I. THE INCENTIVE FOR PRAYER.
A. His understanding of the word of God.
"And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths as long as long as it lieth desolate, and you are in your enemies land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
2. He tells us that he had been reading the letter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives in Babylon that is recorded in Jeremiah 29
, in verse 10 he said, "For thus saith the Lord that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place, for I know the thoughts that I have toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you an expected end."
3. Earlier in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim Jeremiah had predicted the invasion by Nebuchadnezzer and their being taken as captives. vs. 11 he declared, And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and will make it desolate."
B. God keeps His promises.
1. In verse 12 he said, "You have confirmed your words which you spoke against us."
a. Jerusalem was destroyed.
b. They were taken as captives to be slaves in Babylon.
c. Now after 70 years, Babylon has been punished.
2. Daniel has been in captivity in Babylon for 69 years, the promised 70 years of captivity are just about over. I believe that a part of the purpose of Daniel's prayer was to make himself available to God for any part the Lord might want him to play in the restoration.
3. Josephus tells us that Daniel did show to Cyrus the King of Persia, the prophecy of Isaiah written approximately 150 years before the birth of Cyrus where calls him by name that he might know that Jehovah is the God of Israel, and there is no God beside Him. It was Cyrus that gave the decree that allowed all who wished to return to Jerusalem, from the places where they had been taken captive.
II. THE THINGS THAT DANIEL DECLARED ABOUT GOD.
A. Vs. 4 He was a great and awesome God.
B. Vs. 4 He was a God that kept His covenant.
C. Vs. 4 He was merciful.
D. Vs. 7 He was righteous.
E. Vs. 9 He was merciful and forgiving.
F. Vs. 14 He was righteous in all His works.
G. Vs. 15 He is the God who delivered His people out of the land of Egypt.
F. Vs. 18 He showed great mercies.
III. WHAT DANIEL SAID ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.
A. We have sinned. vs. 5,8,11,15.
1. The Bible says, whoever will confess his sin shall be forgiven, but he who seeks to cover his sin shall not prosper.
2. The Bible says that we have all sinned, there is none righteous, no not one. That if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
3. The Bible says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
B. They had committed iniquity. vs.5
1. Sin is missing the mark.
2. Transgression is a willful missing of the mark.
3. Iniquity is the sum total of the two.
C. We have done wickedly. vs.5,15
D. We have rebelled. vs.5,9
1. They had rebelled by departing from His precepts and judgments.
2. His mercies and forgiveness are greater than our rebellion.
3. The Bible says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
a. They both trace their origin to Satan.
b. Satan rebelled against God.
c. Witchcraft and Satanism are closely related.
E. We have departed from your precepts and judgments. vs.5
1. If you feel far from God, guess who moved.
2. God is always the initiator for fellowship.
3. Man is always the initiator for alienation from fellowship.
F. We have not harkened to your servants the prophets.
1. During this whole time of rebellion and subsequent defeat and captivity, the prophet Jeremiah was there faithfully warning the people and the kings to turn from their idols to the living God. He foretold the coming invasion by Babylon and their subsequent defeat.
2. They imprisoned Jeremiah, and sought to kill him.
3. Ezekiel was also prophesying during this same period, only he was in Babylon with the captives, and was also ignored.
4. Habakkuk also forewarned them of the coming Babylonian invasion because of their sin.
5. Zephaniah, joined in with a message of coming judgment, as God would utterly consume them from off the face of the land.
G. To us belongs confusion of face. vs.7
1. The idea is that our faces are blushed with embarrassment because of the shame of our guilt.
2. Eyes downcast wrinkled brow we are guilty and we have been caught.
F. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God. vs.10,14
1. God was faithful in speaking the words of warning to them through his servants the prophets.
2. Through the prophets God called them to repent and turn to him, but they did not obey.
G. They all had transgressed His law, not obeying His voice. vs.11
1. Within the law God had declared the curses that would come upon them if they forsook the covenant that He had made with them.
2. He promised that they would be scattered throughout the earth.
3. Daniel admits that now this curse has come.
H. In spite of all of the calamity, they still did not pray.
1. I think of the song that was sung in the harvest crusade last summer. When will the world see that it needs Jesus.
2. I look at the disasters that are plaguing our state, the social upheaval, the children being shot, and stabbed on the school grounds, the gangs ruling the streets, the graffiti being sprayed on the walls, the specter of rising taxes, government bureaucracy that is out of control, daily robbing us from more of our freedoms, not addressing the real problems of our society but itself becoming the greatest problem. When will the world see that they need Jesus?
3. When will the people humble themselves and pray and seek the face of God? How bad does it have to get before people wake up and pray?
I. Daniel declares that they did not pray to the Lord our God that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand His truth.
1. Sin is so blinding, it dulls the spiritual senses, what is so very obvious cannot even be seen.
2. The dark clouds of judgment are approaching but they aren't even aware.
IV. DANIEL'S PETITION.
A. It is interesting to me that he does not even begin to petition God until a full confession of sin is made, and a complete justification of the righteousness of God in all the judgments that had fallen upon the people.
B. He does not blame God in any wise for the calamities that had befallen them. We have sinned, we have transgressed, we have rebelled, you are righteous, but He is also merciful, and forgiving.
C. Let your anger and fury be turned away from Jerusalem. vs.16
D. Hear the prayer of your servant. vs 17
E. Incline your ears and hear, open your eyes and behold our desolations, and the city that is identified with your name. vs.18
1. Isaiah had declared that the hand of the Lord is not short that He cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God.
F. In verse 19 he asks for a series of things. Hear O Lord, forgive O Lord, hearken and do. Finally do not defer or wait. Do it now. Do it for your own sake, O my God, for the city and thy people are called by Thy name.
V. THE RESULT OF HIS PRAYER.
A. While he was still speaking the angel Gabriel touched him and told him that he had been dispatched to give to Daniel skill and understanding of what the future held for Jerusalem and the people of God.
B. He declared that Daniel was greatly beloved, I can certainly understand why.