Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 9

Outline and Background - Daniel 9

Prompting of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:1-3

Particulars of Daniel's -Prayer  Daniel 9:4-15

Petition of Daniel's Prayer  - Daniel 9:16-19

Power of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:20-23

The Seventy Sevens - Daniel 9:24

The Coming of Two Princes - Daniel 9:25-27

Decoding of the Seventy Sevens

The Anointed One Cut Off

Application of Daniel 9

Particulars of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:4-15

Daniel models the powerful prayer of a humble person. He reveals how a true man of God approaches the Sovereign God of the Universe on behalf of his nation. His prayer should be read and studied in light of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God gave specific instructions on praying for one’s nation in the time of Solomon. Daniel followed God’s instructions in his intercessory prayer, praying on behalf of his people and their land. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Daniel 9:4-19, two sides to prayer are present, man’s part and God’s part as illustrated by the following chart.

Intercession for One’s Nation

Man’s Part

COVENANT RELATIONSHIP: “If my people, who are called by my name” indicates there must be a covenant relationship with God (cf. Daniel 9:4b).

CONTRITE HEART: “Will humble themselves” is to approach the Lord with a repentant spirit (cf. Daniel 9:3).

CONSULT GOD: “And pray” is to beseech God first and foremost (cf. Daniel 9:4a).

CONFESSION OF SIN: “Seek my face” requires confession (cf. Daniel 9:4c-16).

CHANGE OF WAYS: “And turn from their wicked ways” is the act of repentance (cf. Daniel 9:11).

God’s Part

COMMUNICATION CONNECTION: “Then will I hear from heaven” is the assurance that God will give ear to prayer and hear it (cf. Daniel 9:17-18a).

COMPASSIONATE RESPONSE: “And will forgive their sin” indicates that God will be merciful (cf. Daniel 9:18b).

COVENANT ACTION: “And will heal their land” indicates God is obligated under His covenant promises to act when His people respond this way (cf. Daniel 9:19).

Daniel combines covenant and love in “His covenant of love” to define why God is great and awesome. Love (dox hesed) is best translated as “steadfast-loving-kindness.” The combination of Hesed and His covenant is equivalent to saying, “God is faithful,” a fact that saturates this prayer from its beginning to its end. Certainly, Daniel's heart was beating in tune with Jeremiah 29:12-14 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong.

It is a theological error to believe that God unconditionally loves us and will keep His promises of blessing, no matter what we do. The blessings of the Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic and New Covenants each carry the obligation of love, which Jesus has defined, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

While God’s greatness exalts Him above man, it also brings Him near to those who love and obey Him. There are at least seven truths about God in Daniel’s prayer.

1. He is a great God.
2. He is an awesome God to be feared.
3. He keeps His covenants with steadfast-loving-kindness to those loving Him.
4. He is a righteous God.
5. He is a God of judgment.
6. He is a God of mercy and forgiveness.
7. He is a God who acts.

Daniel’s prayer manifests three steps to receiving the blessing of God:

1. Prayer and confession of sin
2. Turning from iniquity
3. Understanding and obeying truth

Daniel records that “I prayed to (Yahweh) my ('elohiym, God),” yet he began his prayer “O (adonai, Lord);” thereby he has utilized the three primary Hebrew words for the Divine. The prophet recognized his own covenant relationship with God when he said, “Yahweh’s my God.” When he prayed on behalf of his people, he did not begin with the covenant Name of Yahweh since the Jews were outside the covenant relationship at that time. Therefore, confession of sin
immediately followed the hallowing of God’s name.

With the exception of Christ, Joseph and Daniel are the most spotless (purest) characters of the Bible. Yet, Daniel identifies himself with the sin of his people. The solidarity of the nation is all-inclusive—the righteous and the unrighteous—have sinned and done wrong. Consider the verbs that Daniel employed to describe their woeful condition.

Hebrew words for sin

He acknowledged what Yahweh had said about Israel through the prophets. The Biblical meaning of the word “confess” is to agree with God. That is the way to understand the term “confess” in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

No excuses, no skirting the facts, just an outright declared recognition of iniquity and trespasses, which is what God requires to forgive sin. Hence, a large portion of Daniel’s prayer contains specific acknowledgments of unrighteousness. He confessed sins of commission and omission, not by the rulers alone but by all Israel. He acknowledged the nation’s failure to obey the Scriptures and its failure to seek the favor of Yahweh in prayer—the two things that had ultimately brought the disaster upon them (verses 13-14).

He acknowledged that sin is wrongdoing, wickedness, rebellion, and a turning away from God’s commands and law. Sin is the outcome of not listening to God and obeying Him. Like Paul, Daniel discovered from reading the Law of Moses and the prophets that all fall short of the glory
of God.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one“ (Romans 3:10-12; cf. Isaiah 53:6).

God’s law exposes the fact that all are sinners (cf. Romans 7:12-13). Therefore, Daniel confessed that the nation of Israel is one hundred percent at fault. There were no complaints like in Job. God is right and just in His actions. The nation’s rebellion had compelled God to bring the promised curses on His people and His land (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Leviticus 26:39-45). For instance, Yahweh had predicted through Moses in Leviticus 26:33-34:

I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

Consequently, the writer of Chronicles recorded that the Babylonian captivity was a result of the Israelites not observing the sabbath rests. Over a period of 490 years, the land had missed 70 rests as the Israelites continuously cultivated the land. Significantly, the time marker of the vision that follows Daniel’s prayer is “seventy sevens” or 490 years. Counting back 490 years from 586 B.C., one arrives at a time prior to the monarchy, known as the period of the Judges. It appears that the kings did not enforce the sabbath rests for the land; so God took what was due His land.

The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah (2 Chronicles 36:21).

Daniel acknowledged in His prayer that the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity were of God.

You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.

What had been done to Jerusalem? Thirty months (two and one-half years) of siege by the Babylonians had brought starvation, cannibalism, and then the total destruction of Jerusalem. It was a great disaster!

Daniel believed in God’s sovereignty, yet he understood the free will of man. He did not sit back on his recliner and wait for the completion of the seventy years. It might be four years off or even twenty years depending upon when God began counting. He immediately did something about it—he prayed for God to act and not to delay!

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Experiencing Exodus

Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

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Life of the Apostle Paul

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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