“I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. . .” (Daniel 9:4 ESV)
In the last column, I listed the following as points found in reading Daniel five:
Point 1: Daniel understood something distinct from his reading of the Word;
Point 2: Daniel sought the LORD in prayer, sackcloth, and ashes (v2,3);
Point 3: Daniel put it this way, “speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people. . .” (v20);
Point 4: Daniel presented petitions to the LORD (v20);
Point 5: G-d answered Daniel.
Point two states that Daniel sought the LORD in prayer, sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel opened his prayer in worship: “Ah, Lord—the great and awe-inspiring G-d who keeps His gracious covenant. . .” (v4) Flattery, yes. But it seems to me it is far more than words out of Daniel’s mouth; it is very much a cry from deep within Daniel, a groan from his heart. Daniel echoes words he’s read over and over and over in the Psalms. Daniel is steeped in the Word of G-d. He hears in his reading of Jeremiah, and begins to seek the LORD by beginning in worship. I suggest he was overcome in worship from his reading of the Word through Jeremiah.
There then follows this: Daniel acknowledged the sin of his people as his own, taking upon himself the sin of his people. Daniel outlined to the Lord how they’d brought upon themselves a curse for turning away for G-d. Daniel didn’t offer an excuse. Daniel accepted responsibility for the way his people turned away from G-d. Perhaps most importantly, Daniel acknowledge G-d as righteous though He poured out upon His people the promised curse. This then is Daniel doing penance for his people’s sin against a righteous G-d. It is wearing sackcloth and covering himself in ashes. Humility. Daniel is no better than his people.
Hummmm. There’s a familiar story told by about the prayers of two men. One is so very thankful that he isn’t like others, for he observes the laws. The other man comes before G-d remorseful of his sins. After telling the story, Y’shuaJesus says that the repentant man is justified. And we’ve heard the call for humility and prayer from many modern Church leaders. They echo the cry of G-d Himself, “. . .if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
To think another way about point two, Daniel discerned something from his reading. This understanding tore open his heart. From out of him came a deep groan, “Ah, LORD.” He worshiped G-d. He worshiped G-d! And from the worship came forth his seeking the LORD in sackcloth and ashes. When I think about it, Daniel’s heart wasn’t just torn, it was ripped apart by what he read, by his understanding of the Word of G-d. It was a personal Word to Daniel. It was as if G-d had spoken directly to Daniel. And Daniel’s response was, “Ah, LORD, great and awesome. . .”
May we hear the Word of G-d, and have our hearts ripped apart, so that we may cry out in unison, “Ah, LORD, great and awesome. . .” Then we can seek Him in all humility.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .