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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Daniel-Greatly Beloved of God

It is said of the Prophet Daniel that he is greatly beloved of God. Jesus spoke of Daniel during His earthly ministry. What was it about Daniel that made him so great in stature and effective prayer? I think Chapter 9 gives a clue.

In this prayer Daniel identified with the Children of Israel living in captivity in Babylon. Even though he faithfully prayed facing Jerusalem three times a day, he still realized that it was only by the grace of God that he held the position he had in a foreign kingdom. He never forgot about the City of God and what it was supposed to represent on earth.

He identified with the fallen nature and sin of his people. Although he knew his prayers were heard and he had instant contact with the heavens, he still identified with those who were walking in darkness. His compassion for his brethern is astounding in context with his relationship with God.

Consider, Daniel had angels answer his questions. He spent an entire night in a dungeon entertained by hungry lions, and his three copatriots were thrown into and saved from a firey furnace. Christ Himself appeared and walked in the fire! If I knew God this well the last thing I would want to do is identify with anyone that was not in a proper relationship with God. But not Daniel. And Christ was not like this during His ministry. Jesus was accused of frequenting the company of drunkerds,  tax collectors, and even a prostitute.

Consider Daniel's intercessory prayer where he identifies with the sins of his people, the reason for their captivity, and his pleading with God for forgiveness, restoration and the return of Israel to its proper place. In this context, we also can identify with the sins of our people, our friends and family members. We were the same way until the grace and mercies of God saw fit to rescue us. 

Here is the prayer. It is amazing how it can fit into our daily prayers of intercession~

" And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought Thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten Thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly."

" O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, I beseech Thee, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy Holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now, therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake."

" O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy Name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy Name."

This mindset is appropriate for our day. You can almost hear the pathos and pity in Daniel's voice. Our nation, the United States of America is known around the world as being founded on the Judean - Christian values of the Bible. The founders always spoke of their total dependence upon God. 

How the mighty have fallen! In my own life I have seen the evidence of unbelief, doubt, fear and defeat. What kind of witness is this for one who believes in God? Doubt is evidence of giving Satan a more powerful position that God! Fear is an admission that God is not powerful enough to rescue His people. It is no different that the 10 spies who turned against Moses and Aaron when it was time to go into the Land and overcome the enemies. 

There is severe punishment for fear and doubt. Daniel did not fear a lion's den. The three Hebrew children in Babylon did not fear a firey furnace. Why do we doubt and fear? What kind of witness is that?

God forgive us! I identify with these things. I ask God's forgiveness daily in this regard. There are times when the enemy comes in like a lion and we are caught off guard and a momentary period of fear occurs. But we have been given strong promises and God has established enough massive deliverance in His Word that we can overcome these attacks. How? By His Word and reading and remembering His promises to us.

I can identify with what our nation, my neighbors and coworkers are going through. I am just a sinner saved by the grace of God. My prayers now contain a reminder to God that He saved me from an eternity without Him. I request that He forgive our nation's sins just as He has forgiven mine. 

Prayer like Daniel's is effective and fervent prayer.  

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