Daniel 9:11-14; Context of Prayer ~ 20220731 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

07/31_Daniel 09:11-14; Context of Prayer; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220731_dan09_11-14.mp3

We are listening in and learning from Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9. His prayer was stirred by his meditation on Scripture. His primary pursuit was to seek the Lord; not God’s gifts but God himself. He gave the Lord his face, his full attention.

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.

His prayer was accompanied by a posture of humility before God, reminding himself that God is more necessary than food, more comforting than clothing, that he is life and outside of him is only death and ashes. He comes to the God who is, not as he imagines him to be. He is the sovereign Lord, the great and awesome God, the self-existent I AM, YHWH, the covenant keeping God who overflows in steadfast love and faithfulness. Daniel allows God to define himself.

And he comes in penitent contrition, agreeing with God that they have missed the mark, aimed for the wrong target, twisted God’s straight paths, lived in a way that justly deserves condemnation and punishment. But this is no passive failure as if they had tried their best and just come up short; no, they have lived in open rebellion against God. They have turned aside from God’s good commandments and rules to follow their own path, as if they knew better than God. And they have refused to listen and respond when God sent persistent repeated warnings through his servants the prophets who spoke in his name.

He highlights the contrast in prayer; God is fully in the right, absolutely righteous; that is his identity. But our identity is shame of face. We are publicly disgraced, humiliated, scorned, mocked, and it is what we deserve. We ought to be ashamed. From greatest to least our sin is against God, and we deserve the shame we experience because our treachery, our sin, our rebellion is all against the Lord.

Daniel 9:7 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.

To the Lord belongs righteousness, but to us shame of face; to us belongs shame of face, but to the Lord our God belong mercies and pardons. Daniel seeks refuge in the character of God; he is not only just and righteous altogether; he is also abundantly merciful; eager to extend multiplied pardons to sinners like us.

Context; Whole Bible is For Us but not To Us

Daniel 9:11 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.

Context is key. It is essential that we understand the context of this prayer, that we understand who prayed it, what the circumstances were, and how this relates or doesn’t relate to us. It is so important that we understand the context of what we are studying so that we don’t mis-apply it. The whole Bible is for us, but the whole Bible is not to us. Paul says that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable ...for training in righteousness (2Tim3:16), but the Pharisees, and even Satan use (or we should say twist) the Scriptures and apply it in ways it was never meant to be applied. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in John 5 for their misuse of Holy Scripture.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

The Bible from start to finish is meant to point us to Jesus, that we come to him to receive from him the free gift of eternal life.

Covenant Context; Israel Under the Law

So let’s take a minute to orient ourselves to the context of Daniel 9. In verse 2 we see that Daniel is searching the Scriptures to understand what God has said about the end of the desolations of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had asserted his power over Jerusalem and took many of the nobility, including Daniel, captive in 605BC. He came again and deported the bulk of the people in 597BC. He returned to crush rebellious Jerusalem in 586BC and lay waste to the temple. In verses 11-14 Daniel prays as a representative of Israel, he mentions the Law of Moses, the curse and the oath attached to the law, and that the situation in Jerusalem is a result of Israel’s disobedience.

God had made specific promises to Israel. He had made a covenant agreement with Israel. When God rescued Israel out of Egypt, in Exodus 19,

Exodus 19:3 ...The LORD called to [Moses] out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.

This is written for us, for our learning, but it is not written to us. It is to Israel. We are not Israel. In chapters 20-23 God outlines his covenant commandments, his ten commandments, and the rules and regulations and festivals he expected of them, his chosen people, Israel, and then in Exodus 24

Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”

Exodus 24: 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

In response to their covenant commitment to obedience, God said:

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. ... 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

Exodus 29:45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

God was entering in to a covenant relationship with his people, and he laid out the expectations, his commandments and rules that they were required to follow. Israel accepted God’s terms of the covenant. But Exodus 32 was the golden calf incident where before Moses even came down the mountain with the covenant documents, Israel had broken all his commandments.

Exodus 32:8 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!’”

Paul points us back to Israel in 1 Corinthians 10 and says:

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. ... 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

These things happened to them, but they were written for us. In Exodus 33 God threatened to destroy his rebellious people, but Moses prayed for them. God being abundantly gracious and merciful, forgave them, and in Exodus 34 God renewed his covenant with his people.

The terms of the covenant demanded that Israel obey fully, and there were blessings promised in response to obedience, as well as curses in consequence of disobedience. These are outlined in Deuteronomy 27-28.

Deuteronomy 27:1 Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today.

Deuteronomy 28:1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. ... 15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Daniel understood the covenant context he was living in. He understood that Israel had transgressed God’s law, turned aside, and refused to obey God’s voice, so the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses had been poured out on them because of their sin against him.

His Word Confirmed

In verse 12 Daniel affirms that God has confirmed his words. Every word of God proves true (Prov.30:5). God always keeps his word. But this is not a good thing for God’s disobedient people. The wages of sin is death. We reap what we sow. Much of God’s words are words of warning. When we are disobedient, God’s words stand against us. God is faithful to his word, and this means great calamity that God brought upon his people. God said it and he will bring it about. He confirmed his words by bringing great calamity on his rebellious people.

Even in Deuteronomy 29, Moses saw their stubbornness and anticipated that their hearts would turn away, and that the curses of the covenant and great calamity would come on them.

Deuteronomy 29:24 all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ 25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. 27 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, 28 and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’

There is comfort for God’s people even in this. We can count on God do do what he says. Israel could look around at what had happened to them, and look at God’s word and affirm ‘God has confirmed his words. He has done what he promised he would do. Even the calamity he has brought upon us is evidence of his faithfulness.’ God confirmed his words, he is righteous in all the works he has carried out against us.

God’s Abundant Mercy

But Daniel understood that God is merciful still. Moses prophesied:

Deuteronomy 30:1 “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.

Daniel was an Israelite in captivity who was calling to mind God’s word, was seeking to obey his voice with all his heart and with all his soul; he was seeking God’s face, God’s mercy and restoration. He was longing to see the end of the desolations of Jerusalem and a return of God’s people Israel to the land God promised to give to them.

Use and Application For New Covenant Believers

We are not Israel. I am a Gentile follower of the Jewish Messiah. Even in Romans 11, Paul, an Israelite, descended from the tribe of Benjamin, proclaims the good news about Jesus to Gentiles, “in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them” (Rom.11:14). In Romans 15, he encourages the Gentiles who have shared in the spiritual blessings of Israel to serve the Jewish believers tangibly by meeting their physical needs (15:27). Although we have truly been made one in Christ (Eph.2:14, Gal.3:28), Paul still recognizes a distinction without division.

What can we learn from Daniel, a representative of Israel, under the law, under the covenant given to Moses, enduring the covenant curses for disobedience? How do we as New Testament, New Covenant believers, those who are not under law but under grace, make use of this example prayer of Daniel? We are those who according to Romans 2:12 have sinned without the law, and will perish without the law, because our conscience condemns us. Just as Israel who sinned under the law was dependent on God’s mercy, we who have sinned without the law are dependent on God’s mercy given through Jesus.

And if Israel, who lived under the crushing weight of the law, had hope in God’s abundant mercy, how much more can we, looking back on the grand demonstration of God’s justice and love at the cross of our Lord Jesus, take hope in God’s abundant mercy extended freely toward sinners? If Daniel had grounds to hope in God’s gracious character and seek his face for mercy and forgiveness, how much more us? We of all people ought to be those who: ‘entreat the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth’ (v.13)

If God was careful to confirm his word and keep his covenant with Israel, how much more will he honor the New Covenant which was purchased with the blood of his dear Son? God in his mercy has made us sufficient to be ministers of a New Covenant, not of the letter that kills, but of his Spirit, who gives life.


2022.07.31 Sermon Notes

Daniel 9:11-14; Context of Prayer

Context is key; the whole Bible is written for us,

but the whole Bible is not written to us

2 Timothy 3:15-16; 1 Corinthians 10:6-11

The Scriptures are meant to point us to Jesus

John 5:39-40

The context is God’s covenant with Israel

Exodus 19:3-8; 24:3, 7-8; 25:8, 22; 29:45-46; 32:8

-requirement: obedience to all his commands

Deuteronomy 27:1; 28:1-2, 15

-the reward for obedience: blessings

Deuteronomy 28:1-2

-the consequences for disobedience: curses

Deuteronomy 28:15; 29:24-28

Even in judgment, God is merciful

Deuteronomy 30:1-3

Gentiles are not Israel; distinction without division

Romans 11:1-14; 15:27; Ephesians 2:14; Galatians 3:28

We are recipients of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:5-14; Hebrews 8:6-13

entreat the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth’


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