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.”