June 23, 2020
The Bible is not just written for our inspiration and comfort. It is here to model to us what we are to do and be. To instruct us in effective living and ministry.
The prophet, Daniel, found himself in a culture and season that parallels ours in many respects. The words in Daniel, Chapter 9, give us powerful instruction on exactly what we should be doing right now.
READ YOUR BIBLE
I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. (Daniel 9:2)
The source of everything that follows in Daniel was his careful study of the Scriptures in the book of Jeremiah. It informed him, corrected him, and equipped him to accurately assess and respond to what was happening around him.
This is exactly what the Bible is designed to do. It is God-breathed and "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness so the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
In other words, if you don't read your Bible, you will not find the path of life nor be adequate for anything God has designed for you to do.
Are you reading your Bible every day, carefully and deeply listening to God's word to you and those around you so you will know how to respond and help others?
GIVE SOLEMN ATTENTION TO THE LORD
So I gave attention the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. (9:3)
We give much attention to the news, to the world's opinion about our situation. But our greatest concern should be to get in a posture to hear what God says--His evaluation--of this moment and to seek Him and Him alone.
Are you seeking, really pursuing, Him?
I prayed to the Lord my God (vs. 4)
God desires us to cry out to Him. Pray is an admission of need and the most basic expression of humility. Proud people don't pray. They vainly believe they can handle life by themselves. Why turn to the Creator? Prayer is what pleased God through Daniel’s life and moved His hand to redeem His people. There are some things God plans to do through prayer that He doesn’t plan to do any other way.
Are you fervently, unceasingly praying?
CONFESS OUR SINS
I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed ... we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments ... we have not listened to Your servants the prophets (9:4-12)
Like Nehemiah in his great prayer for the nation in Nehemiah 1, who admitted that "both I and my fathers have sinned," Daniel lays the blame for the judgment that has come squarely where it should be.
God had graciously provided for His people and they had rebelled against Him. It's just that simple. Read these verses carefully in your Bible. Dissect it and you will see the way in which we are to name our sins in prayer and confess not only our personal sins, but the sins of our nation.
Are you confessing your sins and our nations sins?
UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE GOD'S JUDGMENT
As is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice. (9:13-14)
We rarely get this. God is a God of perfect love and His judgment to His people are an expression of that love. Like pain to the human body, it is His means to show us that what we are doing is harmful and that we need to make quick and deliberate adjustments.
His judgment is all around us, seeking to bring us to our senses, but we evaluate it differently. We don't make the connection between what is happening and the judgment of God. If our assessment is not right our responses will never be right.
Are you properly evaluating the current events around you right now and helping others to do the same?
UNDERSTAND AND PROCLAIM THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE
All this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. (9:13)
There should be one response when we realize we have sinned: turning. This is repentance. It is a Spirit-wrought change of mind about our direction and a Spirit-empowered turning back to the Lord and His voice.
Are you repenting and helping others turn also?
CRY OUT FOR MERCY, FOR THE SAKE OF GOD'S GLORY
So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. (9:18-19)
Only God can save us, but He can save us. He is waiting for a humble, desperate cry. He always responds to the authentic, repentant cries of His children and sends revival.
And we must cry out for the right purpose. We should be motivated by what our rebellion is doing to His name and purposes. We must cry out not merely for our own sakes or comfort, but so God can be seen and worshipped for the great God that He is.
Are you crying out for revival and spiritual awakening for God's sake?
Look at Nehemiah, at Jeremiah, at Daniel, at Peter and Paul, and, of course most deeply, at Jesus. What Daniel does here is the prescription we must follow for our national need.
We must aggressively do the work of the church every day without fail. But if we are concerned for the larger picture of God's kingdom, we must use the means of grace that God has eternally designed, as Daniel did. We must humbly cry out, and we must do it now.
Father, we have sinned against you, personally and corporately. We humbly turn from our sins and cry out for Your mercy and compassion. Save us, Lord! Send revival to Your church and spiritual awakening to those without You so that You will be seen and known as our great, reviving, saving God!
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