Daniel: Introduction (6)
God would not abandon His people in Babylon. He appointed 70 years for their captivity, at the end of which He promised to restore them to their own country. His chastening is always only for a season (Ps. 30.5), and His promises remain for us to enjoy, once chastening has accomplished its purpose. Jeremiah explained this in his letter to the captives, and Daniel claimed that promise, 70 years later, in passionate prayer.
Read Jeremiah 29.10-14
Read Daniel 9.1-3.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
Think it Through
1. Daniel endured all 70 years of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, and we will see that he made the most of the time God gave him. But in the seventieth year – perhaps when Daniel was in his mid-80s – he read God’s promise through Jeremiah. Why did this lead Daniel to turn immediately to prayer? What can we learn from Daniel about the relationship between prayer and the promises of God? Are your prayers guided by God’s promises? Explain.
2. From the beginning of His sending them into captivity, God promised to restore His people to their country. Meditate on Psalm 126, which was probably written before the captivity in Babylon, but anticipating it. How might a faithful Israelite have applied this psalm to his situation in Babylon, given what we read in Jeremiah 29.1-14? What would he have understood to be his duty in “sowing” despite his “tears”? To what “restoration” would he have been looking? Apply this psalm and Israel’s captivity in Babylon to the state of God’s Church today. What counsel or guidance do these offer?
“Jeremiah had predicted seventy years for the desolation of the temple, at the end of which the people would again return to Judea and build the temple and the city of Jerusalem. However, this fact did not render Daniel careless but rather encouraged him to pray that God might through his supplications fulfill that which he had graciously promised.” Jerome (347-420 AD)
You are my King, O God;
Command victories for Jacob.
Through You we will push down our enemies;
Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. Psalm 44.4, 5
Father, that Jesus and His Church have many enemies in our day is clear. We must not cower before them, but remember Your promises, and every day…
How shall we sing the LORD’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Psalm 137.4-6 (The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak)
How can we sing, exalt Your Name, or praises bring amid our shame?
If we forget Your Church’s fame, O Lord, then let our hands grow lame.
If ever praise forsake my tongue, if Zion’s ways no more be sung,
If greater joy by me be found, my lips destroy, no more to sound.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.