Summary: Learning how you got to where you are and what to do to return back to God. 1)Read Dan. 9:2 2)Realize Dan. 9:2-5, 20 3)Repent Dan. 9:7-9 4)Restore Dan. 9:18-19
Have you ever realized you were lost on a road trip? Most of us have at one point or another and so we carry atlases and road maps to help us along on our journeys. Sometimes we just aren’t paying attention to the signs on the road and miss a turn and in other cases we take the wrong detour. Someone I know very closely has driven on the opposite side of traffic. I once watched a person back up an on ramp to a highway. I have also seen someone drive through a turn lane in the wrong direction. This freaked me out because I was taking that route next. Whatever excuse we make for our bad driving decisions, it is still our fault and we must face the consequences of our actions such as a ticket, a wreck, or just lost time.
Sometimes we wonder where we are in our lives as well. Some of you have already raised children and now have grandchildren. Some of you are running through the gauntlet known as parenthood and others yet still are just trying to finish school. Have you asked yourself the questions “Where am I in life? What am I doing here? How did I get to such a place in my life?” We get bombarded each week by the severe demands on our time and energy with work, school, children, and church. In between navigating through all of this we have to find time to spend with our spouse and make sure our homes are safe, clean, and secure for our families. Don’t forget all the disasters that can occur in between to make things more complicated. A family member goes to the hospital or you yourself become sick and unable to use your time how you would like. Where are you in life today? Are you using your time or is your time using you? Do you have any control over your life or is it running you to death? Do you fit God in that time constrained world of yours? He really belongs first you know.
Daniel may have a lesson or two to be learned about placing ourselves in God’s time stream instead of our own. I think it is time we found out where we really are in life and realize that there probably has to be some change. Daniel 9 is basically a prayer from Daniel to God about the condition of himself and the Jewish people of Israel who had been deported to Babylon. We are in much the same boat as those men and women. The boat, known as First Christian Church of Camp Point, needs a wake up call to see where it is headed, realize that it is the wrong direction, turn around, and head the right way. We must turn our lives around. Just as if we were traveling down the highway, we will need four tools to help us make it safely to our destination; 1) we need a map (to read), 2) we need to understand the map, 3) we need to be able to correct ourselves according to the map, and 4) we need to be able to get back on track.
READ – Daniel 9:2
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” - New King James Version (NKJV)
Daniel, as he was reading the word of God, discovered something in Jeremiah’s writings that brought a very important period to his mind. Daniel had been taken as a boy from the land of Israel and placed in the palace of the king of Babylon. He would have been deported somewhere around the year 586 when Jerusalem was destroyed and now he reads about the prophet Jeremiah who stayed in Jerusalem and finds that this destruction would last for seventy years. Ezekiel was deported in 605 B.C., Daniel and some others in 597 B.C., and the final destruction occurred in 586. Which starting point counts to start counting the seventy years? The end of the seventy years could be 4 or five years away. This triggers in Daniels mind and heart why they were deported in the first place. What did Daniel read in the book of Jeremiah?
Jeremiah 25:4-7 says, “the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the LORD, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt (NKJV).” The people had built idols and worshipped them. They ignored everything God’s messengers said and went on with their business.