Summary: This is such a beautiful model of prayer. No deal-making, no claim to being deserving; just a man interceding for a sinful people and seeking God's abundant grace.
Passage: Daniel 9:1-19
Intro: So here in the middle of death and destruction, of huge kingdoms rising and falling, there is this tender prayer.
1. frankly, I was disappointed when I saw this passage coming up.
2. into the prophecy, the end times
3. and yet here is this prayer, an incredibly tender reminder of the nature of the one who is sovereign over all these events.
4. and the one in whom Daniel is putting his faith.
5. easy to see this passage as a “how-to pray” instruction pamphlet. OK
6. but there is more to it; a revelation of the character of God from perfectly righteous to loving and gracious.
7. intensely practical to us, because in spite of the inaccurate picture often painted of our God, here is the truth.
8. and amazingly, it takes our sin to really understand the character of God.
I. What Makes Sin, Sin?
1. Daniel had been reading the Bible
2. and in the rather recent writings of Jeremiah, he had discovered something.
3. notice that Daniel did not just take this promise for granted.
4. this promise caused him to confess the sins of his nation. 16 verbs throughout passage that describe sin.
5. starts in v5 with a general confession of sinfulness and rebellion
6. becomes more specific in v 6,10,12,13
7. God spoke clearly through Law, prophets, other disciplinary events.
8. Israel’s response? Disobedience, rebellion, continual sin in the face of discipline, right up to the Daniel’s time! V13!! We are still sinning
9. perhaps the people decided God was done with them, would not forgive.
10. but whatever reason, here is the summary of sinfulness:
PP “Sin is the consistent refusal to obey the clear revelation of God”
11. Daniel never utters the slightest excuse, the tiniest “yeah, but”
12. God is righteous to reveal, to warn, to follow thru on warnings.
PP He is like that perfectly consistent parent, who sets the rules, warns of consequences, follows thru, and always loves.
PP Defiant child
13. and Israel was like that strong- willed child who keeps on resisting the process.
14. confession is a necessary part of the restoration process, because it admits fault, blame.
PP 1 John 1:8-9
II. The Basis for Mercy
1. so if we are completely sinful, 100% to blame, why can we expect or even ask for mercy?
-notice Daniel does not remain in confession!!
2. Daniel hints at this in v9, gets very specific in vv16-18
3. v16, “in keeping with all your…”
4. talked about righteousness, now switches to another facet of His character
5. and on that basis, Daniel asks for mercy
6. asks God to “turn away” from righteous anger, wrath
7. again, not because of better behavior, but because it is His character to be merciful.
8. if God were not interested in forgiveness, He would have ignored the whole sacrificial system, given so people could be righteously forgiven.
9. God has done everything to make forgiveness of sins fulfill His righteousness.
Il) this is like a man found completely guilty of a crime, standing in front of the judge and “throwing himself on the mercy of the court.”
10. the request for mercy is the request for God to “not treat us as our sins deserve.”
PP Psalm 103:10
11. Daniel was making this bold request for mercy because in His word God had already revealed Himself as merciful.
12. but here is the really amazing thing. 13. Daniel goes beyond asking for mercy.
III. The Audacious Request for Grace
1. mercy is not being treated as our sins deserve.
2. Daniel has asked for forgiveness, mercy, but in v17 he makes an amazing request.
3. again in the context of complete ongoing sinfulness and rebellion
4. v17 “look with favor…” on your sanctuary
5. in other words, in spite of the continuing sinfulness of Israel, Daniel asks that God restore the Temple and the Temple worship
6. how can this man make this request for a sinful nation??
7. v18, not because of us, but because of your character of mercy and grace.
8. Daniel is asking that Israel be restored to their favored position as the children of God? Amazing!
Il) there is a NT story like this; the Prodigal Son.
9. after his rebellious and sinful lifestyle, why does he even think he could be restored to his father’s grace?
10. but he was even surprised at not only the mercy of his father, but his grace!!
11. listen! Our sin has consequences and is serious, make no mistake.
12. but don’t believe the lie of a hesitant forgiveness, a sour-faced mercy, a grudging grace.
13. God has revealed Himself throughout Scripture as a compassionate forgiver, an impossibly benevolent giver of grace.