Monday, September 21, 2009

Seventy Sevens

Focus verses: Daniel 9

The ninth chapter of the book of Daniel is divided into two parts. The first part is Daniel's prayer of contrition for the nation of Israel. The second is the appearance of the angel Gabriel with an answer to Daniel's prayer.

The message from the angel Gabriel has been the subject of much discussion and interpretation. We're not concerned here so much with the end time prophecy it brings as the principal by which it came.

Daniel was in prayer for the nation. He was confessing the sins of Israel and asking the Lord's intervention on Israel's behalf. While he was still in prayer, Gabriel was sent to answer him. He was in prayer for the nation. He wasn't waiting, pacing, and wringing his hands. He was in prayer.

So our first principal is that prayer is the communication line to God. This prayer was not unusual. It was Daniel's habit to pray morning, noon and night. We're not talking here about a perfunctory grace before meals. We're talking about a designated time of prayer, time set aside to worship God alone.

The second principal is found in verse 24. Seventy sevens are decreed. When God issues a decree, it is without change or mitigation. The seventy sevens are the time decreed for atonement. This number is essentially graven in granite, not sketched in sand. It will not change because of Daniel's fervent prayers.

Daniel is being given this information, probably to reassure him that God has not forgotten Israel or cast His people totally aside. This is essentially a "time out" for the nation to teach them the futility of following any other gods. It is the just consequence of their many infidelities.

Daniel, in prayer, had put himself in a position to hear the words of the Lord as brought by Gabriel. His habit of prayer had caused him to be highly esteemed. Imagine! An angel comes to Daniel and says "God thinks a lot of you."

Have we been on our knees enough that God esteems us highly? Have we been in constant prayer for our nation, our officials, and our culture?

Father, God,

Help us to learn to pray for our nation. Keep us ever faithful in Your ways, that we may pray with pure hearts. Teach us how to help effect change in our world.
In Jesus' most precious name.

No comments: