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Promise Made is A Promise Kept!

Standing Firm & Staying Faithful In God's Sovereignty -- An Exposition of Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:40
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Tourist vs Busboy

In Christianity Today, Philip Yancey writes:

I remember my first visit to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Rings of Japanese and German tourists surrounded the geyser, their video cameras trained like weapons on the famous hole in the ground. A large, digital clock stood beside the spot, predicting 24 minutes until the next eruption.

My wife and I passed the countdown in the dining room of Old Faithful Inn overlooking the geyser. When the digital clock reached one minute, we, along with every other diner, left our seats and rushed to the windows to see the big, wet event.

I noticed that immediately, as if on signal, a crew of busboys and waiters descended on the tables to refill water glasses and clear away dirty dishes. When the geyser went off, we tourists oohed and aahed and clicked our cameras; a few spontaneously applauded. But, glancing back over my shoulder, I saw that not a single waiter or busboy—not even those who had finished their chores—looked out the huge windows. Old Faithful, grown entirely too familiar, had lost its power to impress them.

Few things are more quickly taken for granted than God’s faithfulness. But few things are more important. God’s faithfulness deserves our untiring praise and wonder.

I think far too often we approach God’s Faithfulness more like the busboys, than we do the tourists…we loose sight of the fact that God is always faithful to act upon His Word…we come to church and hear the Scriptures expounded to us and we might be challenged by it for a day or maybe even a week if we are really spiritual…but far too often we go about the day to day operations of life not thinking about how faithful God is to do what He said He would do.
this morning we find ourselves in Daniel 9…if you are new with us, we’ve been walking through the book of Daniel and we’ve entitled this series…Staying Faithful & Standing Firm In the Sovereignty of God...
Daniel is a book that is filled with historical narratives that describe the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men in amazing detail…and beginning in chapter 7 it moves to words of prophecy, some of which has already transpired and some of which is yet to transpire...
Time and time again God has shown His ability to make predictions about the Gentile nations and their rise and fall. God was faithful to His Word in remarkable detail.
Daniel 9 will reveal to us again how faithful God is to His word and provide Daniel with what is seen as one of the most important prophetical texts in all of Scripture.

Main Point: Stay Faithful Knowing That God Keeps His Word!

We would do well to pay attention to and seek to understand the prophecies as truth from God that will come to pass…God Keeps His Word…a promise made is a promise kept...
Three reasons we need to pay attention to the Word of God.

It Is Truth and Worthy of Trust (9:1-2).

READ Daniel 9:1-2
As we trace world history, the king mentioned here and the time mentioned here place this chapter in 539 BC…Babylon is no longer the world empire…it had fallen just like God said it would…and now the Medes and the Persians are the dominant world power…
What Daniel believed is...

The Word of God is Absolute Truth

It was obvious to Daniel that when he was reading what Jeremiah wrote, he was reading the Word of God…it was absolute truth to Daniel.
Daniel already knew that the Medo-Persian empire would conquer Babylon…God revealed that truth to Daniel earlier.
But long before Daniel’s day, both Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted the fall of Babylon, so when Daniel read Jeremiah he knew he could trust what he was reading was true.
We know exactly where Daniel was reading in Jeremiah…note that back then there were no chapters and verses…but here is what he read...
Jeremiah 25:11–12 NASB95
‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.
Jeremiah 29:10 NASB95
“For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.
The point here is that Daniel recognized that what he read was from God and that it deserved his attention…
Daniel also believed...

The God of The Word is Absolutely Trustworthy

Daniel labeled Jeremiah’s writings as the Word of YAHWEH…this is the first time Daniel would use this name for God…it was well known to the Jews…it is Jehovah, the covenant making and covenant keeping name of God…God made a covenant with them that as long as they obeyed, they would be blessed, but He also warned them that continual disobedience would bring judgment…

God is absolutely trustworthy to not only carry out the good of His covenant, He can be trusted to carry out the warnings of disobedience.

You can trust the fact that when God said there was going to be judgment, there is going to be judgment.
In 2 Chronicles 36:21, we see that one of the reasons the nation was judged is because they had not kept the sabbath year…that is critical to our understanding of Daniel 9…explain more later...
2 Chronicles 36:21 NASB95
to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.
We need to know that the Sabbath wasn’t just a day of the week, it was also a year out of every seven years…remember that little detail as we go along...
but every seventh year, they were supposed to let their land rest and they hadn’t been doing that for 490 years, since the days of Eli the priest…
This is why the captivity lasted for 70 years, on the basis of this and other texts, they were judged one year for every sabbath year they missed.
God had commanded His people to give the land a “sabbath rest” every seven years and a Year of Jubilee every fifty years…Lev. 25…both the 49th and 50th years would be sabbatic years when the people were not allowed to sow seed or cultivate their orchards.
They needed to trust God to make the food grow to meet their daily needs…It wasn’t until the nation was taken captive by Babylon that the land would enjoy its sabbath rest.
God gave His word that there would be a coming judgment, but many of His people would not believe Him, and in turn mocked and ridiculed those who told them the truth of God’s Word.

Implications for Us

What is your attitude towards the Word of God here in 2018?…God is not going to speak to you like He did Daniel and other OT/NT writers…in dreams and visions and audible voices…He did everything He needed to do to give you His completed and eternal Word that will never change…God will never do or say anything to you that contradicts His Word…Is God’s Word Sufficient To Provide All You Need For Life And Godliness? What evidence exists in your life that communicates you live by that truth?
2 Peter 1:19 NASB95
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
Here is a second reason...

It Ought to Drive Us To Worship and Prayer (9:3-19)

Here we have Daniel who recognized God’s Word as truth and also recognized that God was faithful to do what He said He would do and he believed that God was not done fulfilling His Word.
Jeremiah 29:11 NASB95
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
This is also what Daniel read…he knew he could trust God to fulfill His Word... they were in captivity because God fulfilled His Word…so when Daniel read that text from Jeremiah he knew he could trust it and trust the God who said it…and it made an impact on what Daniel did next...
As a result of his time in the Word, Daniel is driven to worship and prayer...he was reminded of the wickedness within his own heart, the wickedness of his people and the need to seek God’s forgiveness...

True Worship Brings Confession.

There is A Confession of Who God Is

Notice the way Daniel describes God
Daniel 9:4 - Great and awesome, who keeps his covenant and lovingkindness
Daniel 9:7- righteousness belongs to thee
Daniel 9:9 to the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness
Daniel 9:12- He has confirmed His words
these are the words come from the heart of a person who gets it…who knows and believes God is loving enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to make a covenant and keep that covenant, whether it is in keeping the good side of the covenant or the discipline side of the covenant...even if God promised judgment 70 years ago…when we read and study God’s Word we ought to always walk away with a greater appreciation for who God is.

There is A Confession Of Who We Are

Notice what Daniel says about himself and his people...
Daniel 9:5 - we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, rebelled, turned aside from your ordinances
Daniel 9:6 - haven’t listened to your servants
Daniel 9:7- to us open shame, because of their unfaithful deeds
Daniel 9:8 — open shame belongs to us, we sinned against thee
Daniel 9:9 - we rebelled against thee
Daniel 9:10 - nor have we obeyed His voice
Daniel 9:11 - all Israel transgressed
This could very well describe God’s people in 2018...
When brought face to face with the Word of God it revealed to him the truth of who he was, who his people were and who God was and there was a distinct difference that moved Him to worship Yahweh.

True Worship Brings Repentance

Daniel reads the prophecy of Jeremiah and realizes the 70 year captivity is nearing the end…Daniel recognized that God had a plan that involved forgiveness...
Daniel quickly recognizes the need to seek that forgiveness for himself and his people, because he was convinced that God is the covenant making and keeping God that promised to forgive...Daniel didn’t want to miss out on the joy of repentance, and the joy of forgiveness, and the joy of restoration and reconciliation…
Read Daniel 9:18-19for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion…Daniel knew God to be full of compassion, so he repented and pleaded with God, based on God’s character, to act now and forgive His people now, and restore them now…God will answer that prayer, but not in a way that Daniel would expect...

Implications

I have to ask this here this morning, do your encounters with the Word of God bring this same reaction in your heart that it did to Daniel? Are you driven to worship and prayer?
Even on Sunday, when you are here in this building are you worshipping worship, or are you worshipping the God of worship? (Explain)

The desire of our hearts, every time we gather for worship, ought to be one of wanting to draw closer to Him through a greater understanding of the truth He revealed to us!

Point of personal evaluation…what would your response be if the Leadership of MBC deciphered that there was too much division in the church because of the music and they believed God wanted us to eliminate all music from our worship services (no we are not going to do that)…what would you do if we came in at 10:45 and all we did was preach and teach the Word of God?…are you worshipping worship, or are you worshipping the God of the Word? Daniel didn’t need music to worship…he needed the truth and after reading the truth, he broke out in worship and prayer...
We are told by God that those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth…music aides the worship in spirit, all of us could use a little or a lot more spirit in our worship…but the sad news is that in many churches, worship of worship music has supplanted the worship of God in truthwe need a balance of both...

The worship of God through music ought to be the bombardment of truth to the beachfront of our hardened hearts that softens the ground towards a readiness for God to launch the army of biblical truth into our lives.

We ought to always be ready to respond to the truth of Scripture the way Daniel does…but it seems more and more prevalent that God’s people would much rather worship worship than repent and change when the truth of God’s Word is communicated.
James 1:21–25 NASB95
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
God is not going to bless us because of our like or dislike of worship music, God will bless those who are obedient to the Word!

It Reveals God’s Plan (9:20-27)

As a result of Daniel’s faithfulness and repentance, God was highly pleased with him and answered his prayer…God gave him some very important elements of His timetable for Israel.
Read Daniel 9:22-23

Understanding the Seventy Weeks

Read Daniel 9:24
The word for week here, heptad, literally means “sevens”…Daniel is told that seventy sets of seven have been determined for his people, his city, his temple…prophecy concerning Israel…before it was all Gentiles, now it is focused on Israel.
Seventy sevens of what?
we have to look at the context the words are used in…in Daniel 9:2, we know that Daniel has years in mind…so in Daniel 9:24 we conclude it has to be seventy groups of seven years…practically every Biblical scholar agrees with this.
Gabriel is telling Daniel that seventy weeks of years, or seventy times seven years, total of 490 years, is required to fulfill God’s prophetic timetable for Israel.
that’s why it was so important that we made the note about Israel going into captivity to begin with because they hadn’t kept, not the Sabbath day, but the Sabbath years.
One more important note…the Jewish calendar is built around a 360 day year.
The entire prophecy here is in relationship to Israel and the city of Jerusalem…it has nothing to do with the Gentiles…there are six important transactions that must take place in this timetable...

Six Important Transactions

to finish the transgression
has the transgression been finished? in other words, has Israel (or the entire world for that matter) stopped transgressing against God’s law…NO!
to make an end of sin
Does sin still exist?…just look at your kids, right...
to make atonement for iniquity
Yes this has happened…In Christ alone
to bring in everlasting righteousness
Is there any evidence on the earth right now that Israel has a right relationship with God and that an era of righteousness pervades the earth? … just watch the news!
to seal up vision and prophecy
Do we still have need today to hear the Word of God and be taught what God thinks and does…yes, because He is not in front of us physically telling us go here, do that...
to anoint the most holy place
Is there a temple in Israel that God has declared to be the place where He dwells with his people?…NO
So has the verse been literally and completely fulfilled? No…it is our conclusion then that this refers to a time that is yet future.

Has this Timetable Started?

Yes...Read Daniel 9:25… stop after “rebuild Jerusalem”
This timetable has been broken down into three phases
Phase 1 = 7 sets of 7 years = 49 years
Phase 2 = 62 sets of 7 years = 434 years
Phase 3 = 1 set of 7 years = 7 years
Total = 490 years
When did Phase 1 begin?…We know historically that Nehemiah received permission to go and rebuild the wall at Jerusalem in 445 BC...you can read about that in Nehemiah 2:1-8…in fact it’s so precise it even gives the month and the year.
That corresponds to our March 14th…Phase 1 of this timetable began with that decree that was given on March 14th of 445 BC and it took 49 years to complete!
And it was built during a time of distress!

Let’s Do the Math

69 x 7 years = 483 years (sum of Phase 1 and Phase 2)
483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days.
If you plot that on a calendar, that comes out to April 6th, 32.
What happened on April 6th, 32?...all sorts of Bible scholars believe that is exactly when Jesus Christ made his triumphal entry to Jerusalem and seven days later he was crucified on the cross of Calvary.
Messiah the Prince is a Hebrew phrase that means “the anointed One, the Ruler”prince is associated with kingly authority…it is used here to describe the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ as a prince and ruler…thus the belief that this points to the Triumphal Entry when Jesus was presented to the Jewish people as their Messianic Prince…see Zech 9:9 and Luke 19.
So Phase 2 began when the wall was completed and ended with the Messiah the Prince entering Jersualem on a donkey at the Triumphal Entry in 32 AD.
Let me pause for just a moment and ask…At what point are we going to recognize our need to hear and obey the Word of God? If God can prophesy with this incredible accuracy, hundreds of years before it happens…don’t you think we had better take notice to what He says to us today and change accordingly?

We are presently living in the gap between the 69th and 70th week.

Even though Jesus was presented as the Messiah King on that day, the Jewish leaders, as representatives of the entire nation, rejected Jesus as the Messiah…John 1:11 tells us that He came to His own but they did not receive Him…at that point the pause button was pushed and God was going to set them aside for a period of time while He worked through this new organism called the church…only God knows when He will resume His work with Israel nationally…until that time comes, there is a gap between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of God’s timetable.
In the Old Testament, prophets typically saw events in the future as a series of mountain peaks in the distance…that perspective makes it difficult to see the distance between one peak and the other…Daniel saw the 69th & 70th week as separate events without knowing there would be a gap of more than two thousand years between them...
We know there is a gap between these weeks because of what we looked at earlier in Daniel 9:24 with the six transactions that would occur in Israel’s future…there has not been a complete fulfillment of that text yet!

Two Events At the Beginning of the Gap

What we discover from Daniel here is that there are going to be two events that take place near the beginning of that gap in time...
Read Daniel 9:26
The Messiah is cut off…the literal rendering of that phrase is to cut off and have nothingthat accurately describes the death of Jesus…died alone, abandoned by friends, ridiculed by enemies, seemingly forsaken by His Father.
The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…Jerusalem and the Temple that was rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah would be destroyed again…this happens in AD 70 at the hands of the Romansthe people of the prince to come…the Antichrist.

The Tribulation Begins With A Covenant

Read Daniel 9:27
He will make a covenant for one week…7 years…The Gentile world leader who rises from the 10 kingdom federation of the Revived Roman Empire, the man of sin known as the Antichrist, will make a treaty with the nation of Israel granting it protection from nations seeking her annihilation…he deceptively convinces them they will experience religious normalcy and safety.
Then after 3 1/2 years he will break that treaty and unleash unprecedented fury…this is also known as the Great Tribulation that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24:21 and also is described in great detail in Revelation 4-19
He will desecrate the Temple and set himself up as God and it could go on for a long time but Jesus coming to earth to judge him puts an end to it, thus ending the 70th week.

Life Lesson — Be A Doer of the Word

We have all we need to live for God, we have the truth of God’s Word that guides our steps...and to repeat the words of Peter…we would do well to pay attention...
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