When the roof of life caves in, most people wheel around on their heels and shake their fist at God. "How could He let this happen? If He's so 'good' and 'powerful', why do bad things happen?" On and on it goes... Rarely does anyone begin their crisis response to God like Daniel did:
Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
It's called "repentance". It is the act of personal "course correction" that moves one from seeing God as the adversary to seeing Him for Who He really is: the Advocate. The simple truth is a hard one: all of life's suffeirng is the result of sin- either our own, or that of someone else. And make no mistake about it- sin is ALWAYS ultimately painful and deadly- NO EXCEPTIONS!
Daniel was a man of the Word. He was a student of history who remembered what God had told his people through the prophet Moses regarding the consequences of rebellion and the promises of repentance:
Deuteronomy 30:1 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
The ninth chapter of Daniel is nothing more than Daniel taking God at His Word. His prayer of repentance was the first step on the road to Israel's restoration as a nation.
Pleas for national, or even congregation repentance never seem to work very well. Each of us agree that repentance is a great concept- but it's one that applies to "other people". Real repentance, the kind that leads to congregational- even national restoration is first and foremost PERSONAL.
Daniel got it. Daniel did it. The rest of the story is about God's mercy becasue of it! (To Be Continued...)