As Pastor Mark takes us through the epic book of Daniel, he is bringing out so many amazing insights! One of those insights is found in Chapter 9 as Daniel prays. Daniel is praying for his entire nation. Have you ever wondered why at times it seems as if some of the promises in the Word are being blocked? Can we find clues in Daniel’s prayer as to why, at times, we feel like something is blocking biblical promises to our nation?
Daniel 9:5: “We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.”
Daniel, this man who is told that he is greatly beloved, is even including himself in this prayer. His humility and contrition are an example for all of us; as none of us is perfect. And so Daniel includes himself in his prayer. And he lays out the reasons why Israel is suffering consequences. How have these dreadful consequences come about? Daniel says it is because they had departed from G-d’s precepts and judgments.
Precepts are the commandments – the mitzvot. These are obligations, or the people’s responsibility to uphold and live by. G-d really intended for the commandments, when obeyed, to lead to a blessed life. Anything less than obedience to these would lead to consequences which would entail discipline to the “perpetrator” to usher them back onto the right path. Consequences mean that G-d sees, and He cares enough to keep us on track when we stray.
Then Daniel says, “we have departed from Your judgments.” Judgments are like the orders or arrangements G-d has made for how He requires us to behave toward one another. These are like the rules in a family of how siblings are to treat each other in order to keep things fair and loving. According to one lexicon, these judgments are absolute. As Yeshua clearly stated, Love one another! His words were not a suggestion. Do unto others as you want them to do to you. It’s so clear. But still, we don’t do it.
When a nation strays from G-d’s judgments by shedding innocent blood, by declaring marriage can go outside the bounds of that between a man and a woman, by condoning lawlessness, and the list goes on, can G-d bless that nation? An earthly father would not bless his children when they are fighting and squabbling and breaking all the house rules – there would be consequences. And our heavenly Father is not different.
Do we want to be blessed as a nation? Daniel so clearly reminds us we need to keep G-d’s precepts and judgments: follow His laws and treat each other with love; then as Daniel says, righteousness, mercy and forgiveness belong to G-d. How His heart must long for our nation to follow His loving instructions. It all begins with each one of us who make up this nation. May true repentance re-direct the heart of our nation.