Sunday April 5 - SS Lesson Daniel 9
Once again we will simply take some direct quotes from today’s Sunday school lesson.
(a) Daniel recognized and acknowledged that there current status as exiles was a result of there idolatry and sinful ways. And so in his prayer he confessed the sinfulness of the people as he asked God for mercy and restoration. This prayer would be answered not only in the restoration of the people to the land of promise but also to the lord. God revealed that he would send the messiah to deal with sin and bring everlasting righteousness to his people.
(b) Key verse Daniel 9:6
O lord according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem.
(c) What do we mean when we speak of intercessory prayer? Note that intercessory prayer simply refers to prayers offered on behalf of someone else.
(D) Daniel mourned because he understood that the exile came as a result of the sinfulness of the Jewish people. Mourning showed remorse for the shameful condition of the people and the reproach on Gods name That resulted from their idolatry.
(e) Daniel began his prayer by professing the greatness and faithfulness of God. This stood in stark contrast to the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people. Note that Daniel humbly identified himself with those who stood guilty of breaking Gods commands. He stood as a spokesman for the people.
Furthermore, they had rejected Gods efforts to restore them to right relationship with him. God had raised up many prophets over the years, yet from great to small the Jewish people had refused to listen.
(f) Why had this happened? Daniel was brutally honest: Gods people had been unfaithful. Sin had brought shame to all of them. From the nobility to the common people.
(g) Yet on the basis of Gods mercy and forgiveness, Daniel would intercede for his people. If they would repent by humbly seeking God and turning from their wicked ways, God would be merciful, forgiving, and restore them.
(h) In the past, the Jewish people had failed to live according to the covenant God had made with them. They had rejected the prophets calls to turn from their sinful ways and return to God.The blessings and curses of the covenant relationship with the Lord had been spelled out clearly. So God was righteous in carrying out the judgements laid out in the covenant.
(I) and so, since God had shown mercy and favor to them before, Daniel asked him to do so once again at this time. These were still his people. Jerusalem was the city he had chosen for his temple, and therefore his presence. His Holy character and nature were unchanged.
(J) Daniels prayer provides a message to Christians today: sin not only harms those who sin; it also dishonors God. Only Gods favor- demonstrated in his mercy and grace- can overcome the effects of sin.
(k) Daniel continued with a focus on prayer for Gods favor- not just for the relief of the Jewish people but also for the sake of the honor of Gods name. The temple and city of Jerusalem, which reflected Gods honor and glory, we’re in ruins.
Take special note of Daniels declaration that such favor would highlight Gods merciful nature because his people were not worthy of his help. Such a reality continues today. We are not righteous at all. Gods grace is entirely a result of his mercy.
(l) Two things motivated Daniel to intercede: the need of his people and the desire to see Gods name honored. Our prayer today needs to integrate both, though to often we focus on one and neglect the other. Our intercession should affirm that God is just and merciful: He is just in dealing with peoples sins, but also merciful in forgiving people when they repent.