Sun, Apr 08, 2018

Sweet Forgiveness

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DANIEL 9.1-19. SWEET FORGIVENESS

Daniel’s Visions:

  1. Vision #1 - Daniel 7:1- First year of King Belshazzar (~553BC)
  2. Vision #2 - Daniel 8:1- Third year of King Belshazzar (~551BC)
  3. Vision #3 - Daniel 9:23- First year of Darius the Mede (~538/539BC)
  4. Vision #4 - Daniel 10:1- Third year of Cyrus the Persian (~535/536BC)

 

 

A vision of Daniel to be interpreted by Gabriel.

Daniel 9:23    At the beginning of your pleas for mercy, a word went out, and now I have come to declare it, for you are highly esteemed, and so consider the word and understand the vision.

 

Verses 1-19 record one of the most humble and powerful prayers in Scripture.

  • We don’t get a formula to follow
  • We get to listen to a godly man confess, plead with, and thank his God.
    • Daniel 9 contains a record of the prophet’s prayer on behalf of the covenant people, Israel, and God’s response to that prayer. Primarily for this reason the covenant name, Yahweh, appears in this chapter (seven times), although it is not found elsewhere in the book. [1]

 

The timing of this vision is about the same time as Daniel’s Lions Den experience in Daniel 6.

  • Daniel is about 80 years old.

 

1 In the first year of Darius [2], the son of Ahasuerus [3], from the offspring of the Medes, who became king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans—

2 in the first year of his kingship I, Daniel, observed in the scrolls the number of the years that it was that were to be fulfilled according to the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah the prophet for the devastation(s) of Jerusalem—seventy years.

  • It was now the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede. (On the identity of this Darius see comments on 6:1.) This was 539 B.C., 66 years after Daniel had been exiled. [4]
  • Judah has been in exile since 605 B.C.
    • The 70 years of exile is almost over!
    • Daniel believed God’s inspired Word was to be interpreted plainly and literally.
      • Daniel believed God’s Word was infallible and inerrant.

Jeremiah 25:11–12

11 And all this land will become a site of ruins, a desolation, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 And then when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares Yahweh, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it an everlasting waste.

 

  • There had been three waves of captivity
    • 605 B.C. – when Daniel was kidnapped
    • 597 B.C.
    • 587 B.C.
      • Daniel couldn’t have known which captivity started the time clock. [5]

 

  • “Devastation” is plural in the Hebrew, and Wood rightly suggests that the plural expresses the intensity of the devastations suffered. [6]

 

C.H. Spurgeon:   “There are many persons, who could not be trusted to see the tip of an angel’s wing; for they would become so proud, ever afterwards, that there would be no holding them;  but he, who is fully consecrated to God, may see vision after vision, and he will make a practical use of what he sees, and try to find out something to be done, something to be repented of, something to be prayed for, something that shall be for the good of the Church of God.”   [7]

 

3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God to seek him by prayer and pleas for mercy, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes.

 

 

  • David Hocking: “It was a sign of remorse, a sign of humbling, a sign that he was nothing.  That is so foreign to us.  That isn’t the way we think at all!  Then we wonder why God doesn’t answer prayer.  Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up  (James 4:10), the Bible says.”  [8]

 

  • Noah Hutchings: “Sackcloth and ashes indicated extreme self-abasement and need for God’s mercy.  After Daniel had emptied himself of all self-glory and self-righteousness, he sought the face of the Lord God by prayer.  He ran after the Lord in prayer; he pursued the Lord to get His attention.”   [9]

 

4 And I prayed to Yahweh my God, and I made confession and I said, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, keeping the covenant and loyal love with those who love Him and with those who keep His commandments,

5 we have sinned

and we have done wrong

and we acted wickedly

and we rebelled

and have been turning aside from Your commandments

and from Your ordinances.

6 We have not listened to Your servants the prophets,

who spoke in Your name to our kings,

our princes and our ancestors

and to all the people of the land.

7 “Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord,

and on us is open shame,

just as it is this day to the people of Judah

and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem

and to all Israel, those who are near

and those who are far off in all the lands to which You have driven them, because of their infidelity which they displayed against you.

8 Yahweh,

on us is open shame,

on our kings,

on our princes,

and on our ancestors,

because we have sinned against You.

  • Isaiah said he was “undone, doomed” in the presence of God’s glory.

Isaiah 6:5–7  (NLT)

5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man.

I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips.

Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.

7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”   [10]

 

  • Reading this prayer of Daniel’s, I’m touched by God’s great love, mercy and grace he has for me!
    • Daniel speaks of his nation’s corporate sin, but he doesn’t miss his own need to confess his sins before a great God.

 

9 Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord, our God,

for we have rebelled against Him,

10 and we have not listened to the voice of Yahweh our God, by following His law which He placed before us by the hand of His servants the prophets.

  • Fathers have broken the hearts of their children for thousands of years.
  • BUT – your Father in heaven:

Ephesians 2:1–5

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and because of your many sins.

2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

3 All of us used to live that way,

following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.

By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,

5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

 

  • BTW – Your Father in Heaven is listening to you RIGHT NOW!

Psalm 116:1–2, 5  (NLT)

1 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.

2 Because he bends down to listen,

I will pray as long as I have breath!

5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!   [11]

 

  • Spurgeon: “This figure of speech seems to be that of a tender physician or loving friend, leaning over a sick man whose voice is faint and scarcely audible, so as to catch every accent and whisper.”

 

11 “And all Israel transgressed Your law and turned aside so as not to listen to Your voice, and so the curse and the oath which was written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, has been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against Him.

12 And so He has carried out His words which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring upon us a great calamity which was not done under all of heaven as it was done in Jerusalem.

13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all of this calamity has come upon us, and we have not implored the face of Yahweh our God so as to turn from our iniquities and to attend closely to Your faithfulness.

14 So Yahweh has kept watch over the calamity, and now He has brought it upon us. Indeed, Yahweh our God is righteous concerning all His works that He has done, but we have not listened to His voice.

15 “And now, Lord our God, who have brought Your people out from the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and You have made for Yourself a Name until this day — we have sinned, we have acted wickedly.

16 Lord, according to all your righteousness, please let Your anger and Your rage turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain, because through our sins and through the iniquities of our ancestors Jerusalem and Your people have become an object of mockery among all of our neighbors.

17 “And now, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy. Shine Your face upon Your desolate sanctuary for Your sake, O Lord.

  • Spurgeon: “For them, he used that bright and sparkling eye which had looked up into the fires supernal.
    For them, he used that thoughtful and enlightened mind which had studied the oracles of God.
    For them, he used those knees which were so familiar with the attitude of prayer;
    and, getting by himself alone,
    he wrestled mightily for God’s restored favor.”   [12]

 

Sanctify our sanctuary Lord!

  • Set Your church people apart for Your Holy purposes!

 

18 Incline Your ear, my God, and listen;

open Your eyes and look at our desolation

and the city that is called by Your Name, [13]

for we are not presenting our pleas for mercy before you because of our righteousness,

but rather because of Your great compassion.

  • All of our own “righteousness” is but stinky refuse before the Lord.

Isaiah 64:6

6 And we all have become like the unclean,

And all our deeds of justice like a menstrual cloth,

And we all wither like a leaf,

And our iniquities take us away like the wind.

 

Compassion:

  • 7355 רָחַם [racham /raw·kham/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 2146; GK 8163; 47 occurrences; AV translates as “… mercy” 32 times, “… compassion” eight times, “pity” three times, “love” once, “merciful” once, “Ruhamah” once, and “surely” once. 1 to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion. 1a (Qal) to love. 1b (Piel). 1b1 to have compassion, be compassionate. 1b1a of God, man. 1c (Pual) to be shown compassion, be compassionate.[14]
  • God told Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer – she would bear 3 children – her daughter was to be named “no compassion”.

Hosea 1:6–7

6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter, and he said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them.

7 But I will have pity on the house of Judah and I will save them by Yahweh their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, war, horses, or horsemen.

 

19 Lord, listen!

Lord, forgive!

Lord, pay heed and act!

You must not delay for your sake, my God;

because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Lord, listen!

  • The picture is of a person bending the ear in order to hear more clearly. God was being asked to listen intently to the prophet’s prayer (and possibly also to the insulting words being spoken about Yahweh by the heathen). The Lord was then implored to “open” (“open please!”) his eyes and observe the plight of the Jewish people and the condition of Jerusalem. [15]

 

BEHOLD – the Lord God and Creator of all this Universe is bending down right now to listen to you – to your heart’s cry, to your broken will, your passionate plea for His forgiveness.  PLEASE know this: Jesus will never turn you away!  Speak to Jesus right now – don’t wait another moment.

Here is a prayer you could speak (out loud is the best):

“Jesus, I am broken, I need to be fixed, I need to be washed of my wrong doing – PLEASE forgive me for all of my wrongdoing against You. 
I need a new start, and new heart, a clear mind and a clear spirit.

Only You can wash me of my sins – please do that now I pray.

I will purpose to never do what I have done again – please help me!

I give You my heart and soul – be my Lord and Master.”

 

[1] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 239.

[2] Darius the Mede (probably an alternative title for Cyrus) is described as the son of “Xerxes,” better rendered “Ahasuerus” (so KJV, NRSV, NASB). Ahasuerus is an approximation of the Hebrew, which in turn is an approximation of the Persian term. “Xerxes” is the Greek name. Like Darius, Ahasuerus probably was a title, not a personal name.  [Cf. D. J. Wiseman et al., Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel (London: Tyndale, 1970), 15; J. E. Goldingay, Daniel, WBC (Dallas: Word, 1989), 239.]

[3] Ahasuerus. This was the Astyages of the heathen historians; as we learn from Tobit 14:15, where the taking of Nineveh is ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar and Assuerus, who were the same with Nabopolassar and Astyages. which, or, in which he, etc.      [B. Blayney, Thomas Scott, and R.A. Torrey with John Canne, Browne, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, vol. 1 (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, n.d.), 553.]

[4] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1359.

[5] Three Periods of Seventy Years:

  1. The servitude began in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, and the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar, when the Judean kingdom passed under the Chaldean rule for 70 years (Jer. 25:1; 2Ki. 24:1-7). This period closed with the fall of Babylon through Darius the Mede (Astyages, Dan. 5:31).
  2. The captivity began with the carrying away to Babylon of Jechoniah in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar (7 years after the servitude of point 1, above, 2Ki. 24:8-16) and 11 years before Jerusalem was destroyed (Ezek. 40:1).
  3. "The desolations of Jerusalem" is a term referring to the complete destruction of Jerusalem and captivity of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in the 11th year of Zedekiah (2Ki. 24:17 -- 2Ki. 25:2; Lev. 26:32-35). The desolations of Jerusalem began about 19 years after the first siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki. 24:1-5), about 11 years after the second siege (2Ki. 24:8-16), and at the time of the third and final siege (2Ki. 24:17 -- 2Ki. 25:4).

Dake's Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

[6] L. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 233. Wood also points out that the “desolation of Jerusalem” spoke not just of the destruction of the city but of “the whole captivity situation” (p. 234).

[7] C. H. Spurgeon, “Prayer for the Church,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 48 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1902), 337.

[8] Hocking, David, Dare To Be A Daniel, Volume II, pg 66.

[9] Hutchings, Noah, EXPLORING THE BOOK OF DANIEL, pg. 202

[10] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Is 6:5–7.

[11] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Ps 116:1–2.

[12] C. H. Spurgeon, “Prayer for the Church,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 48 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1902), 338.

[13]which is called by thy name” –  Heb. whereupon thy name is called.

[14] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).

[15] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 249.