Sunday Evening Bible Study

August 6, 1995

Daniel 9:1-19

Introduction

We are in the second half of Daniel.

The first half dealt with historical events, things that happened to Daniel and his buddies.

The second half deals with prophecies and visions that Daniel has had.

Daniel 7 - vision of the four beasts

Daniel 8 - the ram and the he-goat

Daniel 9 - another new section of prophecy starts.

:1-2 Daniel's discovery

:1 In the first year of Darius

Chapter 7's vision was in 553 b.c.

Chapter 8's vision was in 551 b.c.

This is now 539 b.c., 66 years after Daniel had been taken into exile.

:1 I Daniel understood by books the number of years ...

In Daniel's personal study time, he had been studying the scrolls from the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah was kind of Daniel's elder contemporary.

Jeremiah's ministry started years before the Babylonian captivity, but continued for a few years past the destruction of Jerusalem.

Daniel's ministry didn't start until he was taken captive to Babylon with the first wave of captives.

Jeremiah's ministry was to the people back in Palestine.

Daniel's ministry (along with Ezekiel's) was to the people in Babylon.

In 605 b.c., Jeremiah had warned the people that Babylon would conquer Israel:

Jeremiah 25:8-13 AV Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, [and] an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. 13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, [even] all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.

Notes:

1. Daniel might have had access to this prophecy, since it was given before he was taken captive to Babylon in 605 b.c.

2. Israel's captivity would last for seventy years.

3. Babylon's destruction would be close to the end of the seventy years.

4. Israel's first defeat to Babylon occured that same year.

Sometime after 597 b.c., the people who had been taken to Babylon were beginning to wonder what to do there.

They had some false prophets among them saying that any day the Babylonians would be defeated, and that they'd all be coming home soon.

Some of them were sleeping with their bags packed, ready to go home.

Jeremiah wrote to them to tell them to unpack and settle down for a while. They weren't going anywhere soon.

Jeremiah 29:8-14 AV For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. 10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

Notes:

This was a letter written to the exiles from Jeremiah, and Daniel was one of them. He most likely had a copy of this letter.

The seventy years is again reinforced. Sit down and rest awhile.

At the end of the seventy years, the people would call on the Lord, and God would turn away their captivity.

Lesson:

Be a student of prophecy.

We can think that it's just too complicated.

understood - biyn - to discern, understand, consider; to perceive

That sounds like personal study to me.

Daniel is digging into the books to make sure he understands the things that have been said about his day and time.

Jesus said to "watch" and be ready

Matthew 24:42-51 AV Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Notes:

The whole key to being ready is to "watch".

To watch, you have to know what you're looking for.

If you're not "watching", then you may end up like the evil servant who was caught at "an hour that he is not aware of".

Why isn't he aware of it? Because he wasn't watching.

Study the Scriptures.

Know the signs of the times.

:3-15 Daniel's prayer of confession

:3 I set my face unto the Lord God ... to seek

Daniel responds to his study time by praying.

Why does he respond with prayer?

Remember part of the prophecy of Jeremiah?

Jeremiah 29:13-AV And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Lesson:

Let prophecy affect your life.

Remember what Jeremiah wrote in Jer.29?

He said that at the end of the seventy years, the people would turn and seek the Lord, and He would end their captivity.

So what is Daniel doing? He's seeking the Lord!

Daniel isn't just aware of what's going on around him, he's doing something about it.

Two Questions:

1. Do you believe that Jesus is coming back soon?

2. What have you done recently that shows that you believe it?

:3 prayer and supplications

[email protected] - prayer - intercessory prayer, praying for others.

tachanuwn - supplication, supplication for favour - it's a heartfelt plea, as in "O Lord have mercy on me" (Joseph pleaded with his brothers to let him out of the pit ...)

Summary:

Daniel's prayers are for others, interceding for them.

Daniel's prayers are heartfelt cries out to God.

:3 with fasting

The word fasting means "fasting".

It means to go without food.

This is kind of a long lost practice in the modern American church.

We don't like to go without.

In Scripture, big things are often preceded by prayer and fasting.

Moses fasted for 40 days, then came the ten commandments.

Jesus fasted for 40 days, was tempted by the devil, and then His ministry began.

The leadership of the early church often set aside a time of fasting before making big decisions.

Acts 13:1-3 AV Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.

Acts 14:23-AV And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

What's the big deal with fasting?

Fasting is a way of learning to deny the flesh and it's control over us.

It's learning to die to ourself that we may be more alive to Jesus.

It's less of me, and more of Jesus.

It's learning to sow to the Spirit, and not to the flesh. (Gal.6:7,8)

Andrew Murray:

"Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the other hand, the one with which we let go of the visible."

"Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain the Kingdom of God."

Caution #1:

Don't fast thinking you're going to twist God's arm into doing what you ask for.

Fasting is a way for you to draw closer to God by letting go a little bit of the flesh.

Fasting can bring about powerful things, but only to a life that is yielded to God's will.

Caution #2:

Don't make a big deal over fasting.

Some people want to impress you with their ability to fast.

They let you know how HARRRRRRD it is being on a fast.

Jesus said:

Matthew 6:16-18 AV Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

:3 sackcloth, and ashes

This was a way of expressing grief and humility in Daniel's culture.

Daniel isn't doing this to draw attention to himself, but to express to God his own deep sense of humiliation with his own peoples' sin.

:4 made my confession

There's something else that Daniel is doing here.

He's putting more Scripture into action.

Solomon had made a specific request of God about what might happen if the people sin, are carried into captivity, and then repent and cry out to God.

1Kings 8:47-50 AV [Yet] if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48 And [so] return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:

God answered Solomon's prayer, and said that He would honor such a request.

2Chronicles 7:14-AV If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Daniel is following the pattern laid out in Scripture.

Lesson:

Confess our nations' sins.

Some people say, "Well, Daniel shouldn't be doing this, because he wasn't one of the ones that sinned."

That doesn't seem to stop Daniel.

It also doesn't seem to bother God either.

We are a very sinful nation.

I think it wouldn't hurt if we spent more time on our knees praying for our nation, confessing our nation's sins, and asking God for mercy on our country.

:4 dreadful

yare' - to fear, revere, be afraid; to stand in awe of, be awed

Sounds a little drastic, doesn't it?

Not really.

Don't try to water down God's awesomeness, or our necessity to be in awe and fear of Him.

He is God!

:6 neither have we hearkened unto they servants the prophets

This doesn't apply to Daniel, but he's still praying it for his nation.

:7 confusion of faces

lit., "shame of faces"

:11 the curse is poured upon us

Moses warned them about walking in continual disobedience.

Sooner of later, God would have to let their enemies defeat them and carry them off captive.

Read about it in Le 26:14-46; De 27:15-26; 28:15-68

:13 yet made we not our prayer

All this trouble came on them, and they didn't cry out to God for help.

:14 watched upon the evil

Daniel 9:14-NAS "Therefore, the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us...

:14 the Lord our God is righteous

Nobody is ever going to be able to say to God, "That wasn't fair!"

Everything God does is extremely fair and righteous.

:16-19 Daniel's prayer of supplication

:16 I beseech thee

Now Daniel moves into a second part of his prayer.

The first part dealt with confessing the sins of the people.

The second part deals with his supplication, his earnest pleading with God for mercy on Israel.

:17 cause thy face to shine upon ...

This reminds me of the blessing that the priests were to bless Israel with:

Numbers 6:24-26 AV The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

I look at this as God looking at us and smiling upon us.

Gill: "Cause himself, the sun of righteousness, to arise and shine upon them, and give both spiritual light and heat unto them; grant his gracious presence, the manifestations of himself, communion with him, clearer discoveries of his love, of interest in him, and an increase of spiritual light and knowledge of his Gospel, and the truths of it, and of his mind and will"

:18 not ... our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies

Our forgiveness is always dependant upon God's mercy, not upon anything we can ever do to deserve it.

Titus 3:5-AV Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;