They were used to the old man praying toward Jerusalem three times a day—but this?
He had been fine until he’d opened the book of that Jewish prophet, Jeremiah. Why was Daniel in such great mourning? What passage got him in such a state anyway?
“And this whole land,” Jeremiah had written of Israel, “shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
“And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.”
And the seventy years, Daniel had realized, were almost up!
“Cause thy face to shine…”
So Daniel—perhaps remembering Solomon’s dedicatory prayer over the Jerusalem temple—“set his face unto the Lord God…”
So here we see him, sitting in the ashes. Praying. His prayer was later written down.
“O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
“Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake…”
Daniel knew Israel had been carried into bondage because of their disobedience and iniquity. He admitted this to the Lord. But if the case was hopeless he would not now be in sackcloth and ashes mourning before the Lord. Praying toward Jerusalem. The holy city whose name means “foundation of peace”. The city named after God.
“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness…” Daniel prayed. “…he hath confirmed his words…”
He had confirmed them then, he would confirm them now…bring Israel again to Jerusalem, the “foundation of peace.”
Is there a scriptural promise we would claim—not through our merits but through Christ’s mercies?
Search the scriptures and see if there is a promise to help you today. Remember, just like for Daniel and his people, work is involved to gain the promised blessing. For his people it was repentance, confession, humility and obedience.
What scriptural promise are you claiming? Leave a comment below!