One of the most famous prayers in all the Old Testament is in Daniel 9. Having learned from reading the prophet Jeremiah that the time of Israel’s “desolations” (Daniel 9:2), seventy years, was soon to be up, Daniel earnestly began praying.
And what a prayer it was — a poignant and tearful supplication in which he confesses his sins and the sins of his people, while at the same time acknowledging God’s justice amid the calamity that had befallen them.
Read Daniel 9:1-19. What themes can you find that are related directly back to the book of Deuteronomy?
Daniel’s prayer is a summary of exactly what the nation had been warned about in Deuteronomy regarding the fruits of not keeping their end of the covenant. Twice Daniel referred back to “the law of Moses” (Daniel 9:11, Daniel 9:13), which certainly included Deuteronomy and, in this case, might have been specifically referring to it.
How tragic, too, that instead of the nations around them saying, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deuteronomy 4:6), Israel became a “reproach” (Daniel 9:16) to those same nations.
In all of Daniel’s tears and supplications, he never asks the common question that so many ask when disaster strikes: “Why?” He never asks because, thanks to the book of Deuteronomy, he knows exactly why all these things happened. In other words, Deuteronomy gave Daniel (and other exiles) a context in which to understand that the evil that came upon them wasn’t just blind fate, blind chance, but the fruits of their disobedience, exactly what they had been warned about.
But, and perhaps more important, Daniel’s prayer expressed the reality that despite these events, there was hope. God had not abandoned them, no matter how much it might have seemed that way. Deuteronomy provided not only a context for understanding their situation, but it also pointed to the promise of restoration, as well.
|Read Daniel 9:24-27, the prophecy of Jesus and His death on the cross. Why would this prophecy be given to Daniel (and to the rest of us) in the context of Israel’s exile and the promise of return?|