When most people talk about Daniel chapter 9, they talk about the great prophecy of the 70 weeks at the end of the chapter. How did Daniel get to the point where the Lord opened up that prophecy to him? It was the start of the chapter!
Daniel is doing that which got him thrown into the lion’s den. He is praying. He realizes the 70 years of exile is nearly over and he brings himself and the people before the Lord in prayer. Much of the prayer focuses on the sin of Israel. Yet, wrapped up in that prayer, Daniel tells us a few things about the Lord to whom he is praying.
Look at how he addresses God in Daniel 9:4, “O Lord, the great and dreadful God.” Daniel knows how great God is. It is God who gave him the interpretations of dreams, the visions, and an angelic visitor to pass the night in the lion’s den. The word dreadful mean soooo much to be in awe of, soooo much that should be feared. After Daniel expresses his confidence in God’s greatness and the fear and awe of God’s majesty, he stated the reason for God’s greatness. The verse continues, “keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.”
Daniel knows that God keeps His word. Daniel realizes that God gives mercy, especially to those that love Him and obey Him. In verse 7, Daniel acknowledges that righteousness belongs to God. In verse 9, we find mercies and forgiveness also belong to God.
What does that mean for me? It means that God is righteous, and I am lacking. It means God has mercy and I need that. It means that God has forgiveness and I don’t deserve that. It means that God is so great, he can clothe me in His righteousness. God is so great, He can pour out unto me His mercies. God is so great, He can offer me forgiveness.
How does God offer those things? It comes in response to my prayers. Verse 18 explains, “for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies.”
There is more here than prophecy. If we try to live in our righteousness, we will never get hold of the depth of God’s mercies and the breadth of God’s forgiveness. Yet, they rank among our greatest needs. Daniel gives us much in terms of prophecy, but the reason God opened Daniel’s eyes was because of Daniel’s relationship with the Lord. Let’s strive to build our relationship with God.