By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
We do not like being honest. Even the most honest person in the world has a difficult time in being honest about their own sinfulness. We are honest with God when we confess our sins and His Lordship over all things (Romans 10:9-13). Put simply, to confess is to agree with God. When we confess our sins, we are agreeing with Him as to who we are apart from Christ. To confess that Jesus is Lord is to agree with God that He alone is Master and Lord of all things.
After seeing several remarkable visions concerning the future, Daniel is given a vision of God’s mercy and grace. Jeremiah (25:11-12) and Daniel (9:1-2) are envisioning the end of the Jews’ 70 year-long exile. Daniel repents of his sin and that of his people, confessing the Lordship of God over all things.
Confession made (Daniel 9:4-6). Daniel confesses his sin (seeking forgiveness) by appealing to God “who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands” (v. 4). Daniel confesses sin, wrong-doing, rebellion, and how God’s people had “turned away from your commands and ordinances” (v. 5).
And what was at the core of their sinful rebellion? Verse 6 states it well, “We have not listened to your servant the prophets…” God’s people sinned because they did not listen to or obey God’s Word. This is the taproot of all sin (Genesis 3). Daniel was brutally honest. We, too, must be honest if we are to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
Righteousness seen (Daniel 9:7-14). Daniel contrasts the righteousness of God with the sinful and “public shame” of God’s people. Daniel accuses God’s people of (1) “disloyalty” in the form of idolatry (v. 7), (2) disobedience to God’s law and (3) dereliction of duty to serve God and God alone (vv. 8-10). Because God’s people “turned away” from God the judgment of God had been poured out on His people (v. 11).
In fact, Daniel credits God with their Babylonian captivity. He does not give credit to the wicked kings of Babylon; their exile was the result of God’s judgment on His disobedient people (vv. 13-14).
Because of God’s righteousness He has every right to judge the sinner. We must never say, “I’m angry because I did not get what I deserved.” If we received what we deserved, we would all go immediately to hell. No wonder Daniel declared in verse 14, “for the Lord our God is righteous in all He has done.” Based upon God’s righteousness and the sinfulness of God’s people, Daniel confessed his sins and that of his people in seeking the forgiveness and mercy of God.
Forgiveness sought (Daniel 9:15-19). Just as honestly as he confessed his sins, Daniel boldly sought God’s forgiveness. He asked for God to turn away His anger/wrath (v. 16).
Further, he asked God to hear his prayers for mercy. In fact, Daniel appeals to God’s mercy “for the Lord’s sake” (v. 17). Daniel ably summed up his plea for forgiveness: “For we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion” (v. 18). Daniel cried out as we must cry out, “Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act” (v. 19). B&R