Daniel 9:17-19 (ESV) 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
In Daniel 9 we have recorded Daniel’s prayer to God for the people. Daniel seeks God in prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (9:3).
Daniel praises God and confesses their sin. Daniel agrees with God that it is just and according to his word he gave to Moses that they are in the distress they are in.
Daniel is pouring out his heart and hurts and the reality of their distress to the Lord.
How can Daniel be sure God hears and has compassion for him and the people? Is it because they are doing better? Is it because they are now completely squeaky clean from all sin? Is it because they have compiled enough merit to get God’s favorable attention?
What I find joyfully amazing is the basis of Daniel’s prayers and petition to the Lord is none of that. Daniel says explicitly that he presents their petitions before God “not…on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion.” (Daniel 9:18).
Here is one of those moments that God’s word prepares us for the Advent of Jesus and his work to present himself as the sacrifice for our sin and the continual covering of our sin so that we can come and experience the love of the Father for us.
God has every reason in the world to judge them and us rightly on the basis of our work, but he chooses to not do that.
Here, God passes over their sin and treats them based on his righteousness alone.
Romans 3:21-26 tells us how this happens. God passes over their sin until Jesus would come and pay for that sin on the cross so that God is just in judging their sin at the cross and the justifier of people who trust in Jesus’ work on the cross.
Daniel, moved by the Holy Spirit sees the mercy of God available in the upcoming cross of Christ and preaches to us beforehand about how we get prayers answered. We appeal to God on the abundant righteousness of Jesus. We appeal to God based on the fame and reputation of Jesus. We don’t appeal to God based on how good we are doing.
How is this possible? The Advent of Jesus to die in our place and for our sin so that he might become the all-sufficient, merciful, and faithful high priest of the people of God.
Worship Jesus today in this Advent season.