that fate, themselves suffering greatly due to their rebellion and refusal to obey the will of God.  It was so bad that even the few remaining faithful children of God were caught up in the captivity and suffered as well.  Daniel and his three companions are examples of the suffering of the innocent due to the crimes of the ungodly.  The confusion they suffered is of the total and complete upset of their lives in Jerusalem.  They were not confused because they did not in any way know why their fate had turned so dire.  All of Israel as a nation knew why they were overthrown and enslaved.  It was written in the law of Moses as we have already seen and will see again as Daniel's prayer continues.  Jeremiah had been warning them for over 20 years when it happened.  Ezekiel warned them years ahead of time as well.  These prophets were not silent, they spoke to their kings, princes, fathers, and to all the people of the land, (Daniel 9:6).  They had no reason to be confused as to why they found themselves in shame. 

"to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them"

The enslavement and scattering of the Israelites was as broad as the empire.  Evidently they were forced to take up the lives of slaves throughout the Babylonian Empire.  How horrible it must be to have one's entire family abducted, taken from their homes and scattered across a land to live as slaves to a foreign people.  Leaving their homes and taken to a place if insecurity to live under the yolk of their captors.  Having one's children taken from them, possibly never to see them again would be a terrible thing to befall a parent.  Daniel and his companions were just young boys when they were taken from Jerusalem, they all had families and homes that they probably never saw again. 

"because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee."

And all the suffering, shame and enslavement was for one reason.  It was because of their trespasses against God.  No other reason is given, none is implied.  Daniel makes no excuses, neither does he try and rationalize any of it.  Their suffering was because of their sin and idolatry as a nation.  Everyone suffered, both young and old, male and female, wicked or faithful, kings or beggars.  The punishment was handed out to the whole nation without discrimination against any of them. 

Daniel 9:8 
"O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee."

This is a restatement of Daniel's prior assertion, no doubt for emphasis.  It is common to restate important phrases in order to make sure one is clearly understood.  Daniel wants God to know that he means what he is saying and not just paying lip service.  This prayer is a heartfelt, genuine plea of confession, supplication and repentance for the wrongs of an entire nation by one man. 

In the first statement, Daniel laid the blame on his countrymen using the pronouns "they" and "them".  In this restatement, Daniel uses the pronouns "us" and "our" and "we".  Daniel has brought this confession of sin to a more personal level by accepting the guilt of the sin of the entire nation of Israel by including himself in their transgressions.  Daniel is not going to God in confession for the sins of his people and not accepting any guilt himself.  Daniel has demonstrated here that he is not a self righteous individual who holds himself in higher esteem than others.  One cannot help but be reminded of the prayer of the self righteous Pharisee and the Publican as recorded in Luke 18:10-13.  Daniel stands as an example of how God is to be approached in prayer.  No one is without sin, not even Daniel.  So to approach God in the manner the Pharisee did in Jesus' account in Luke 18:10-13 would have been altogether improper. 

Daniel 9:9 
"To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him"

Paul wrote that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  Spiritual death is what is in the view of Paul in that particular context.  The Israelites in the Babylonian captivity were experiencing a added measure of suffering in addition to the penalty of spiritual death that all will receive if they die in a lost or fallen state.  God's purpose with the captivity was to bring His people to repentance so that they would not have to suffer eternal spiritual death.  It may not have seemed like it to the Israelites at the time, but God, through His chastisement of them was being merciful.  He could have simply left them to their fate but He chose to act in such a way that would bring them back into His favor.  He warned then through the prophets and that didn't work, therefore out of His mercy for them, He chose a more direct approach.  Daniel was appealing to God's mercy and forgiveness for the relief of their earthly suffering.  God's punishment of the nation of Israel was harsh to say the least, but pales to insignificance in the face of permanent spiritual death for which there is no mercy and no forgiveness. 

Mercy and forgiveness do indeed belong to God.  For there is no other source for it other than Him.  The soul who would avoid spiritual death and eternal punishment must seek mercy and forgiveness from the one source where it can be found.  Even the rebellious can seek and find mercy and forgiveness at any time if they will but seek God with an honest heart, trust and obey Him. 

"though we have rebelled against him"

This is the third time Daniel has mentioned the sin of Israel and he is not finished yet.  The Israelites were guilty of trespassing against God (V7), sinning against God (V8), and now in V9 we see rebellion against God.  In verse 10 and 11 we will see yet two more terms used to illustrate their sin.

Daniel 9:10 
Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord  our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

Trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God's law (V11), are all terms associated with sin.  What sin boils down to is refusal to obey the will of God.  The Israelites were living under the law of Moses (Daniel 9:11; 13), and they were guilty of Trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God's law.  Today we live under the "law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2) and while the terms of the covenant have changed for the better (Hebrews 8:6-7), God's expectations of obedience have not (Matthew 7:21, Hebrews 5:9).  There are many in the religious world today who say that we do not live under any law of God.  Jesus came to die for us so that we could receive the forgiveness of sin.  He did not come to die for us so that we could sin without consequence.  Jesus' sacrifice on the cross did not make sinful things right.  Trespass, rebellion and disobedience were wrong before the cross and they are wrong after the cross and the consequences for these things are the same if they remain unrepented of, unconfessed and unforgiven. 

While we do not live under the law of Moses, we do have a rule of conduct by which we must adhere to.  In the New Testament it is called the "law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2); the "law to Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:21); "the royal law" (James 2:8); the "law of Liberty" (James 2:12); the "law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2).  The inspired writers of the New Testament could not refer to a "law of Christ" if there were not such a law.

Christians are to obey the Law of Christ (all of it) as distinguished from the Law of Moses which Daniel lived under.  Some today allege that the "law of Christ" is not a law in the legal sense. There is no way to understand "Law of Christ" except in the sense of law of God.  How could God's law be defined as not being in a legal sense? The very term legal means "pertinent to or conformity to law." So those who allege that the law of Christ is not law are actually saying Christ's law is not pertinent to any rule of conduct. Such a teaching must be rejected. Moses was the type of Christ, and Christ surpassed Moses, being the Lawgiver (James 4:12), for all mankind.  Jesus Christ Himself settles this issue once and for all in Matthew 7:21-23 when he closed His teaching with the words "depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (NKJV).  If there were no law of Christ for a Christian to observe, then it would not be possible to practice lawlessness.  The "law of Christ"  therefore means just what it says: the totality of Jesus Christ's teachings. 

Daniel 9:11 
"Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him."

The curse that was poured out on them is written in Leviticus chapter 26 starting in verse 14.  It is also written in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and the imagery of what would befall Israel was similar to the record in Leviticus.  Significant parallels between these and the Babylonian captivity are too striking not to be connected.  The things God warned them against came to pass in the captivity.  They also parallel other times in the history of Israel as well, such as the horrendous oppression under the rule of Antiochus IV. 

Either account is too lengthy to publish in this study, however a reading of both of them would be beneficial.  Some of the highlights worthy of mentioning which are unmistakably referencing the Babylonian captivity are as follows: 

Leviticus 26:15
And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

Leviticus 26:17
ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you;

Leviticus 26:30-33
And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.  And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

Leviticus 26:38
And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

Deuteronomy 28:15
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee"

Here is the curse mentioned by Daniel which was written in the law of Moses:

Deuteronomy 28:16-19
"Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.  Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.  Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out."

And then Moses goes on to elaborate:

Deuteronomy 28:32-33
"Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.  The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway"

Deuteronomy 28:36
"The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone."

Deuteronomy 28:47-49
"Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand"

Anybody with a passing familiarity of the Babylonian captivity could not miss seeing the parallels here.  All of these things came to pass on the rebellious Israelites due to their own stubbornness.   One can scarcely imagine why, with all the warnings they had, that they did not heed them.  As a side note, one can likewise scarcely imagine why with all the warnings mankind today has about eternal punishment that we as a people reject God and His righteousness the same as the Israelites did. 

Daniel was obviously familiar with the curse written in the Law of Moses because he mentioned them in this prayer.  And being familiar with the curses written in the law, Daniel was also familiar with how God said to be forgiven for the trespasses of their entire nation and this prayer to God which he is engaging in is for that purpose.  Daniel was living in the last years of the Babylonian captivity, having understood this from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2).  The remedy for the curse is given in:

Leviticus 26:40-42
"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

Daniel 9:12 
"And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem."

That which God spoke to Moses concerning the curse came to pass.  When reading the account of the curse in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 it is obvious that prophesied penalty for their transgression would be horrific and Daniel here stated that the words had been confirmed.  God meant what He said and He fulfilled those words completely.  

"for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem."

God broke Israel down and scattered her to the four winds.  Their suffering was unlike anything in the memory of Daniel.  Consider the time in history in which this took place.  This was a barbaric and cruel time to live.  The authority of kings was absolute and they ruled by force.  There was no recognition of human rights.  A king was free to exercise whatever cruelties he deemed suitable and could enforce upon his enemies.  And it is in this barbaric period in history when Daniel made the comment that the judgment God imposed on Jerusalem was without precedent or comparison.  Let's keep in mind the fact that Daniel, being well versed in the word of God full well knew of the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah and how they were destroyed.  Daniel also lived through the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar, himself being taken captive about the same time that Nebuchadnezzar began his reign over the Babylonian Empire.  Daniel saw firsthand what fate befell the nations who fell to Nebuchadnezzar and especially the ones that rebelled and withheld the tribute money.  Israel rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and he made an example out of them.  The first time they rebelled, he dealt harshly with them.  The third time they rebelled, he very nearly wiped them off the face of the earth.  Nebuchadnezzar made an example out of the Israelites as a warning to other nations who would similarly rebel against his authority. 

Daniel lived through Nebuchadnezzar's reign and then on through the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persians.   Daniel had firsthand knowledge of the overthrow of two world empires and he had a lot of experience with the cruelties that were inflicted on the people of conquered nations.  Daniel was not a man who lived a sheltered life with no perspective to draw from.  When Daniel said "for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem", he was speaking from the perspective of a man who had seen a great deal of pain and suffering due to the actions of conquering world powers and her cruel kings having lived in Babylon for nearly 70 years.  In short, when Daniel, speaking from his perspective, said it was the worst that had been done under heaven, the reader can be assured that it was bad to a level which is difficult to even imagine. 

Daniel 9:13 
"As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord  our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth."

The curse in the law of Moses written in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 carries with it the remedy for the ending of their suffering.  Leviticus 26:40-42 quoted earlier is their remedy.  The remedy starts with the word "If".  If the Israelites want to go home and end their captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple then they have certain things that they must do first.  And to date, they had not done this and Daniel was diligently in prayer concerning this matter and doing to the best of his ability all those things which had to be done if their captivity was to come to an end.  This entire prayer that Daniel is offering to God is in response to what was written in Leviticus 26:40-42. 

Daniel earlier said in his prayer, "for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem."  A reading of the curse in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 reveals just how bitter the punishment of the curse would be.  We have every reason to believe that everything described in that curse befell the Israelites during their captivity. 

Daniel 9:14 
"Therefore hath the Lord  watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice."

The Israelites who had been warned by the prophets stubbornly refused to acknowledge their sin, repent and come to God in prayer.  Because of this, God has allowed their suffering to continue and has watched over and directed it.  In other words, the suffering of Israel was according to God's divine plan and was being carried out to His specifications.  He was in control of the judgment of Israel throughout their ordeal. 

"for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works"

The word "for" introduces here an explanation of the preceding statement.  The judgment brought against Israel was justified.  It was the right thing to do and Daniel is acknowledging this to God.  Daniel, speaking for his nation, is accepting the responsibility for the sins of his people according to the instructions written in Leviticus 26:40-42, specifically in Leviticus 26:41, "and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity". 

"for we obeyed not his voice."

Again, the word "for" introduces an explanation of the preceding statement.  God was justified in His actions against Israel because they refused to obey His voice.  And we know that voice was not heard literally, rather through the words of the prophets.  The whole captivity including all the suffering of the curse written in the law of Moses was due to one thing; their disobedience.  Earlier Daniel characterized this lack of obedience with terms like "rebellion", "trespass", and "departing from God's law".  But in whole, all of these terms can be summed up under one general heading which is "disobedience" and that is what Daniel did here.  God directed the punishment of Israel because it was the right thing to do because of the disobedience of Israel.  Daniel is accepting "the punishment of their iniquity" (Leviticus 26:41).

Daniel 9:15 
"And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly".

Daniel knows that God delivered Israel out of the hand of Pharaoh of Egypt.  His confidence that God is able to do it again is demonstrated in this prayer.  And that is exactly what Daniel is praying for.  He is carrying his petition for the liberation of his countrymen to the throne of God. 

"and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day"

God was famous for His deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage.  His reputation for this preceded the spies who came to the house of Rahab.  When speaking to them she made this statement, "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed" (Joshua 2:10).  Rahab used the word "we" in her statement.  The deliverance of Israel by the hand of God was well published throughout Canaan even after four decades had passed.  And Daniel's statement, "as at this day" means it is still well known at least among the Israelites. 

"we have sinned, we have done wickedly"

Daniel continually acknowledges the sin sins and wickedness of his people.  Now to the list of terms used by Daniel to describe their sin is added wicked behavior.  The sin of the Israelites was earlier characterized as trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God's law.   Now we see Daniel adding wickedness to the list.  The persistent sins of the people are repeatedly confessed and Daniel admits that the judgment which has fallen upon Israel is of their own sinful deeds and entirely their fault. 

Daniel 9:16 
"O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us".

Daniel is pleading for the the righteousness of God.  Daniel has already acknowledged that God is right in everything He does (V7).  Daniel is not pleading on the grounds of any righteousness either of the Israelites or of himself (V18), rather he is appealing to the righteousness of God.   Daniel knows the Israelites deserved everything that happened to them and that they have no righteousness upon which they can appeal to.  Therefore Daniel is appealing to the righteousness of the only One who is righteous and the only One who's mercy can provide them with any hope.  

"I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem"

This request was the entire point to Daniel's prayer.  This is what he was praying to God for.  Daniel had acknowledged the sins of his people as a whole.  He has accepted the responsibility for that sin.  He has come to God with a submissive and repentant attitude.  This sorrow of heart and contrition of spirit is exactly what was required in the law of Moses as being conditional upon God's mercy on those who were cursed (Leviticus 26:40-42).  Daniel was earnestly and fervently going about the fulfillment of this condition from his heart of hearts. 

It cannot be overstated how important it is to approach God according to His righteousness.  Daniel, who had experienced God's judgment upon Israel well knew this and was diligently applying himself to the fulfillment of God's requirements on this matter.  The application we can make from this for today is that the nature of God does not change and His requirements for approaching Him with our petitions has not changed.  The Apostle wrote concerning this in Romans 10:3, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness , have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God".  Daniel was laying his petition at the foot of the throne of God and before He did, He made sure that it was according to the righteousness of God.  John teaches us that we can have confidence that God will hear our prayers "if" we ask "according to His will" (1 John 5:14).  Today, when we approach the throne of God with our petitions, we can use Daniel and his prayer here as a model for how to be assured that our petitions will be heard approvingly. 

Daniel 9:17 
"Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake."

The word "therefore" is used to mean that everything said before was so that one could say what was coming next.  Daniel is pleading for God to hear his prayer which listen, heed and acknowledge.  Daniel is pleading for mercy and for the release of his nation so that they can be first and foremost, forgiven of their sins, and secondly for their deliverance from bondage. 

"and cause thy face to shine"

When upon Mount Sinai, God allowed Moses to see Him as a He passed by.  Moses was allowed within a few feet of the literal presence of God and saw His glory (Exodus 33:18-23), and when he returned to the camp of the Israelites, the skin of his face visibly glowed and this frightened the Israelites so that when Moses talked with them, he would cover his face with a veil (Exodus 34:30-35).  This event obviously made quite an impact on the Israelites because in the Psalms and writings of later prophets, the term "cause thy face to shine" was used numerous times.  Sin was said to cause God to hide His face from man, (Isaiah 59:2).  Even back in the times of Adam and Eve, when Cain was driven away for the murder of his brother Abel, he quoted "and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth" (Genesis 4:14).  When God's face was said to be turned away, it represented the disfavor of God and shame on His people.  It was therefore understood to be a sign of God's favor and approval when His face shined upon His children. 

Daniel again demonstrates his considerable knowledge of the law of Moses.  When speaking with God on one occasion, God told Moses that sometime after his death, the Israelites would "rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them" (Deuteronomy 31:16).  God then went on to say in verse 18, "And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods." When Daniel asked God to let His face shine upon the desolated sanctuary in Jerusalem, he was asking for God's approval in the rebuilding and restoration of the temple and in the broader sense, was asking God not to hide His face from them any longer. 

"for the Lord's sake."

To understand what Daniel meant here, we must look to something he said in the end of his prayer; "for thy city and thy people are called by thy name".  The people of God were scattered throughout the Medo-Persian empire at this time, which included Babylon.  The city of Jerusalem was devastated, the walls were torn down and the temple was laying in ruins.  Daniel used the words "sanctuary that is desolate" to describe the condition of the temple in this verse.  These enslaved and scattered Israelites were known to be the children of a God who they rightfully claimed to be the one true and living God. 

It is important to realize that not only was God angry with the Israelites, but He was also ashamed of them.  His face was not shining on them, meaning His face was hidden from them in shame.  It was not due to any act of God that He was shamed, rather it was wholly the actions of the Israelites that did it.  God's chosen people, the people He called the children of God had abandoned Him in the face of the world and gone "whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land" (Deuteronomy 31:16).  In Deuteronomy 31:17 of the same context, God said "they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day. Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?"  The God who had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and helped them throughout the conquest of Canaan and had a temple built to His name in Jerusalem had His children scattered throughout a foreign land in slavery and His temple lay in ruins back in the devastated city of Jerusalem. 

God was rightfully ashamed of His people and because of their actions, He had to let them come to the state they were in and in so doing had to endure the scorn that was sure to come from the gentiles over the treatment of the Israelites.  The gentiles among whom the Israelites were living would look at the condition of His followers and draw conclusions from that.  Their conclusions would inevitably be that their God had abandoned them.  The conclusions they drew could cover a wide range of other possibilities such as whether or not their God was powerful enough to shelter them if He even existed.  There is no end to what the Gentiles would believe about God with His people enslaved and their temple and capitol city destroyed.  

Daniel knew God was ashamed of his people and he knew why.  And for His sake, for His reputation, he was appealing to God for forgiveness.  Daniel knew that God's reputation among the gentiles had been damaged and he knew that it was wholly the responsibility of the Israelites that brought this on to Him.  Daniel wanted more than anything for his people to return to Jerusalem. rebuild the city, rebuild the temple, and re-establish God's reputation among the gentiles of the earth. 

The Hebrew writer wrote of God and who He was unashamed to claim as His own: Hebrews 11:16, "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city".  It is significant to note that in this chapter of Hebrews, which is sometimes referred to as God's hall of faith, those who God was unashamed of were those whose obedience was set forth as an inspired example for Christians of the time and for all ages since. 
 

Daniel 9:18
"O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies."

Daniel has presented His case and the case of His people at the feet of God on His throne.  This prayer had been carefully conducted according to the conditions set forth in the law of Moses and it came from Daniel's heart.  Daniel pleads God to open his ears and listen to his plea.

"open thine eyes, and behold our desolations"

Daniel pleads with God to look upon the sorry state they had fallen into.  Look at the destruction and desolation and have mercy. 

"for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies."

Notice Daniel is using the pronoun "we".  He is not praying by himself, for himself alone.  He is praying as a spokesman for the entire nation of Israel.  There can be no doubt that Daniel was not the only one praying on behalf of the nation of Israel concerning this matter.  If one person could have prayed them out of their captivity, then one person would have been able to keep them out of it by prayer and we know there was at least a remnant of faithful Israelites in Jerusalem when she fell. 

As indicated earlier, this prayer of confession, acknowledgement of guilt and petition for peace was not something dreamed up in the mind of Daniel.  This prayer was a condition which had to be met if God were to remember His covenant with them (Leviticus 26:40-42).  Daniel knew there was no righteousness of theirs upon which to plead for God's mercy.  He knew they deserved everything they got and that God was justified in His punishment of them.  Daniel was pleading for the mercies of God based solely upon His merciful nature and nothing else.  They had done nothing to deserve it, nothing to earn it, could not pay for it with any righteousness of their own and were coming to God's feet with nothing more than themselves to offer.  They were like the Christians in Laodicea mentioned in Revelation 3:17, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked".  The only thing they had to offer God was a promise to be faithful and loyal to Him.  They wanted mercy and forgiveness so that they could return and serve Him on His terms and they were hoping God would want them to return enough to accept them in their pitiful state and allow them to do just that. 

What a lesson on God's grace that can be found here in this account.  A people who had sinned, bringing shame to themselves and to God, and were deserving of death, coming to God with nothing to offer but themselves in their most pitiful state, hoping for mercy and deliverance.  That sounds like us today when out of a pure heart and a contrite spirit, we come to God in the same state, making the same plea and hoping for the same deliverance.  Truly it was a gracious act on the part of God in returning the Israelites to Jerusalem and likewise it was an even more gracious act on the part of God to send His Son to earth to die so that all can be delivered from the eternal bondage of sin.  One cannot look at such a demonstration of mercy and grace and not help but be touched in their heart.  We truly do serve a God who is merciful and gracious and we must never ever allow ourselves to forget that He is rich in mercy and that all of his acts are righteous while ours at their very best are never deserving of God's favor.  God shows His mercy and grace because of His nature and His righteousness, and not because of ours in any way. 

All that is required of us, is the same thing that was required of the Israelites; obedient service.  Return and serve.  Return and obey.  Return and do what we should have done in the first place, trust, serve and obey.  It won't earn or pay for God's gracious offer, but if and only if we do it, we today, like the Israelites then, will receive deliverance from our bondage and find forgiveness, mercy and grace. 

The words of Paul echo this great truth in new testament times: Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost".

Daniel 9:19 
"O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name."

"for thy city and thy people are called by thy name"

Daniel is undoubtedly referring to Jerusalem which was the capitol city of Judah and was where the temple was.  The Meaning of Jerusalem is considered by many scholars to be the city of Salem, or of peace.  The oldest form of the name is "Uru-sa-lim".  The Psalmist identifies Salem with Jerusalem in Psalms 76:1-2, "In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion".  God is identified with the city of Jerusalem by name. 

In 1 Kings 8:22-53 and 2 Chronicles 6:14-42, we have two accounts of a prayer to God by Solomon.  The temple he built had been finished and the Israelites had brought the ark of the covenant to the temple and were worshipping God.  Upon completion of the ceremonies, the "glory of the LORD had filled the house of God" (2 Chronicles 5:14), to such a degree that "the priests could not stand to minister".  At this time Solomon offered his prayer to God.  In both accounts of Solomon's prayer, he made a reference to the temple as "this house, which I have builded" and that is was "called by thy name" (1 Kings 8:43, 2 Chronicles 6:33).  The temple was referred to as the "temple of God" or the "house of God" numerous times in scripture. 

In scripture the Israelites were referred to as the God's children in a variety of different forms.  The psalmist called them the "children of the most High" (Psalms 82:6).  The prophet Hosea in 1:10, "sons of the living God".  God desired them to call refer to Him as their "Father", Jeremiah 3:19.  The term of children of God is used 9 times in the New Testament and the term "children of Israel" occurs 644 times in the old testament.  The name "Israel" means "prince with God". 

The study of God putting His name on His possessions and His people is an exhaustive study in itself.  However, a rudimentary study of this topic reveals immediately that God wants His people and His possessions to be named after Him.  This is evidence that God considers His possessions valuable enough to wear His name.  One does not put one's name on things they do not want their name associated with.  God wants the association of His people and He wants them to be identified with Him by name. 

Isaiah wrote concerning the name of God in 42:8, "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images".

Not only does God desire that His possessions bear His name, He indicates in Isaiah that He will not allow any glory due Him to go to another. This includes the name worn by His people and on His city and on His temple.  The application we can make for today is that God's unchanging nature demands the same of us today.  God's name needs to be on His house.  God's name needs to be worn by His people and no other.  Christians today are identified by the name they wear.  It was prophecied in Isaiah 62:2, "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name" and fulfilled by inspiration in Acts 11:26, "...And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch". 

Jesus Christ, being the only begotten Son of God, was God, manifested in flesh on the earth.  When we call ourselves Christians today, we are identified with God.  We wear on ourselves the name of God.  This name was important enough that it was mentioned in prophecy, and it was fulfilled.  Paul condemned the Christians in Corinth for identifying themselves with the names of men, "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:12-13).  If we want to be assured of living our lives as God's children, then we must identify ourselves as such by name, wearing no other, identified with no other and serving no other; Christians only and only Christians and the body of Christ, which is the church should likewise bear God's name. 

Even a basic study of this topic reveals that God is possessive of His children and jealous of them wearing any other name.  Let us be sure that we honor His wishes and give all the glory due His name, to Him, where it rightfully belongs and try to live our lives in such a way, that we glorify Him and only Him, and that He will be proud to let us wear His name and likewise proud to have His name upon us. 

 

 

 


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Matt 11:28-29
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."