Daniel 9:5-6; Penitence in Prayer ~ 20220717 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

07/17_Daniel 09:5-6; Penitence in Prayer; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220717_dan09_5-6.mp3

Daniel is teaching us to pray. Daniel was a man of prayer, he was in a disciplined habit of prayer, and we get to listen in on his prayer in chapter 9. Daniel was studying God’s words, and it spurred him to pray. Daniel sought the face of God in prayer; he gave God his full attention. He took up an appropriate posture of outward humility before God, reminding himself that he needs the Lord more than food, his only comfort comes from God, he is nothing and deserves nothing but incineration. He acknowledges God as God, the sovereign God, the great and awesome God, the God who protects his covenant and practices ‘chesed’, steadfast love and covenant faithfulness toward all who love him and keep his commandments. Daniel’s outward posture of humility is an expression of what is in his heart.

Confessing His Sins

Daniel says in verse 20 that he is confessing his sins and the sins of his people Israel. This word ‘confess’ is an intensive word meaning to bemoan by wring the hands. Daniel is confessing his sin. Remember, not one sin of Daniel is recorded for us in the Bible, and yet Daniel is aware of his own sinfulness.

Daniel addresses YHWH as a God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. But Daniel recognizes that he and his people have not loved the Lord their God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength. They have not kept his commandments. They do not deserve his steadfast love. They have earned the covenant curses, not the covenant blessings.

In verses 5-6 Daniel uses 6 different words to describe his sin, and he repeats those words multiple times throughout his prayer, adding several other unique words describing sin. We get a pretty comprehensive understanding of sin from this passage.

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. 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.

Sinned [חָטָא chata' (chaw-taw')] cf. v.8, 11, 15; noun in v.16, 2x v.20

We have sinned, and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside ...we have not listened. The first word he uses is ‘we have sinned’. This is the common word for missing the mark. We see this word in Judges 20, talking about the warriors of Benjamin:

Judges 20:16 Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

To sin is to fall short of the goal, to hit wide of the target. God created us for a purpose, and when we don’t live up to his good designs, that is called sin. But it’s not that we were aiming for the target and our sights are just slightly off; rather we weren’t even shooting at the target at all. We turn our bows and aim our arrows at the face of the Master of ceremonies and Judge of the competition. To miss the mark is no innocent miscalculation; rather it is a willful act of rebellion in aiming for a different target altogether. Daniel repeats this verb ‘sin’ in verses 8, 11, and 15; and the noun form ‘sin’ in verse 16 and twice in verse 20. We have sinned.

Done Wrong [עָוָה `avah (aw-vaw')] noun in v.13, 16, 24

We have done wrong. This word means to twist, make crooked, or pervert. Jeremiah laments that the hand of the Lord is in judgment against him:

Lamentations 3:9 ​he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; he has made my paths crooked.

This is in contrast to the blessing of having the way cleared to go straight ahead.

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

We have done wrong. The noun form of this verb is translated ‘iniquities’ in verses 13 and 16. Not only have we missed the mark, we have perverted, twisted the straight way. We have gone astray.

Acted Wickedly [רָשַׁע rasha` (raw-shah') ] cf. v.15

We have acted wickedly. To be wicked is to do that which is morally wrong, that which is worthy of condemnation, that which justly deserves punishment. When Abraham prays for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, among whom his nephew Lot was living, he asks:

Genesis 18:23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? ...25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

There are those who are guilty of violating the moral standard and are worthy of punishment, and those who are not. It is not just to punish the innocent, and it is not just to let the guilty go unpunished.

Daniel acknowledges that there is an absolute objective standard of morality, that some things are immoral, and that God is the ultimate judge of morality. Daniel confesses that he and his people have not lived up to God’s standards. He repeats this again in verse 15. We have lived in a way that is worthy of your condemnation.

Rebelled [מָרַד marad (maw-rad')] v.9

We have rebelled. This would be a vivid word for the captives in Babylon. In 609BC Pharaoh Neco killed king Josiah put Jehoiakim on the throne in Jerusalem, requiring him to pay taxes to Egypt. But

2 Kings 24:1 In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him.

Nebuchadnezzar lay siege to Jerusalem. Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin surrendered to the Babylonians in 597BC. Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon and appointed his uncle Zedekiah as king in Jerusalem. But

2 Kings 24:20 ...Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem for two years, and in 586BC Zedekiah attempted to flee by night.

2 Kings 25:6 Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. 7 They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon.

A conquered nation was required to pay tribute to the conquering king. A failure to give what was due was considered a treasonous act of rebellion.

God is our king. But we are continually shifting our allegiances in other directions. When we fail to give God what is rightly due to him, we rebel against him. Daniel repeats this word again in verse 9. We have rebelled against him.

Turning Aside [סוּר cuwr (soor)] cf. v.11

We have rebelled against the Lord by ‘turning aside from your commandments and rules’. God gave his people instructions to live by, not suggestions or recommendations, but commandments. When Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s ten commandments,

Exodus 32:7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”

God warned Israel not to intermarry with those who worship false gods,

Deuteronomy 7:4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

Daniel uses this word again in verse 11. God’s people had missed the mark, they had made God’s straight paths crooked, they had lived in a way worthy of condemnation, they refused to give God his due, and they ignored God, turning their back on him and giving their attention to other gods.

Not Listened [שָׁמַע shama` (shaw-mah')] cf. v.10, 11, 14

Daniel 9:6 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.

We have not listened. This is not something a hearing aid can fix. The issue is not not hearing. The issue is hearing and not doing, not responding. God sent his servants the prophets. They spoke God’s warnings to everyone, small and great. It was not a lack of information, not a lack of auditory stimulation; this was a lack of response. They heard and did nothing. This word shows up in verses 10, 11 and 14, where it is translated ‘we have not obeyed the voice of YHWH our God; refusing to obey your voice; we have not obeyed his voice.’ They heard, and they made a choice not to heed. We turned our back on God and plugged our ears to his voice.

v.7 Treachery [מַעַל ma`al (mah'-al)] committed against you

In verse 7 Daniel refers to ‘the treachery that they have committed against you’ This word ‘treachery’ is used in Numbers 5 of a wife who ‘goes astray and breaks faith with’ her husband. In 1 Chronicles 5 this word is applied to those from Manasseh who ‘broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them’ 1Chr.5:25). We have broken faith and committed treachery by being unfaithful to God, allowing our hearts and affections to wander to other gods, to worship other things.

v.11 Transgressed [עָבַר `abar (aw-ɓar')] your Law

In verse 11 Daniel says Israel has transgressed your law. They crossed over the line God had given. They violated his covenant, his commandment. What God expressly forbade is what they did.

v. 13 not Entreated [חָלָה chalah (chaw-law')] the Favor [פָּנִים paniym (paw-neem')] of YHWH our God

In verse 13, Daniel confesses that although they had done all these things, they have not entreated the favor of YHWH our God. They have sinned, but they have not sought the face of God.

Confession Positions us to receive God’s Grace

Notice what Daniel does not do. He does not make excuses, he does not attempt to point out that others (like the Babylonians) are worse sinners; He doesn’t justify that they behaved the way they did because they were in captivity and were forced and felt abandoned and had no choice. Rather, he admits it, he owns it, he makes no excuses for it. He agrees with God; sides with God’s just judgment in declaring a verdict against himself.

We have missed the mark, we have perverted your straight paths, we have done that which is morally condemnable, we have rebelled and refused to give God his due. We have turned away from the Lord and toward lesser things, we have stopped our ears and ignored your warnings and instructions. We have wandered in our affections, we have crossed your boundaries, we have failed to seek your face.

Just how bad are we? We are about as bad as we can be. What do we deserve? The wages of sin is death. We have earned your displeasure, your wrath. Daniel is the defendant, but he argues as the prosecution that he is deserving of nothing but God’s just wrath. Why this depressing focus on how bad we are? Why the laundry list of our faults, failures and flaws? Why focus on all this negativity?

This is bad news. We don’t deserve anything good. But Daniel knows who his God is. He is turning his face to seek the Sovereign God, YHWH the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. Daniel is not coming seeking justice, defending himself and his people. He is not seeking justice, he is seeking mercy from a God who is rich in mercy. By agreeing with God about just how bad he is, highlighting his brokenness and need, he is positioning himself to receive God’s abundant mercy that is only ever given to sinners.

The religious leaders questioned Jesus’ association with sinners.

Matthew 9:12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Daniel in effect is crying out ‘Doctor! Over here! Look at this laundry list of symptoms. This is a really bad case. This is so desperate, so urgent, it needs your immediate intervention. We are terminal and don’t have much time left and need to go to the top of your list. By confessing his sin, Daniel is agreeing with God’s diagnosis of his condition and positioning himself to be a recipient of God’s amazing grace. 1 John 1 says

1 John 1:5 ...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ...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.

Confession is simply agreeing with God about our desperate condition. We really are as bad as he says we are. Our condition is terminal. We have no hope outside of him. We really do need his life saving rescue. If we confess our sins, if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin; he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


2022.07.17 Sermon Notes

Daniel 9:5-6; Penitence in Prayer

Daniel is confessing his sins

Daniel 9:20

-we have sinned – missed the mark

Daniel 9:5, 8, 11, 15, 16, 20; Judges 20:16

-we have done wrong – made crooked the straight

Daniel 9:5, 13, 16, 24; Lamentations 3:9; Proverbs 3:6

-we have acted wickedly – we deserve punishment

Daniel 9:5, 15; Genesis 18:23-25

-we have rebelled – failed to give what is due

Daniel 9:5, 9; 2 Kings 24:1, 20; 25:1-7

-turning aside – giving attention to other gods

Daniel 9:5, 11; Exodus 32:7-8; Deuteronomy 7:4

-we have not listened – we heard and did nothing

Daniel 9:6, 10, 11, 14

-committed treachery against you – broke faith

Daniel 9:7; Numbers 5:12-13; 1 Chronicles 5:25

-we have transgressed – crossed the line

Daniel 9:11

-we have not entreated the favor of YHWH

Daniel 9:13

*confession positions us to receive God’s grace

Matthew 9:12-13; 1 John 1:5-9


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