Daniel 9_1-19 According to God's righteousness
According to God’s righteousness
Forgive, listen, act, do not delay!
Preparatory Service 1st September 2006, 7.30pm
Call to worship
How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hymn no 102: “Sovereign grace o'er sin abounding”
Prayer of Adoration and Invocation
Hymn: “The Price is Paid”
Sermon “According To God’s Righteousness”
In the diagram on the screen I tried to put forward God’s interaction with man and man’s response to God.
I want to go to the Westminster Confession of Faith to just borrow its vocabulary on what the covenant is.
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never enjoy fruit of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant (WCF 7:1)
Condescension: behaviour or an example of behaviour that implies that somebody (God) is graciously lowering himself to the level of people less important or intelligent.
Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offers to sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained to eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe. (WCF 7:3)
When Daniel prayed to God as it is recorded in Daniel 9, he did so in the basis of God’s Covenant of grace. He searched the Scriptures first, read about God’s Covenant promises and then based his prayer on that Covenant and its promises.
Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon in the year 605BC. When we meet him in Chapter 9, it is the year 639-638. Almost 60 years of the seventy prophesied by Jeremiah had passed. Now Daniel pleaded before God to bring about those promises.
He took as the premise of his plea the faithfulness of God. He never doubted it; rather, he founded his plea in it. He confessed his sin and the sin of his people. The confession of sin was once again based on the stipulations of the Covenant. He calls it “departing from Your precepts and Your judgements.” In the deepest sense of the Word their disobedience was a rebellion against the Word of God as brought to them by the prophets. The last Chapter of 2Chronicles gives us this account:
The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)
He confessed the distance between them and God, as if this distance could never be bridged (verse 7).
Why were they in captivity, under the Babylonian yoke? Read verse 10:
we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. (Daniel 9:10)
What did God do about their waywardness? Read verse 11:
All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. (Daniel 9:11)
Now what did the Lord say to his people through his servant Moses? Read Deut 28:36-37
The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the Lord will drive you. (Deuteronomy 28:36-37)
Listen to the prayer of Daniel, acknowledging the righteousness of God in dealing with them according to his Covenant:
Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. (Daniel 9:16)
Did God deal unjustly? Did it come as a surprise to the people? No. Read verse 12:
You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:12)
Is God full of hatred by doing this to his people? Is He not supposed to be a God of love? Read verse 14:
The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. (Daniel 9:14)
How would the people be saved then? By righteousness they were condemned and judged? By what would they be restored? Daniel had but one plea:
O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. (Daniel 9:16)
What was the ground upon which Daniel could pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness and restoration? Was there anything he or his people could claim to have merited to ask God’s forgiveness? NO! Read verse 18:
Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. (Daniel 9:18)
Why would God listen? Read verse 19
O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (Daniel 9:19)
The reason for God’s righteousness and mercies does not lie in any one of us, but in Himself; his is the glory; his Name is to be hallowed; His people needs to be restored because He bought them from all eternity in the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. For his own sake He will act. For his own sake He has acted. There was a cross and an open grave.
We will sit at the table of the Lord. Let’s confess our sins be God, let’s plea on only one ground: his righteousness and mercy, for his Name’s sake; let’s ask God to restore the glory of his church under the Headship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord who came to fulfil the Covenant and its righteousness. AMEN.
Hymn no 515: “Search my O God”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14)