13 July, 2024

June 30 Study | Vision and Insight

by | 24 June, 2024 | 0 comments

Unit: Daniel 
Theme: Revealer of Mysteries
Lesson Text: Daniel 9:1-6, 14-27 
Supplemental Texts: Daniel 8:1, 15-19, 27; Jeremiah 25:1-14, Mark 1:14-15; 1 Peter 1:1-12 
Aim: Pray for insight into God’s vast, eternal plan and the part you play in it. 

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Download a PDF of this week’s lesson material (the study by Mark Scott, the Application by David Faust, and Discovery Questions): LOOKOUT_June30_2024.

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By Mark Scott

Bible study and prayer go together like peas and carrots (thank you, Forrest Gump). They really do work in tandem like two rowboat oars. Of all the spiritual disciplines, Bible study and prayer must remain at the top. That is especially true when we find ourselves in the latter chapters of the book of Daniel. The content of chapters 7–12 is challenging to say the least. Ongoing study and seeking God in prayer are our best posture for understanding them. 

In the first few chapters of Daniel, we learn much about the Babylonian kingdom. But in the latter chapters, we learn much about the kingdoms that followed the Chaldeans (e.g., The Medes, Persians, Greeks, and Romans). We see in Daniel 5:31, 6:1, and 9:1 that Darius (a Mede by descent) was in control, having conquered Babylon. But in 7:1 and 8:1, we revert back to the visions Daniel had in the first and third years of Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon. And these visions run parallel to the dreams Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel 2 and 4.  

Bible Study and Prayer Grant Vision and Insight 
Daniel 9:1-19 

Even though Daniel must have been busy working for his new boss, Darius the Mede, he took time during the first year of Darius’s reign to study his Bible (i.e., scroll of Jeremiah). Daniel evidently had been reading what we reference as Jeremiah 25, where the weeping prophet prophesies that the exile would last 70 years. Daniel did the math and realized that the exile was almost concluded—which means Daniel spent almost his entire life in exile, albeit in positions of influence for pagan kings.  

Daniel 9 is one of the most penitent prayers in the Bible. It was heartfelt and full of contrition. Daniel’s sins are not recorded in Scripture, but the prophet realized he shared in the sins of his people. He was a remarkable leader; God declared that fact through another prophet (see Ezekiel 14:20). The earnestness of Daniel’s prayer was seen in the following words: prayer, petition, fasting, sackcloth, ashes, and confession. But before interceding for Jerusalem, Daniel leaned heavily into the greatness of God. He acknowledged how great God was and how, in spite of Israel not keeping their end of the covenant, God kept his. He was faithful to his covenant. In addition, God was righteous.  

Daniel spared no words in his intercessory confession. Consider the following words: wicked, rebelled, turned away, not listened, not obeyed, sinned, done wrong, and iniquities. This was truly reality therapy. Daniel admitted that God had every right to punish Israel, bring disaster on them, and make the people of God an object of scorn to the peoples of the earth. He pleaded, nonetheless, out of respect for the veracity of God’s name, for the Lord to look with mercy on the desolate sanctuary (temple) in Jerusalem and forgive the people. He prayed it with the highest motives—his concern for God’s own name. 

Vision and Insight Drive Us Back to Bible Study and Prayer 
Daniel 9:20-27 

It has been said, “God is rarely early but never late.” On this occasion, however, God was speedy in his answer to Daniel’s marvelous prayer. God sent Gabriel (one of only two angels named in the Bible) to affirm and encourage Daniel, and to inform him how the future was going to unfold. More than once, Gabriel told Daniel that he was highly esteemed (greatly loved).  

Gabriel informed Daniel of the future. The question might be: What future and how far into the future are we looking? This vision and insight will drive us to study this topic throughout the Bible—and not limit ourselves to just this passage. Here are a few specifics to keep in mind: (1) Seventy “sevens” are 490 (years?). (2) Somewhere in those 490 (years?), Jerusalem will be finally atoned for their wickedness. (3) Jerusalem will at some point be restored. (4) At some point, the Anointed One will be put to death. (5) Jerusalem will be destroyed yet again.  

What does it all predict? Keeping in mind that predictive prophecy is often piecemeal and fragmentary, will some of these events happen early and some happen much later? Possibly—many evangelicals certainly think so. Or could it span the time the exiles return to the rededication of the temple under Ezra and Nehemiah, to the time of Jesus, and ultimately to the time when Titus, the Roman general, conquered Jerusalem in AD 70, which marked the end of official Judaism? Daniel’s vision drives us back to study our Bibles and pray again.  

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