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Thursday: Daniel’s Prayer — 8 Comments

  1. I particularly appreciate Daniel's intercessory prayer in Daniel 9. What I see is Daniel understanding and affirming that the 'desolations' Israel was experiencing were the inherent fruits of their poor choice/s (Daniel 9:11). While Moses had tried to encourage Israel to choose life by choosing to walk in harmony with the only way that is capable of leading to life, Israel had instead chosen to walk in the ways that God had outlined and warned would inherently lead to death/perishing (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

    The lesson proposes that Daniel also acknowledges God's 'justice'. Is God's justice the same as ours where punishment is imposed in response to transgression of a law? Or is God's justice of a much higher way - a 'justness' that gives genuine free choice but then also allows a person to 'reap the inherent consequences' of that choice? How do verses such as Daniel 9:7, 12, 14 read if we keep in mind that "the inspired writers of the Scriptures commonly credit God with doing actively that which in Western thought we would say He permits or does not prevent from happening"?* Would keeping this point of interpretation in mind perhaps result in a reading of these verses that better aligns with the sentiment expressed by Daniel throughout his prayer and especially in verses such as Daniel 9:9?

    Like yesterday, if believing in a God who serves out justice like humans do inspires your walk with God and your compassion towards others, then I would not want to take that away from you. But, if you have concerns about a God who would do this, I would encourage you that there is evidence that God's ways - including His ways of justness - are higher than (ie very different from) our human ways (Isaiah 55:8-9 principle).

    * see point 4.16 in Methods of Bible Study

  2. In a sense, we Christians are currently in exile, particularly in the western world. To a very large part we are considered to be an anachronism; something that was relevant 150 years ago but our day has passed now and we have moved on to a better understanding that does not require a supernatural being or explanation. Much of the reason for this is that Christians have behaved very badly in the past. As Seventh-day Adventists, we like to dissociate ourselves from the badly behaved Christians by calling them the papacy and apostate Christianity. We like to think that somehow we are better than them. The problem is that modernists don't make that distinction and simply bundle us all together as an irrelevant anachronism.

    It is useful to consider that we stand in the same position as Daniel. He was a Hebrew and with them, they were in exile respectively of whether they had behaved badly or not. Daniel identifies with all the Hebrews and does not make the distinction that he was better than the rest of them. Perhaps our prayer at this time should be for all of Christianity. I am not trying to be ecumenical but we need to recognise that much of our effort has been in distinguishing ourselves from other Christians, rather than recognising that:

    Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom 3:22-24 KJV

    • Your comment spurred some thoughts.

      I think we are deluding ourselves if we think that as a church we do not have sexual abuse, dysfunctional families and communities, fractured race relations and collusion with corrupt political regimes—sins seen in the papacy and apostate churches. Daniel’s prayer should be our prayer (he identified with sinners, as did Christ), and not just in the context of our parochial denomination, but for all the Christians in our sphere of influence.

      Even post moderns will see Jesus if he is in our hearts and we are transparent and real. Not every person of Jewish descent in Babylon prayed as did Daniel, but we can make the choice to pray as did he from the heart.

      Dare to be a Daniel.

  3. With my concrete, practical mind I believe Daniel was also quoting from Moses' writings found in Lev 26:1-46 which are words directly from the LORD, it summaries the Everlasting Covenant and outlines the cause and effects of worshiping (or not) the LORD alone and living in harmony with His Principles.

    The LORD outlines the blessings He will shower on them if they walk in His ways and love and serve Him. Deut 10:12-13
    What is more He promises to dwell with them as their provider and protector. Lev 26:11-12.

    However if they reject Him, He then outlines the steps He will take to get them to realize how far they have strayed from His Way.
    These are the steps:
    1)disease/pestilence and defeat by enemies
    3)wild beasts
    4)sword of enemies, pestilence & famine
    5)destruction of country & exile

    Throughout the rest of the Word when they go astray we find the trifecta - pestilence, famine & sword - repeated as being the result.

    Each time if they don't repent after each step the next one is seven times worse. (compare the comment in the last plagues - they didn't repent either)

    Whether these events are actively brought about by the LORD, or are allowed by Him, He takes responsibility for them, repeatedly saying "I will do so & so" and they are part of His Plan to get them to repent and return to Him.

    Praise the LORD in the end He says:
    Lev 26:40-42 ISV  "Nevertheless, when they confess their iniquity, the iniquity of their ancestors, and their unfaithfulness by which they acted unfaithfully against me by living life contrary to me,  (41)  causing me to oppose them and take them to the land of their enemies so that the uncircumcised foreskin of their hearts can be humbled and so that they accept the punishment of their iniquity,  (42)  then I'll remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham. I'll also remember the land.

    This sounds a lot like Daniel's prayer!!
    I love the fact that while he was still praying an angel was sent to comfort him that his repentance on Israel's behalf was accepted and to explain the vision and to reveal the promise of a Saviour to him.

  4. God gives us free choice to either obey Him or not. There are beneficial rewards and honor for obedience and “jail time” for disobedience when we break His laws. I would rather have a goldmine of blessings than suffering. God saved the Israelites from Pharaoh’s tyranny and they went back to living under Satan’s rule. In this modern day, we should use their experience as a “no no”, and ask God for forgiveness and turn to His ways or suffer the consequences for bad acting.

  5. I see the Work of the Creator on behalf of mankind as a beautiful tapestry woven by Him to show us His love represented in time and space of this world; even heaven is included in this marvelous depiction of the power of our Creator’s wisdom, justice, mercy, and grace.

    By God’s Grace, Daniel lifted up his prayer to God at the time it was most timely and needful – God's love moved his heart to cry out to Him. Daniel’s prayer was not a ritual, though he came to God every day to talk with Him about many things. This time, he came to Him to pour out his heart about that which God's love for his people caused him to feel deeply moved by – the time had come to ask God’s forgiveness for the people’s sins and iniquities, and petition Him to restore them to their homeland; pleading for the Mercy and Grace of his heavenly Father on behalf of his people – Daniel 9:16.

    Yes, the books of record made Daniel aware of the shortcomings of his people regarding God’s Covenant promises and curses, but I do not think that he looked at this with the dissecting eyes of a scholar determining factual relations between previous events, weighing guilt and shame in the balance. Daniel’s heart was always open to hear God speak to him, but this time his heart was broken by deep compassion for his people, coming to Him as their spokesman; the voice of his heart was chosen to maintain the spiritual contact with their God.

    Our Creator is still weaving to complete the tapestry of this earth and its inhabitants, providing until the end of days the hope for mankind to be saved out of the spiritual darkness of this world! If we will only perceive with our spiritual ears and eyes what the heavenly messenger relates to Daniel as the clear Word of God, His timeline and plan of our Salvation, because His word is being fulfilled right before our eyes – Christ Jesus, the Son of God and man is still with us today! Daniel 9:24-27.

  6. In keeping with Maurice’s thought regarding Christianity being an anachronism, it is not well known or understood that science has run its course over the last 150+ years and has found itself back at square one; Designer or accident/chance? Has this world and Mankind, exploded from an accidental chemical convergence sparking evolutionary life or are we here by a Designer/Creator?

    As Christians we believe the later of course. We also, particularly over the last 60 yrs ( 1960s revolution ), have become very defensive regarding Creation. Even some Adventist Universities have obfuscated on the 7 day creation story. It is not well understood by most Christians that the scientific community is being infiltrated by intelligent design believers.

    We have become defensive because Darwin’s THEORY of evolution has been the only explanation taught in schools for 60+ years, the media only spew this story and any scientist who questions it has been ridiculed for decades.

    God, as usual, has an answer. Today’s top echelon in the fields of Physics and Bio-Chemistry are are finding science leading them to “Intelligent” design. Not God mind you for most, as this would be a bridge to far; aliens possibly but where did they come from? I digress. This is NEVER talked about in the media but it is being routinely debated among the elite scientific community.

    There are two general reasons. First, NO ONE has made a chemical soup “creating” a living cell. Nor will they ever. It gets a bit complicated but suffice it to say, that enzymes ( building blocks of anything living ) can NOT pop up. They MUST be engineered/designed. In addition the DNA chain identified in the 1950s has proven to be a puzzle for evolutionary theory; to much detail to describe in this forum. Secondly, Quantum Physics first identified and explained by Albert Einstein, has made our expanding universe unexplainable. The problem is, it has a beginning, oooops! Physics experts (including the now deceased Stephen Hawking “The Godfather” of Physics) have tried to gyrate and twist various theorems to fit science. But they all fail without design.

    Hawking came up with his Multiverse Theory to explain or complex, seemingly designed universe. His theory says there are an infinite number of universes out there. And if there are an infinite number, there is a PROBABILITY of one, having the proper conditions for life. He has to go as far as infinity to have probability (LOL) but I digress again. Suffice it to say, this THEORY falls well outside the realm of science and crosses over to a metaphysically necessary attempt to explain a universe having a beginning, being spawned by other universes, a baby universe if you will.

    I’m gonna stop and suggest two books for those of you who have a further interest in this. “Undeniably”, by Douglas Axe who proved in peer reviewed literature, that an Enzyme can not pop up and create itself without being designed. This book is wonderfully written. He keeps the science understandable and philosophically speaking, I would put him up there with CS Lewis. The other book is, “The Return of the God Hypothesis”, by Stephen Meyer. This one is a tougher read for a non scientist ( like me ) but well worth the effort. Prof. Meyer does not philosophize much until the very end but he takes on the greatest scientific minds and theories and destroys them. We Christians need no longer to be defensive about creation.

  7. The beautiful thing I see in Daniels prayer is his humility. From day one of his captivity, he chose God. He remained loyal to God and obedient to Gods Law. Of all people, he had every reason to throw Israel “under the bus” and point his finger at them. But through the entire prayer he included himself in the disobedience and apostasy and pled to God on all their behalf. Reminiscent of Moses prayer. That humility, if embraced by all of Israel, would have kept them from the dire circumstances they had and still were in. That humility is what I need, along with obedience to Gods law. Micah 6:8 says it perfectly and simply.


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