I was reading the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel today and a few things struck me. Firstly, it is rooted firmly in history and speaks of historical persons and rulers. These aren’t fables or myths! Secondly, the humble heartbroken attitude of the prophet. He wasn’t presumptuous. He didn’t read about the imminent fulfillment of God’s word and become complacent. We read, in the opening of the chapter:
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
The time of fulfillment drew near, and Daniel’s response was to pray earnestly.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
He justified God in His judgments. He owned and confessed that because of the sins of God’s people, including himself, all this evil had come upon them.
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
I see a parallel in our own day, as everyone does that which is right in their own eyes and turns away from the one true God. Myself included. Iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold. Good is called bad and bad good. Sins that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago are now not only indulged in, but encouraged and lauded as somehow honorable and praiseworthy. God’s law is treated as irrelevant to the modern liberal ‘inclusive’ society. The biblical statements about sin and guilt are laughed at as merely leftover inhibitions from a distant and backward medieval past. The notion of a real personal adversary who is opposed to everything holy and true, has become a joke, though cinemas throughout the land parade all that is base and evil in the name of entertainment. So what are we to do? We ought to acknowledge our sin, as Daniel did, and come before the Lord with prayer and supplication. Then we will find what Daniel found:
O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
And though Daniel speaks about the professing people of God in his time, we can surely apply it to ourselves, as the professing Church of God in our time. All the confusing divisions, all the sin at the very heart of some of our great ‘Christian’ institutions. An unwarranted, unscriptural Papacy and priesthood. The ineffectual soft social clubs raised up to ‘get people in.’ The lack of real biblical teaching and preaching. The fact that many unbelieving people, with some justification, look upon the professing church as an irrelevance. A reproach. What a cause for prayer and supplication.
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name