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
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.
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,
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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.
have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly,
and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy
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:
"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
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.
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
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"
"which spake in thy name to our
kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the
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
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
"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
"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.
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.
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
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
"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
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:
ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall
reign over you;
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.
And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies
shall eat you up.
"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:
"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:
"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"
"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."
"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
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:
"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."
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
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Daniel pleads with God to look upon the
sorry state they had fallen into. Look at the destruction and
desolation and have mercy.
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".
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
"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.