When I was a young student I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every school day: “I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Our allegiance is to the stars and stripes, not the flag of the United Nations. Our government and its leaders have become corrupt. They have stopped seeing their calling as one of serving the people and see their political positions as opportunities to enrich themselves. It doesn’t matter much which party is in power; they prioritize self instead of their constituencies.
Around Long Island where I live there are sumps. Sumps are holes in the ground designed for draining off rain water so as to avoid flooding. I have one of these sumps up the block from where I live. Last summer the sump by me became so overgrown with weeds and other plant life that it had to be cleaned out if it was to operate properly. The sump needed to be cleaned. One of the candidates running for president has said something similar regarding Washington and government. He says, “It’s time to drain the swamp!” Our government leaders are aptly described as a swamp or a sump. They need cleaning. I hope and pray God would do it
If the swamp or sump is to be cleaned, it will take a move of God’s Spirit. That’s what this teaching is all about; seeking God in His word and prayer and asking for His mercy and to heal our Land. The book of Daniel and the story of Daniel and the historical context of Israel’s captivity has many parallels to our present day circumstances.
The context of Daniel chapter 9 is God’s people are in Babylonian captivity. The year is approximately 539 B.C., the same year that Babylon fell to the Medo-Persian Empire, and which is implied by the phrase, “In the first year of Darius,” (Daniel 9:1). Daniel is in his late eighties to nineties in age, but he is still receiving words from the Lord. He is in his nineties, but he is still a student of God’s word. He is in his nineties, but he is also still a man of prayer.
Daniel 9 contains one of the most incredible prophetic messages in the entire Bible. And it comes as an answer to the heartfelt prayer of Daniel on behalf of God’s people and Israel.
God loves it when we seek Him. In fact when Gabriel spoke to Daniel he said:
- Daniel 9:23 - “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:” (Emphasis added.)
God loves us and He loves to have prayerful conversation with us. Did you know you are loved by God? You are His “beloved.” What does the Bible say about being loved by God?
BELOVED BY GOD
The phrase, “greatly beloved,” is found not only in Daniel 9:23, but is used two other times in reference to Daniel in this book (Daniel 10:11, 19). The term “beloved” in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew term CHEMDAH (pronounced KHEM-DAW. CHEMDAH (Strong’s #2532) means literally, “pleasant, desire, desirable, beloved, goodly, and precious.”  Attach “greatly” to the front of this word and what you have in this verse is one who is greatly pleasing to God, very desirable to God, very precious to God. Daniel was known in heaven by Gabriel as one who greatly pleased God, was very desirable to God and was very precious to God.
God loves all the people of His creation. We see this in numerous verses throughout the Bible, of which the following are a small sampling:
- Jeremiah 31:3 – “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
- John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- Romans 1:7 – “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 – “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
- 1 John 3:1 – “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
- 1 John 4:7-16 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
INTIMACY WITH GOD
Oftentimes we see God as cold, distant, far removed from us, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tells us that God is loving and wants to share an intimate and personal relationship with us. We see this truth throughout the Bible.
In the book of Genesis we see that God establishes a friendship with Abraham (Genesis 18:18-19; 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23). Friendship involves intimacy, sharing, caring, sacrificing, and trusting, between friends. Later in the Bible it states that God “set His love” on the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel):
- Deuteronomy 7:7-8 - “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;8 “but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
In the Song of Solomon we have a symbolic representation of God’s love for His people communicated through the poetic interactions between Solomon and his Shulamite bride. IN this book we find the term “beloved” used 46 times in the 8 chapters of the book. Read some of the verses which depict God’s desired loving intimacy with us:
- Song of Solomon 2:4 – “He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.”
- Song of Solomon 2:16 – “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” (See also 6:3; 7:10)
- Song of Solomon 8:6-7 – “Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.7 Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.”
In the New Testament we see the intimacy of God through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus was very personable and intimate with those around Him. Jesus wasn’t distant and cold. He was touchable and was One who touched others (e.g. Matthew 8:3, 15; 9:20-22, 29-30; 14:35-36; 20:34). The true test of Jesus’ approachability is seen in the closeness He had with children. The children came to Jesus and you can just picture them crawling all over Jesus (Mark 10:13-16). Children don’t run into the arms of a person with a cold and distant personality. Children run into the arms of One who is warm, friendly and who enjoys their company, closeness and friendship.
Some need more coaxing than others to come into the intimate presence of God. Do you remember Thomas? Thomas wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. He was cold to that fact. But Jesus melted that cold hard heart by inviting Thomas to touch His wounds (John 20:24-28).
There are many believers who are very doctrinally sound but cold of heart. They are like porcupines; they have so many points you can’t get near them. But Jesus specifically calls us to friendship with Him, friendship with God. That is what He said to His disciples:
- John 15:15 - “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
God desires a warm, loving intimate friendship with us and we would be foolish to settle for anything less than that! The Bible calls us to “draw near” to God:
- Hebrews 10:19-23 – “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Emphasis added.)
- James 4:8-10 – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (Emphasis added.)
How could you turn down an offer like that from the Master of the universe?! Wouldn’t you rather sense and experience the closeness of being “greatly beloved” as Daniel did? But in truth, we often miss out on such intimacy with God. Why? Because we fail to enter into the personal and intimate relationship God desires to have with us. The problem is with us. The Bible warns us to draw near sincerely, ready to have God apply what He teaches us in His word. It does us no good to simply go through the motions of drawing near. Listen to the words of Jesus who said:
- Matthew 15:7-9 - “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, 1 And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ””  (Emphasis added.)
God is not the one cold, distant and removed, we are! We pay God lip-service but when we draw near we leave our hearts behind. We need to come to God with our hearts. It is with our hearts that we believe, God wants our hearts:
- Romans 10:8-10 – “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
How can we enter into such intimacy with God? By drawing near to God with our hearts. Daniel 9 shows us by way of Daniel’s example how to seek God with all our heart and enter into experiencing the “greatly beloved” relationship with God.
The “Greatly Beloved” Seek God
When you look at the life of Daniel from beginning to end you see a man who sought the Lord consistently. His “greatly beloved” relationship with God is what fortified and strengthened him through the years of turmoil he experienced. There are two ways to seek the Lord and Daniel shows us both in this chapter.
SEEKING GOD IN HIS WORD
Daniel 9:1-2 – “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—2 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.”
Daniel was a student of the word of God. He studied it consistently and his study yielded great dividends. It was through Daniel’s study of the book of Jeremiah that he discovered that the duration of the exile imposed by God on the people was 70 years. Daniel was likely reading the following verses, which state this:
- Jeremiah 25:11-12 – “‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.12 ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”
If we want to know God we must be into His word. This is almost too obvious to mention but obvious as it may be, study of God’s word is often one of the most neglected aspects of believer’s life in God. We need to study God’s word my friends. There is so much benefit from doing so (e.g. Psalm 19:7-11). Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, conveys this truth:
- Psalm 119:1-2,9-11,18,25,28,41,50,81,92-93,99,105,130,133,160,162 – “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, 1 Who walk in the law of the Lord!2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! . . .9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! . . .18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law. . . .25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. . . 28 My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word. . . 41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord—Your salvation according to Your word. . . 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. . . 81 My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word. . . .92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life. . . .99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. . . .105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. . . .130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. . . .160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. . . .162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.”
Daniel had access to these words. Daniel took them to heart and sought the Lord in His word. Daniel was into God’s word and God’s word was into Daniel and that led to Daniel having understanding, stability, hope and encouragement in his life. But he did not just read it, he obeyed it. The Bible tells us very clearly that reading the Bible is not enough, we need to apply it to our lives with God’s help. Jesus said we find intimacy with God as we keep His word:
- John 14:15,21 - “If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . .21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
If you want to experience intimacy, closeness and be “greatly beloved” then study and apply God’s word. (See also James 1:22-25 and 2 John 6).
Oh the blessing to his heart he must have felt when he went on to read in Jeremiah that God was not finished with Israel but had a plan for their lives:
- Jeremiah 29:10-14 – “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” (Emphasis added.)
It says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Daniel took those words to heart. Those words inspired in Jeremiah by God telling him that a time would come when they would call upon God and find Him when they SEARCHED FOR HIM WITH ALL THEIR HEART! That is exactly what Daniel did. He didn’t just respond to those words with lip service. Daniel didn’t just say, “Hmmm, yes, I must pray to God more, I really should,” and then walk away. As soon as the Lord directed him to the book of Jeremiah, he purposed in his heart to allow God to apply those words to his heart. So he sought God in prayer.
SEEKING GOD IN PRAYER
Daniel 9:3 – “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”
As soon as Daniel learned that the captivity was for 70 years, (which was nearly completed) and that God promised to be found by those who seek Him with all their hearts, Daniel got right down to business. Daniel wasted no time in seeking the Lord in serious determination and humility. He didn’t just give a flippant sentence of prayer toward the Lord, but he meant business!
The Bible tells us that God’s forgiveness comes to those who “confess” their sin to Him, who repent. We see this in the Old as well as the New Testament. Read the two sample verses of this below:
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 - “if My people who are called by My name will 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.”
- 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The term “confess” found in 1 John 1:9 is a translation of the Greek term HOMOLOGEO (Strong’s #3670), and literally means, ““to speak the same thing” , “to assent, accord, agree with,” . . . “to confess by way of admitting oneself guilty of what one is accused of, the result of inward conviction.” Therefore, when we confess our sin before God, in effect it means TO SEE THE SIN THE SAME WAY GOD DOES, TO SEE OUR SIN FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE. That is exactly what we see Daniel doing in this prayer. Daniel is putting our on the table before God, the sins of the nation, and doing so as God sees the sin.
Daniel had an intimate relationship with God and he knew God is merciful and forgiving. Therefore he sought the Lord on behalf of the people. Daniel’s prayer reveals the heart of a prayer warrior. He was an intercessor. Daniel was experienced in prayer, this was nothing knew to him and he intended to pull out all the stops. He believed God existed and he believed God was faithful to His word and so He approached God on the basis of His word. That is the best way to approach God, on the basis of His word. When was the last time you sought God with all your heart? Do you know what it means to seek God with all your heart? If you want to know what it means to “seek God with all your heart” just look at Daniel’s prayer. Let’s see what and how Daniel prayed to God.
FIRST, DANIEL CONFESSES GOD’S GREAT FAITHFULNESS
Daniel 9:4 – “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,”
Daniel begins his prayer by confessing that God is “great and awesome,” that God is faithful, “who keeps His covenant,” and that God is merciful. Noting these qualities in God serves as a backdrop and contrast to the sinful behavior of the people. This contrast shouts of God’s grace as God responds in forgiveness. Daniel is saying, “Lord, there is none like You and You are not the problem here, we are, we are the ones who have caused all the problems, we are the ones who have been unfaithful, we deserve these consequences to our sins.”
When David confessed his sin with Bathsheba before the Lord he began with acknowledging God just as Daniel did:
- Psalm 51:1-4 – “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.”
Only when we come to know and acknowledge God according to His nature do we really understand the sinfulness of our sin. Isaiah probably thought he was a pretty upstanding man and right on with God, but when brought into the presence of God, he understood his utter sinfulness before the holy God:
- Isaiah 6:1-5 – “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.3 And one cried to another and said: 1 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
I believe that what happens to Daniel in this prayer of chapter 9 is similar to that which occurred to Isaiah. You might think to yourself, “Hey, wait a minute, why is Daniel including himself in this prayer of repentance? Isn’t he one of the good guys? He hasn’t done anything wrong.” But no matter who you are, when you come into the presence of the “Holy, holy, holy . . . LORD of hosts” you will see your utter spiritual bankruptcy before Him. Daniel wasn’t fool enough to think it necessary to excuse himself before God, “Now God, you know I’m not as bad as the people, in fact I’ve been a pretty upright guy, a shinning light of yours, but let me intercede on their behalf.” No, you see none of that. Daniel sees himself as a sinner before God, plain and simple (e.g. Romans 3:23; Gal. 3:10; James 2:10).
Thank God that we are saved by His gracious provision in Christ and not holding on to that chain of the Law in our own strength!
- Psalm 32:1-2 – “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
- Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Ephesians 1:7-9 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,”
Daniel had a personal relationship with God and you cannot have a personal relationship with Holy God unless you understand His grace and forgiveness. We come into His presence by His grace. ON our own we are unfit and ill equipped to come into His presence. By grace administered to us in Christ, we come into His presence:
- Ephesians 2:18 – “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
Because of Daniel’s intimacy with God, when he comes before God to intercede, he comes openly and honestly.
SECOND, DANIEL HONESTLY CONFESSES SIN
Daniel 9:5-8 - “we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.6 “Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.7 “O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.”
Daniel makes no attempt to sugarcoat or rationalize away their sin, but he speaks openly and honestly about the fact that they are guilty in all these things. He doesn’t even distinguish between himself and the people; he includes himself with them in their sinfulness. He says, “we have sinned” (9:5). Sometimes we go to God and we tone down our sin. There may be a person we can’t stand, who we even hate; instead of confessing to God our true attitude toward such a person we go to Him and say, “Well God, you know I have a bit of a problem with old so-and-so. I don’t love him as much as I ought to. I mean, it’s really not my fault. They’re such a creep. They . . . .” We end up battering the other person in our prayers instead of coming clean before God in our prayers. If you are going to seek God with all your heart, you have to open your heart, every nook and cranny of it, honestly, open it to God. Daniel acknowledges that they have not obeyed God’s word and when God sent prophets, or took steps to wake them up to their sin and need, the people sinfully rebelled and ignored God’s efforts. Daniel makes no excuses here, he simply says, “Lord, we were dead wrong and You were right to bring captivity upon us. You are righteous and we are ashamed to have rebelled against you as we did.” When you come to God, you need to come to Him openly, honestly and see your utter sinfulness before a great and awesome God.
THIRD, DANIEL ACKNOWLEDGES THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD
Daniel 9:9-15 - “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.10 “We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.11 “Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.12 “And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.14 “Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.15 “And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!”
Daniel expresses confidence in God’s “mercy and forgiveness” even though they have sinned. What Daniel says in effect is that everything that has happened to them has occurred due to their disregard of God’s word. Daniel acknowledges that God warned them in His word (9:10). The Law of Moses stated this would happen and God’s word is true (Deuteronomy 28). Daniel admits that based on God’s word they are all guilty before Him. This is true always, all fall short of God’s glory, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). But thankfully the same word which shows us our sin, also speaks of the righteous mercy and grace of God.
FOUR, DANIEL APPEALS TO THE MERCY OF GOD
Daniel 9:16-19 - “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.17 “Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.18 “O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.19 “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
Daniel says, “for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deed, but because of Your great mercies.” We should never go to God and appeal to Him to treat us justly, because justice means we will get what we deserve and that is judgment! Mercy however, is not getting what you deserve and as Daniel did, we should appeal to God’s mercy so that we don’t get the judgment we deserve. There is a third aspect of coming to God, which blesses us and that is God’s grace. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. We don’t deserve the countless second chances given us by God, but His grace secures our hope.
God Shares With the Greatly Beloved
Daniel 9:20-23 – “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God,21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.23 “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:”
The final verses of Daniel 9 contain an incredible prophecy about the coming of Christ and the End Times. It should not be lost on us that this awesome prophecy was given to one seen as “greatly beloved” who expressed that love in prayer. God opened up Daniel’s understanding and gave him this prophecy after he had been seeking God in His word and seeking God in prayer. Its almost as though God looked down on Daniel thinking, “Oh how I love that Daniel, I’m going to bless him in a very special way and all those who read the word I inspire through him I’m going to let him and all the world know just exactly when My Son Jesus will make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” Daniel was ready and able to receive this blessed prophecy because he was living in the greatly beloved relationship with God. That should speak to us. If we are going to experience illumination and revelation about God, we need to be in His word and on our knees. God opens His treasure chest of truth to those who seek Him.
God goes on to lay out prophetically 490 years of future history for Israel. It is a fantastic word from the Lord that must have served to be greatly comforting to Daniel and God’s people. If we love the Lord and pray to Him, perhaps He will provide us with illumination from His word to comfort and direct us. He already has done that. We simply need to be illuminated to that word. That will happen if we pray.
“Greatly beloved,” was how Daniel was seen in heaven. He was a man of God’s word and a man of prayer. He had an intimate and full relationship with God that made him ready to receive one of the most incredible prophecies in the Bible. Now if we follow in the footsteps of Daniel and are seen as “greatly beloved,” it doesn’t mean we will receive a prophetic revelation like he did, (God has closed the canon of scripture). But what it does mean, I believe, is that we will receive deeper illumination of God’s word and have a greater sense of the presence and intimacy available for us with God. In effect, when we seek God in His word and in prayer, we come to know what it means to be “greatly beloved.”
But we often miss out on the “greatly beloved” life with God. Why? We miss it because of distractions, unconfessed sin, or simple neglect or the memory of Who God is crowded out of our lives. . Tennessee Williams in a story entitled “Something By Tolstoy” tells the story of two people who were at one time “greatly beloved” to each other, but because of neglect and distraction they missed out on that love.
“Jacob Brodzky, was a shy Russian Jew whose father owned a bookstore. The older Brodzky wanted his son to go to college. The boy, on the other hand, desired nothing but to marry Lila, his childhood sweetheart -- a French girl as effusive, vital, and ambitious as he was contemplative and retiring.
A couple of months after young Brodzky went to college, his father fell ill and died. The son returned home, buried his father, and married his love. Then the couple moved into the apartment above the bookstore, and Brodzky took over its management. The life of books fit him perfectly, but it cramped her. She wanted more adventure -- and she found it, she thought, when she met an agent who praised her beautiful singing voice and enticed her to tour Europe with a vaudeville company. Brodzky was devastated. At their parting, he reached into his pocket and handed her the key to the front door of the bookstore. "You had better keep this," he told her, "because you will want it some day. Your love is not so much less than mine that you can get away from it. You will come back sometime, and I will be waiting. "She kissed him and left.
To escape the pain he felt, Brodzky withdrew deep into his bookstore and took to reading as someone else might have taken to drink. He spoke little, did little, and could most times be found at the large desk near the rear of the shop, immersed in his books while he waited for his love to return. Nearly 15 years after they parted, at Christmastime, she did return. But when Brodzky rose from the reading desk that had been his place of escape for all that time, he did not take the love of his life for more than an ordinary customer. "Do you want a book?" he asked. That he didn't recognize her startled her. But she gained possession of herself and replied, "I want a book, but I've forgotten the name of it. "Then she told him a story of childhood sweethearts. A story of a newly married couple that lived in an apartment above a bookstore. A story of a young, ambitious wife who left to seek a career, who enjoyed great success but could never relinquish the key her husband gave her when they parted. She told him the story she thought would bring him to himself. But his face showed no recognition. Gradually she realized that he had lost touch with his heart's desire, that he no longer knew the purpose of his waiting and grieving, that now all he remembered was the waiting and grieving itself. "You remember it; you must remember it -- the story of Lila and Jacob? "After a long, bewildered pause, he said, "There is something familiar about the story, I think I have read it somewhere. It comes to me that it is something by Tolstoy. "Dropping the key, she fled the shop. And Brodzky returned to his desk, to his reading, unaware that the love he waited for had come and gone. 
How sad it is when we are distracted from that which would have fulfilled and completed us. There is nothing greater than to be “greatly beloved” by God. I believe all believers are “greatly beloved” by God, but sadly, only a very few understand what it means to be “greatly beloved.” Won’t you draw near to God with all your heart? Won’t you come to experience that “greatly beloved” relationship with God? Don’t let this love pass you by. Seek the Lord with all your heart and He will be found by you.
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
 Signs of the Times, June, 1993, Page 11. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/l/love.htm