READING: Daniel 8-10, 3 John 1
“Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against Him.”
Knowing that God’s people would be in bondage for some time, Daniel focused on praying to God on their behalf. His prayer was marked by “fasting, sackcloth, and ashes,” all recognized signs of grief and repentance (Dan. 9:3). The words and phrases he used to describe the sin of the people resounded with disobedience, almost as if the prophet were piling up the words to describe the depth of their wrong: “we have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from Your commands and ordinances. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets” (Dan. 9:5-6).
Knowing the people were guilty, the prophet interceded with passion and fervor: “Hear the prayer and the petitions of Your servant. Show Your favor . . . Listen, my God, and hear. Open Your eyes . . . . Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for Your own sake, do not delay” (Dan. 9:17-19). Daniel prayed with great focus, but he also knew that he and his people had no right to seek God’s favor. They had been guilty. If there were any grounds on which Daniel could pray, it would only be God’s “abundant compassion”—not on the basis of their “righteous acts” (Dan. 9:18).
As I think about my life today, I realize it fits well within Daniel’s prayer. I have sinned. I’ve done wrong. I’m a rebel by nature, and I’ve turned too often from God’s commands. Any hope I have is not at all because I’m righteous, but because God is compassionate. And to be honest, I’m very grateful that my salvation is dependent on Him and not on me.
- Think about God’s grace today. He loves us in ways we do not deserve.
- Take time today to have a deeply honest time of confession before God.
PRAYER: “God, I’m a sinner. I praise You for Your compassion.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Daniel 11-12, Jude 1