Everybody starts off with a family, at least a parent or two. But not everyone continues to be part of a family. The reasons for this are many. We drove to our hairdresser one morning recently and passed a young man, dirty and shabbily dressed, sitting on the curb. My glance his way captured this young man in great need. Maybe he was cast out of the family and home. Maybe he himself deserted the family and home. It’s hard to say but it is very sad to see the reality of street people, virtually all around the world … but I am talking about our country, our province, our city and our suburb. On the other side of the scale I came from a family where there was security on many levels. I can never say I was without or in need. I was part of that family and I felt part of that family. Many know this experience and I would encourage any reader to make certain this is true of you. As Daniel’s prayer progresses I see verse 15 as a key verse! Key because it speaks of family … God’s family.
1) A people God created for Himself.
Da 9:15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand”.
You will remember the promise God gave to Abraham:
Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
God told Abram (later his name was changed to Abraham) to leave his country, people and father’s home. This was not a sudden impulse or a desire to escape or even a want to escape paganism. No … God instructed him and he obeyed. God promised …
(1) To make Abraham into a great nation.
(2) To bless him … that is as a nation.
(3) To make his name great … again, as in a nation.
(4) And as a nation they would be a blessing. Note that through this nation God will bring into being, all peoples on earth will be blessed. (This would be through the Messiah who will come through this nation … and the Messiah was Jesus and through the Gospel all nations are indeed blessed! This would be the fulfilment of the messianic promised of Genesis 3v15.)
A few chapters later we read
Ge 15:5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Ge 15:7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
What stretch of land would this be?
Ge 15:18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Right here we have a description of the land … the geographical area / region that God promised to Abraham. In both the chapters, 12 and 15, we see three things God promised …
(i) That Abraham would be a people. A great nation … numerically uncountable.
(ii) That this people would have a place of their own. They would have a sizable chunk of real estate.
(iii) That this people, in their place would have a promise fulfilled.
Biblical Theology takes these three thoughts and draws it to its right conclusion in Jesus Christ. Through God’s electing grace, we are saved through faith and are made into the people of God, being assured of a place called heaven, through the fulfilled promise of the Savior Jesus. It is wonderful to see how the Old Testament’s promises are fulfilled in the New Testament. This reminds one that the Bible is indeed living and active
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2) Daniel is reminding God of how his people became the people of God when he prays … “who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand”. Let’s go back to God speaking to Abraham in a vision
Ge 15:13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
Unknown to Jacobs sons, they sold their brother Joseph into slavery only to land up in Egypt and rise to become Prime Minister of that nation. Years later, through a famine, these brothers go to purchase grain for food. (Read Genesis 37 to 50 for the full picture). Joseph finds his father is still living and brings him and all his children and their families to Egypt, where God builds them into a nation called Israel after Jacob. Once the famine was over and they become mighty in number, a pharaoh who did not know the history enslaved the Israelites. Eventually God raised up Moses who led them out of Egypt, through the years of desert wanderings. At the border of the Promised Land … before they entered Moses died and Joshua replaced him as leader. God continued to grow this nation which was a “scattered” people, living in clusters until king Saul came onto the scene, but especially through king David who united them into what was perhaps one of the most powerful nations of the time. After him, under Solomon, the nation started to fragment to the point where, when his son Rehoboam took the throne the nation split into two. Although there were good kings, mostly they were evil, leading the people into paganism and away from God. First the Northern Kingdom (Israel) went into the Assyrian Exile and ceased to exist. Then the Southern Kingdom (Judah) went into the Babylonian Exile. This is what Daniel is part of. Here is a thought before we continue with his prayer … If Daniel used Scripture in prayer … and God heard it … why do we not do the same? Reading the Bible ought to lead to meditation which in turn ought to lead to praying Scripture. This is the best way to pray … praying God’s Word back to Him!
Our Father, thank You for the many insights you give us through Your Word. Help us to use Your Word in prayer, through Jesus. Amen.