[CF Devotionals] 2007-09-17 - Daniel

Chapter 9: Part 1 ~ Installment 68

In this installment, we are not going to study the prophetic section of Chapter 9. Instead, we will instead focus on Daniel's prayer and the context of the passage. As we examine it, we will see that as a Jew, Daniel identified himself with the sins and the sufferings of Israel. He did feel a responsibility to, and a kinship with, the sins of the nation.

And as we seek applications, let's consider the fact that as believers, we are not just members of this local fellowship, but also of the Church at large. Therefore, we must ask the question: What responsibility must we accept for the failings of that body? Should not confession be a part of prayer, both for individuals and the body? Is our position similar to Daniel and Israel?

Finally, let us also examine Daniel's words as another example of Biblical prayer. As such, we can use them to help us to grow in the quality of our own prayer life and, as a result, the quality of our daily walk.

We have already seen that prayer and study were a normal and ongoing part of Daniel's life. As he had been studying the Scriptures, he read the words of Jeremiah, specifically the section dealing with the "desolation of Jerusalem," which was to last seventy years. Daniel was aware of the suffering of the people, which here include Judah, Israel, and those in Diaspora - in other words, all of historic Israel. He was also aware the day was coming when there would be an opportunity for the restoration of the City of David.

This leads to a natural question: When did the seventy years start, and when will they end? When would the people return to the land? And as we will see later, Daniel receives an immediate response from the Lord, when he experiences another vision dealing with this particular issue.

Archer has this to say regarding the time frame of the seventy years.

"Now since this episode (v.1) took place in 539 or 538 ('the first year of Darius son of Xerxes [Ahasuerus]"), less than fifty years had elapsed since the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar (587B.C.) or the destruction of the temple in 586. But for the earliest possible terminus a quo for the seventy years of exile, the year of Daniel's own captivity in Babylon (604 B. C.) would be the starting point for the seven decades. Now while 538 might be three or four years short of the full seventy, it was not too soon for Daniel to begin praying (v.3)" 1

The prayer itself can be broken down into four sections. The first is a confession of sin. The second is a recognition of God's judgment. The last two are both pleas, the first being for relief and the second to the mercy of God.

1 Archer, Jr., Gleason L., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, "Daniel," Zondervan, 1985, pg. 107.

To be continued.

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