Read Daniel 9:1-2. Daniel says that he “understood by books” the prophecy he is studying so carefully. What book or books of the Bible does he mean?
As we look into this prayer, it becomes clear that it arises from an in-depth study of God’s previous revelation to Moses and the prophets. Having learned from Jeremiah’s scroll that his period of captivity will last seventy years (see Jer. 25:11-12; Jer. 29:10), Daniel understands the importance of the historical moment in which he is living.
Let us bear in mind that Daniel offers this prayer in 539 B.C., the year that the Persian Empire replaces Babylon. So almost seventy years have elapsed since Nebuchadnezzar has conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Therefore, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, God’s people will soon return to their homeland. Trusting the Word of God, Daniel knows that something momentous is about to happen to his people and that, just as God promises in His Word, the exile in Babylon shall soon end and the Jews will return to their home.
From his study of the Scriptures available to him, Daniel also realizes how serious the sins of his people are. Because they have broken the covenant, they have severed their relationship with God; the inevitable consequence is, therefore, the exile (Lev. 26:14-45). Thus, it is the study of God’s revelation that provides Daniel with an understanding of the times and that gives him a sense of urgency to plead with God on behalf of the people.
As we approach the last days of earth’s history, we need more than ever to study and live according to God’s Word. Only Scripture can provide us with an authoritative explanation of the world we live in. After all, Scripture tells the story of the great controversy between good and evil, and thus reveals that human history will close with the obliteration of evil and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. The more we study the Scriptures, the better we can understand the contemporary situation of the world and our place in it, as well as our reasons for hope amid a world that offers none.
|How does the Bible help us understand to some degree a world that, in and of itself, can so easily seem to make no sense at all?|