Adult Sunday School Lesson for January 21, 2018
To purify our faith by confessing our collective and individual sins to our loyal God
Background: Daniel 9:1-19
Daniel 9:4-8, 15-19 (CEB)
4 As I prayed to the Lord my God, I made this confession: Please, my Lord—you are the great and awesome God, the one who keeps the covenant, and truly faithful to all who love him and keep his commands:
5 We have sinned and done wrong. We have brought guilt on ourselves and rebelled, ignoring your commands and your laws. 6 We haven’t listened to your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our leaders, our parents, and to all the land’s people. 7 Righteousness belongs to you, my Lord! But we are ashamed this day—we, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all Israel whether near or far, in whatever country where you’ve driven them because of their unfaithfulness when they broke faith with you. 8 Lord, we are ashamed— we, our kings, our leaders, and our parents who sinned against you. . . .
15 “But now, my Lord, our God—you who brought your people out of Egypt with a strong hand, making a name for yourself even to this day: We have sinned and done the wrong thing.” 16 My Lord, please! In line with your many righteous acts, please turn your raging anger from Jerusalem, which is your city, your own holy mountain. Because of our sins and the wrongdoing of our parents, both Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace to all our neighbors.
17 “But now, our God, listen to your servant’s prayer and pleas for help. Shine your face on your ruined sanctuary, for your own sake, my Lord. 18 Open your ears, my God, and listen! Open your eyes and look at our devastation. Look at the city called by your name! We pray our prayers for help to you, not because of any righteous acts of ours but because of your great compassion. 19 My Lord, listen! My Lord, forgive! My Lord, pay attention and act! Don't delay! My God, do all this for your own sake, because your city and your people are called by your name.
“ My Lord, listen! My Lord, forgive! My Lord, pay attention and act! Don't delay! My God, do all this for your own sake, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (Daniel 9:19)
Our lesson for this week includes one of the greatest prayers we find in scripture. As we will find next week, God was so moved by Daniel’s prayer that He sent His archangel Gabriel to Daniel while he was still praying.
As chapter 9 begins we note that Darius, Ahasuerus’ son, was the king of the Medes and Persians. There were several Darius’s recorded as king of the Persians and Medes.
Daniel’s life span was from the beginning to the end of captivity. The captivity lasted for 70 years. According to Jeremiah the seventy years were in response to the Israelite disobeying the command of God to rest the land every seventh year. Because from the beginning of the united kingdom in 1096 B.C. to the beginning of captivity in 606 B.C. there should have been 70 sabbatical years of rest for the land. Because none of these were observed God took it upon Himself to see that the land had 70 years of rest while the Israelite were in captivity. (490 years equal 70 sabbath years.)
In Daniel's prayer (lament) he agrees with God’s punishment, and acknowledges the mistakes, sins, and disobedience that have been made by not only the rulers, but everyone. No one is found faithful, and the sins are universal. It is very hard to question God’s judgement, because He knows our deepest darkest thoughts.
Repentance and forgiveness are our only hope, because of His righteousness. It is sometimes hard for us to admit that God loves the sinner just as much as He loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us “But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Pleading for forgiveness to a Holy God is our only hope as stated in verse 18 “not because of any righteous acts of ours but because of your great compassion.”
Our key verse offers us a good pattern for approaching God and asking for His forgiveness. What God does and we ask should always glorify God, iit is all for His glory and not for our comfort.
My hymn for this week is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”