Daniel 9:3-19; Daniel the Mediator~ 20220619 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

06/19_Daniel 09:3-19; Daniel the Mediator; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220619_dan09_3-19.mp3

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Daniel was studying the prophecy of Jeremiah. He recognized God is sovereign over history, that God establishes kings and removes kings, that God always keeps his word. Jeremiah 25 and 29 predict 70 years to fill up the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel had been carried off captive in 605 BC by Nebuchadnezzar. Now in 538 BC Daniel had been in Babylon for 67 years. The temple lay in ruins for the last 48 years. Babylon had now fallen to the Medo-Persians under Cyrus the Great.

Daniel is reading his Scriptures, the word of the LORD, and it drives him to pray. We can learn much from Daniel’s prayer. Daniel shows us the purpose of prayer, how to pray, what to pray, he teaches us how to pray in line with the Holy Scriptures and the will of God, he teaches us how prayer connects with the absolute sovereignty of God, he teaches us the basis for our requests and how to ask rightly. We will look at some of these things in the coming weeks.

But before we do, I want to step back and look at who Daniel was and the context of this prayer in the book of Daniel.

The Integrity of Daniel

We were introduced to Daniel back in chapter 1 as one of the

Daniel 1:4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace...

Daniel’s name means ‘God is Judge’ or ‘God will Judge’. He is given a pagan name, a pagan education, assigned to eat the king’s food and wine, but

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,

In chapter 2, all the wise men of Babylon are sentenced to be executed for failing to tell the king his dream and its interpretation, but Daniel intercedes and he and his friends pray and ‘seek mercy from the God of heaven’ (2:18). Daniel gives God all the glory, and saves all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel is absent from chapter 3, but his three friends refuse to serve the gods of Babylon or bow to the golden image the king has set up, even when it will cost them their lives.

In chapter 4, Daniel shows a selfless love for the pagan king; he is grieved by the king’s dream, wishing it applied to his enemies. He warns the king of the danger of his pride, counseling him to repent and practice righteousness and mercy.

Daniel is called late to the immoral and blasphemous banquet of Belshazzar in chapter 5, as a last resort to interpret the handwriting on the wall. Daniel’s reputation, according to the queen mother, is that ‘in him is the spirit of the holy gods; ...light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, ... an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel’ (5:11-12).

Daniel interprets the writing, but not before first rebuking the king for his pride and his failure to learn from the past;

Daniel 5:22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

In chapter 6 we see Daniel with such flawless integrity that when because of jealousy:

Daniel 6:4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

Daniel has such impeccable integrity, that the only thing his spiteful enemies can do is outlaw prayer.

Daniel 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.

Even when prayer became illegal, at the cost of being thrown to the lions, Daniel continued to faithfully offer thanksgiving to his God. The next morning Daniel testified to the king:

Daniel 6:22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

Daniel was found blameless before God. That is a staggering claim.

Chapter 7 recounts Daniel’s dream vision of the four kingdoms represented as terrifying beasts rising up from the sea. No less than 6 times in this chapter the people of God are referred to as ‘saints’ or ‘holy ones’. They are the saints of the Most High. The saints are persecuted, even overcome by the wicked kindoms of this world. There is no reason given as to why they are persecuted, but ultimately the saints will be vindicated and receive the kingdom forever and ever.

Again in the vision of chapter 8 the people of God are persecuted by a coming evil tyrant. God’s people are pictured as ‘stars’ or hosts of heaven in verse 10, and in verse 24 they are again called ‘the people who are the saints’ or ‘holy ones’.

Even Daniel’s contemporary and fellow captive in Babylon, although deported 8 years later in 597 BC; Ezekiel, in chapter 14:14, 20 refers to Daniel as a righteous man, in company with Noah and Job.

Daniel was found blameless before God and also before the king. There was no error or fault found in him. He was found faithful. He resolved not to defile himself. Even at risk of his own life, he would not stop doing the good that he ought to do. The persecuted people of God are pictured as saints, holy ones, the host of heaven, stars shining in the heavens. This context is what makes Daniel’s prayer so startling.

Daniel’s Confession of Sin

Let’s read his prayer with this context in mind.

Daniel 9:3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 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. 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14 Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

Based on what we know of righteous Daniel, how can he pray this? Daniel made confession. ‘We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled; we have not listened. We have sinned against you. We have sinned, we have done wickedly. Daniel says in verse 20:

Daniel 9:20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God,

The Patience of God

Daniel says ‘I was confessing my sin and the sin of my people.’ This makes sense of the context of Daniel. This answers the question as to why the saints, God’s holy people are in exile if they had done nothing wrong. They are called holy, but they are not holy; they are sinners, wicked rebellious people who persistently refused to listen to the repeated warnings of a holy God. God is exceedingly patient. Over hundreds of years God had warned them, and finally, after their persistent rebellion, God sent them into exile. As Peter says:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The Lord is patient, but his patience will not last forever. He is also just, and he will punish sin. His saints, those sinners he graciously called by his name, are in exile because they are hard hearted rebels who persistently sin against their God and need his loving discipline.

None is Righteous

I was confessing my sin and the sin of my people.’ This also answers the question ‘was Daniel a sinner?’ The Bible says ‘none is righteous, no not one. ...All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom.3:10, 23); when Daniel prayed, he was acutely aware of his own sins and he confessed them before his God. Blood bought saints continue to sin, and we need daily to confess our sins.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Daniel confesses his sin because he was a sinner like you and me. He was daily in need of God’s grace.

Daniel the Mediator

The Bible is brutally honest about the sins of its heroes; Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob. Have you read the story of Samson? Even David, a man after God’s own heart. Peter, James and John. The Bible tells it like it really is. Real people with real sins, real flaws, real failures. But not one sin, not one failure of any kind is recorded of Daniel. I think there’s a reason that no sins of Daniel are recorded and yet he confesses his sins and the sins of his people. Daniel is meant to give us a picture of Jesus. Peter says of Jesus:

1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Daniel has no sins of his own recorded, yet he takes the sins of his people as his own and confesses them. He owns the guilt, he feels the shame, he is willing to undergo the just consequences of the sins of his people. In this he is a picture of Jesus.

Isaiah says of Jesus:

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 ​But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 ​All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ... 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 ...he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Daniel is a pointer to Jesus who would indeed stand in our place and take our sins on himself. Daniel makes intercession for the transgressors as if he himself was the transgressor.

Like so many people in Daniel’s day, we are oblivious to our situation. We often aren’t aware of our guilt, we don’t know we need to be rescued, we aren’t seeking forgiveness, we don’t even think to confess our sins to God. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). But Daniel is alive to God and sensitive to the Spirit. He is acutely aware of the offense of sin and grieves over it, making intercession for many.

Throughout his life, Daniel meticulously kept God’s covenant, resolving not to defile himself, habitually humbling himself before God morning, noon and night. But in this prayer, he identifies himself with his people as a covenant breaker, deserving of the curses of the covenant.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Paul says in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Like the battle of David and Goliath, one man stands in place of all the people. We are helpless, hopeless, and afraid. We stand on the sidelines and watch him fight our battle for us. His victory is our victory. We walk out into that victory.

Daniel acts as the one righteous Israelite, standing in the gap, mediating between God and his people, interceeding on their behalf.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.


2022.06.19 Sermon Notes

Daniel 9:3-19; Daniel the Mediator

Daniel 1:8 ...Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself…

Daniel 6:4 ...they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.

Daniel 6:22 ...I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

Daniel: ‘I was ...confessing my sin’

Daniel 9:20

God is patient toward you

2 Peter 3:9-10

None is righteous, no not one

Romans 3:10, 23

No sin of Daniel is recorded, pointing us to Jesus

1 Peter 2:22-24

Daniel assumes the place of a sinner

Isaiah 53:4-6, 11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:21

Daniel confesses himself a covenant breaker

Galatians 3:13

Daniel mediates as the one righteous Israelite

1 Timothy 2:5-6


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org