Book of Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 Part 1
Lessons from a legend
By I Gordon
A few studies back in the Daniel series we looked at the lessons that could be learned from the life of Nebuchadnezzar. I think I called it ‘lessons from a loon’. Well, I don’t think, I know that was the title. In contrast, this chapter is lessons from the great saint Daniel and it’s appropriately called lessons from a legend. As we shall see in this chapter, even heaven thought of Daniel as a man ‘highly esteemed’ and to the best of my knowledge there is nothing negative recorded in the Holy Scripture about this man.
Now this study will focus on Daniel’s intercessory prayer for his people Israel and we’ll look at verses 1-19. The next study will be about the amazing prophecy that Daniel was given in response to his prayer. But don’t jump ahead! The prophecy may be more scintillating but always remember that it is in answer to Daniel’s prayer… so let’s have a look at this prayer and see what we can glean from it for our own life.
Daniel’s study and action
Daniel 9:1-3 “In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”
So here is how it all started… with Daniel reading the words of the prophets! The year is 538BC and Daniel is a young sprightly 80ish year old. But he is still looking to see what he can learn from God’s word. And he notices something… something important! He notices that Jeremiah gives the amount of time that the Jews would be exiled in Babylon. To be specific, Daniel would have noticed the two following passages:
Jer 25:8-12 “Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations… This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the LORD.”
Jer 29:8-14 “Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you… They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity…”
There are two things that stand out from this:
Daniel’s awesome prayer of forgiveness
Daniel 9:4-10 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. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.”
Now there are a few things that stand out to me in this prayer.
How do you judge where God’s people are at?
Daniel 9:11-14 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 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. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
There are two points that I want to focus on in this part of the prayer.
God and His people are one
Daniel 9:15-19 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
In the last part of the prayer Daniel moves from confession to supplication. There are two related points that I would like to make here:
So what about God’s people, the Church, today? Is God’s name glorified by what the world sees of the church? When another Pastor is caught in adultery… when the world watches and sees that that the only thing televangelists are interested in saving is $’sss… does not the name of the Lord suffer? If the world watches you (and if it knows you are a Christian then it does!) what does it see? Does your life draw or repel those from coming and knowing the Lord?
Daniel’s action and prayer is that of a godly man. There is no disputing that. We have seen that he started by reading the word of God and that was the basis (and only true measure) for assessing the condition of his people. Though he himself was separate from their actions, Daniel fully identified himself with their sin as he interceded on their behalf. As he prayed, he used ‘we’, ‘us’ etc 33 times to associate himself with the sins of Israel. We saw also that his prayer and supplication was based on the mercy and compassion of God. I believe we can see something of our own condition in the actions of the wayward Israelites and the need to search our own hearts is ever real. We need to guard against being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and from drifting away from our first love.
So would such a godly prayer be answered? You bet it would… In bucket loads! In fact, I don’t think even Daniel would have believed God’s response to his prayer as we shall see in the next study.
|Bible Studies in the Daniel Series|
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 1: Stranded in Babylon
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 2: Faith under pressure and the God of the impossible
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 2 p2: A vision of things to come
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 3: When things get hot
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar and the tree of doom!
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 4 p2: Nebuchadnezzar - Lessons from a loon!
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 5: Ichabod and the writing is on the wall
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 5 p2: The Precarious Position of the Unbeliever
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 6: Lunch with Lions
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 7: The Times of the Gentiles - The Earthly Scene
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 7 p2: The Times of the Gentiles - The Heavenly Scene
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 8: Gods Declaration of the End... From the Beginning
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9: Daniel - Lessons from a Legend
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 p2: Daniel's 70 Weeks P1
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 p3: Daniel's 70 Weeks P2
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 10: Lifting the Veil
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 11: A Tale of Three Madmen
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 12: How to Shine like the Stars
 Oh to be
Jeremiah! Called by God as a 20 year old to preach and prophesy to bring
 In like manner, there are two things that the New Testament says act like an anchor for our soul… The first are the promises of God and the second is the fact that it is impossible for God to lie. Check out Heb 6:16-20. This is our anchor that keeps us from crashing on the rocks when the storms of life arise.
 Maybe you have been
saying things like “God doesn’t feel that close anymore”, “I’m just going
through the motions and I don’t seem to have the same passion for the things of
God anymore”, “I just feel dry… a bit dead… I don’t seem to have that first
love for the Lord like I did”. If that’s you, what do you think you should do?
What do you think Jesus would tell you to do? The reason I ask is because I was
reading the messages to the churches in Revelation again the other day and the
above thoughts and comments would have been heard in the
 Because I found these amusing, here are a few real excuses written in accident reports:
5. I hit a stationary truck that was coming in the other direction
4. An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my truck and vanished.
3. In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
2. The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go – so I ran him over.
The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path
when it hit me.
 A read an email a while back that this prayer reminded me of. Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new sessions of the Kansas Senate. This was his prayer:
Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good,," but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess:
We have ridiculed
the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the Name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The response was immediate with a number of legislators walking out in protest. In the space of six weeks his church logged more than 5,000 phone calls but only 47 of those calls responded negatively. Wright later said “I thought I might get a call from an angry congressman or two but I was talking to God, not them. The problem I guess is that you are not supposed to get too specific when talking about sin.”
 Just thinking of the age in which we live and how people think nowadays. We live in a generation that is openly taught to esteem itself… to love ourselves… to promote ourselves… declare positive things about ourselves. Hence we don’t like to take the blame for things. And that can carry over to our Christianity. In our propensity to blame others we can even blame God. Daniel knew that God was righteous but shame on us. I think sometimes when we are going through difficulties and wondering why that is, we can reverse the truth and think ‘well, I’ve been doing everything right, living a good God-honouring life and all I get is this! I’ve been righteous but shame on you God. Shame on you!’ Obviously we don’t exactly get up on the church stage and give that kind of ‘testimony’ but the thoughts could still be there. If you have thought that then I suggest that Daniel was actually correct in who was righteous and who had shame!
 Went swimming in a river last summer and it had a current that was deceptively strong. As you just relaxed and looked at everyone else around you, it was hard to grasp how fast you were moving (or that you were moving at all!) But if you set your gaze upon a fixed reference point it became very noticeable how quickly you were cruising along. It is no different for Christians and the church. Fix your reference on the world (which is sliding as well) and you won’t notice the pace of decline. Fix it on God’s word which is constant and the current state of the church can be judged.
 Please have a read
of Jer 2:1-13. It starts with God recounting the devotion of His people, His
bride, in their youth. It ends with the climax of the issue –
““My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
The sin of
I broke my hand in
four places a few months back and one thing I had to learn the hard way is that
when something is out of alignment the surgeon often has to cause a lot of pain
before it can be set back in a position where it can heal correctly. In some
cases bones have to be re-broken before they can heal properly. Well,