Daniel is one of the most godly and upright men we read about in the Bible. He never wavered, even through the most difficult of circumstances. When Israel, his homeland, was invaded by Babylon, a teenage Daniel was enslaved and taken far away from his home to do the bidding of King Nebuchadnezzar. Yet Daniel remained committed to obedience, even when faced with the lion’s den.
I’ve been reading through the book of Daniel in my quiet time. In chapter nine, Daniel is now an old man. He survived the takeover of the Babylonian kingdom by the Medes and the Persians. His people have endured exile now for seventy years – the amount of time Daniel understood from Scripture to be the length of their discipline from God.
Daniel began to mourn and pray and petition God to intervene on behalf of His people. Now here’s the part that really struck me.
“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 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 9:18-19
From a human perspective, if anyone “deserved” for God to hear and answer his prayer it would be someone like Daniel. But because he had an inkling of the awesome greatness of God, Daniel was humble. He recognized his sinfulness – especially in comparison to the holiness of God.
Daniel asked God to act, to answer his prayer for Israel, not because he or the people had earned anything. His request was based on the character of God Himself. Because God is merciful. Because God is forgiving. All so God’s name would be glorified on the earth when He moved to help His people.
Lord, glorify your name today. Move on behalf of the people who bear your name. Not because we deserve anything, but because you deserve everything! Amen.