Do you live among people who seem to have forgotten about God? Do you live in a society that once embraced God yet has now rejected Him? If you do then realize that you are not alone and you are not the only person to experience such tragedy. The Bible says that “there is nothing new under the sun” and that phrase is so true. In fact the entire quote says it even better:
That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Whatever happens today is something that has already happened in the past. This of course deals with the attitude and actions of people in ever society. Daniel, from the O.T., was a man who lived among people who once embraced God but later rejected Him and then seemed to have forgotten about God. Daniel could easily have joined in with the culture of the time yet he chose to live counter-culture even though it cost him comfort. I would like to look at Daniel’s prayer in Daniel chapter 9 where we see the solution to the problem of living among people who once embraced God and now have rejected Him.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. “Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. “And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day– we have sinned, we have been wicked. “O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. “So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. “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 are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” (Daniel 9:4-6, 15-19)
Let’s see what we can learn from Daniel’s prayer, specifically about influencing the people around you for the glory of God.
- Daniel begins with God and His character. He recognizes that God is the key to changing the lives of the people around him. The reason he turns to God is because he knows who God is. He has a personal relationship with God and knows specific things about God. Daniel knows that God is great and awesome along with being faithful and loving (kind). The people around Daniel did not deserve God’s help or forgiveness but because of who God is, He is ready to forgive them and help them.
- Daniel moves to confessing the his sin and the sins of the people. We as people are the best at finding excuses for what we do, especially the mistakes that we make. We usually try to blame someone or something else. Adam did it, along with Eve in the garden. “God is was the woman whom You gave to me.” Adam blamed the woman and God all at the same time. Eve turns and blames the serpent. They did not want to take the blame although they had committed the crime. Daniel does not take that approach. He lists the specific sins that he and his people had committed and uses no excuse. The basic problem that Daniel’s people had was that they did not obey the Word of God. Adam and Eve had the same problem. The people around us today also have the same problem. Most do not even know the Word of God, let alone, be able to obey what God says. People need the Word of God to teach them how to live. That is why Daniel’s prayer continues with the importance of learning and obeying the Word of God.
- Daniel writes his prayer as a lesson for people to learn about God. Daniel did not realize it at the time but God was using him to write part of the Holy Scriptures. Daniel was a man of influence and I am sure that he used his position to teach others the Word of God. Daniel knew the Word of God and he knew that his people needed to know the Word so he met that need.
What about you dear friend, are you aware of your sin and the sin of your nation? Do you know God’s commands and realize how far our nation has fallen? Do you know God’s promises and are you ready to pray them, live them, and teach them to others? Will you be like Daniel and stand in the gap for the people of your neighborhood? May God bless you and help you as you live for Him daily.