Daniel 9 - A God Who Keeps His Word

Steve Viars June 6, 1999 Daniel 9:

- Have you ever had someone make a significant promise to you, and then break it......?
- Have you ever had someone make a significant promise to you, and then keep it....?
- Twenty years ago I had just graduated from high school.
- I believed that God’s will for my life was to pursue pastoral ministry, so I was planning to begin attending Bible College that fall.
- It was a private school....I believe it was going to cost somewhere between 7 and 8 thousand dollars for my first’s year’s tuition....and I had no idea how I was going to pay.

- I had been working a minimum wage type job through high school, but the money from that job went to pay tuition at the Christian High School my parents allowed me to attend....so I really didn’t know how things were going to come together in the fall.
- a friend called me one night and told me about a pool building company that needed laborers badly, and that they would hire me on the spot, as long as I could begin the next day.
- I didn’t know a thing about construction work, but I thought, maybe this is God answering my prayer...so I went the next day to a pool store up in Illinois.
- The owner of the company met me there....he was an elderly Jewish gentleman named Al Poll.
- Al drove me to the jobsite where his guys were working which turned out to be on the north side of Chicago.....so we were in the car for about an hour....
- and he started asking me about my where I had come from and where I was going....
- I told him about just graduating from this Christian high school, and why I had wanted to go there in the first place.....
- I told him about my relationship with Jesus Christ, and how I had found joy and meaning through trusting Him as my Savior and Lord.....
- and I told him that I thought God might some day use me as a pastor, so I was trying to find a good job so I could save enough money to pay for Bible college....
- I had no idea how he was processing the information, but I’m the kind of person who just lays the cards out on the table......
- he asked me what my life was about, and I tried to honestly tell him....

- we got to the job site and the guys were pouring a concrete bottom in a pool that day....
- I decided, I may not know much, but at least I’m going to work hard....
- the other laborers were kind-of complaining about having to push the concrete in wheelbarrows from the street in front of the house to the pool in the back yard but I thought --- well, I promised this guy I’d work hard....let me at it.....

- I got my wheelbarrow full of concrete and started pushing it as fast as I could to the back of the house.....
- and it was going pretty well, until I went to dump it......
- if you’ve ever done this, you know you have to hold back on the handles because of the momentum of the concrete.....
- I didn’t do that......I was going as fast as I could.....I tipped the wheelbarrow up at the edge of the pool.....
- the concrete went in the pool, and the wheelbarrow went after it, and since I was hanging on to the handles, I went too....right in front of the homeowners, and right in front of my new boss.
- that was on a Thursday....on Saturday afternoon, the owner asked to talk with me....
- I thought, well, I’m about to learn what its like to be fired.....
- but instead he said to me, you’ve got a lot to learn, but I like the way you work.....
- so if you’ll work for me all summer, I’ll pay you $5 an hour, let you work all the hours you can stand, and at the end of the summer, I’ll give you a bonus of $1000 to help with your school.
- I was totally shocked....no one had ever made a promise like that to me ever in my life....and do you know what?.....
- at the end of the summer......he kept his promise.....he did exactly what he said he would do.
- and it won’t surprise you to know that I worked for that man as hard as I could over the next several summers.....because there’s something highly motivating about a person who keeps his word.

- This morning we’re going to see a passage of Scripture that tells us, not about a human being who kept his word.....but about how God Himself kept His Word in three very important areas of life, and also how that faithfulness impacted God’s servant Daniel....
- the application to us will be ---- since God still keeps His Word in these same three areas, is that having the impact on us that it had on Daniel?

- with those thoughts in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Daniel chapter 9.
- we’ve been studying through the book of Daniel verse by verse and chapter by chapter.

- each week the Lord blesses us with folks who are new and we realize that its tough to step into the middle of any kind of a series.
- let me take just a moment and give you the briefest of overviews.....
- Daniel was a Jewish teenager who was deported to Babylon by King Nebuchanezzar.
- the book is all about how he and some of his friends were able to maintain their faithfulness for God even though they were in a situation where there was great pressure to compromise their convictions and beliefs.
- the first six chapters were an exciting historical description of Daniel’s life.....
- the last six chapters are primarily prophetic......
- this man clearly had a lifestyle that could be trusted.....
- now we’re learning what God revealed to him about the future which is also worthy of our trust......

- now, what’s about to happen is this, God’s about to give Daniel one of the most significant and amazing prophecies in the entire Bible......
- but that happens at the end of the chapter.....
- first we’re going to look at what Daniel was doing that preceded God choosing to tell Daniel what He told him, at this particular time in his life.
- As we study, we’ll find three ways that God keeps His Word.

- READ Daniel 9:1...
- let me pause there for a moment.....
- if you’re trying to keep track on things historically.....this is the same man who was the king when Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den.....we read about that back in chap. 6
- we’re not sure if Darius the Mede is a literal name, or if its a generic title....but that doesn’t affect the outcome of the passage....
- the bottom line is....we know that this would have been 539 BC, we know that the Babylonian empire has just fallen, and that the Medes and Persians are now the dominant power......we suppose that the lion’s den incident happened early in the year, and that this chapter’s events are happening later that same year.
- READ Daniel 9:2-.....

- now, this is an amazing verse....
- all along, we’ve known that Daniel is a man of prayer.....in fact it was his faithful and consistent prayer life that got him thrown in prison....
- but now we’re learning that Daniel also had copies of portions of the Scriptures that had been completed.....in this case, the writings of the prophet Jeremiah....and that he had been pouring over them as well.
- and please remember, Daniel is now in his mid-eighties......
- yet here he is, still faithfully following God....and faithfully involving himself in God’s plan and program.....
- he wanted to know....what’s going to happen next to the nation of Israel?
- we’ve had all this information in the previous chapters about the coming Gentile kingdoms...[Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome]....but what about God’s chosen nation of Israel?

- the principle that flows out of these first two verses is.....
I. God Keeps His Word Regarding Judgment.
- He said that Israel would go into a 70 year captivity at the hand of the Babylonians.....and God kept his promise......and Daniel His servant believed Him.

- now, what I’d like us to do at this point is to go back to a couple of other passages of Scripture that round out our understanding of this event, and then we’ll make some application to where you and I live today.
- would you please turn back to the book of Jeremiah----let’s look at the passage that Daniel was probably reading on this particular day.
- Jeremiah chapter 25.....
- and please remember, we’re going back more than 70 years, when Jeremiah was trying to warn God’s people of the coming judgment.
- for sake of time, please look at Jeremiah 25 verse 8 [read 8-11].

- so God had used Jeremiah to tell the nation of Israel that judgment was going to come at the hand of Babylon, and that the judgment would last 70 years.
- now let me ask you this.....how did the people respond when this prophecy was given?
- do you remember who the king of God’s chosen nation was at the time?
[Jehoiakim]
- do you remember how he responded to God’s Word?....her cut it up and threw it in the fireplace......
- you can read all about that in Jeremiah chapter 36.

- now there’s one other detail that we need to get on the table, then we’ll tie some of this together.....
- could you turn back to II Chron. chapter 36.
- it amazing to see the way the Scripture all fits together......
- when we start reading these verses, I’m sure you’ll recognize exactly what’s going on...READ II Chron. 36:15-21
- now, verse 21 tells us that one of the reasons the nation was judged is because they had not kept the sabbath year......
- please latch on to that.....the Sabbath wasn’t simply a day of the week, it was also a year out every seven years.....that little detail is going to become huge later in this chapter...
- but every seventh year, they were supposed to let their land rest......
- they hadn’t been doing that for 490 years, since the days of Eli......
- and if you ever wondered, why did the captivity last 70 years....many students of the Scripture believe, on the basis of this and other texts, that they were judged one year for every sabbath year they missed......

- now, let’s come up for air --- what’s the big picture......
- God made promises about his coming judgment......and many of His people would not believe Him......instead they mocked the prophets, and ridiculed such ideas......
- but on the other hand, you have a man like Daniel......who faithfully believed what God said.....not just about when the judgment would begin.....but now, in his day, when it would end.

I. God Keeps His Word About Judgment


- now, let’s just stop there for a minute, and talk about some applications for today......
- does God’s Word say some things about blessings for obedience, and consequences for disobedience....even for those who are followers of Jesus Christ today?
- Galatians 6:7-9 - Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

- that’s a promise of God that clearly has both a positive and negative side.....
- Can I ask you this morning....did you allow words like that to help motivate you to make good choices this week?
- and sure, if our hearts were always in the right place, we wouldn’t even need any kind of negative motivation.....
- but since our hearts aren’t always in the right place, God has blessed us by telling us that there are consequences for disobedience [cf. Prov. 13:15, Gal. 6:7]

- and some of us fall into the trap of thinking, I can do that and there won’t be a price to pay...
- my situation is so unique that surely God will understand my violation of His Word.....
- or God is so busy with other things that my faithfully following Christ is not important....
- or, I’ve gotten away with it so far......perhaps a little longer won’t hurt.....
- part of the message of Daniel chapter 9 is, I. God Keeps His Word Regarding Judgment.
- wise is the person, who like Daniel, takes God at His Word on such matters, and takes the appropriate steps in response.

- now, what happens in the middle part of the chapter is, we find one of the classic prayers in all the Bible.
- I’d like to read verses 3-19, and as I do, please be looking for examples in these two categories.....
1) What Daniel said about God....
2) What Daniel said about himself.....When we’re done reading, I’m going to ask you for examples in each category.
- READ Daniel 9:3-19

- INPUT - Examples of “What Daniel said about God”? 
v. 4 - Great and awesome, who keeps his covenant and lovingkindness
v. 7 - righteousness belongs to thee
v. 9 - to the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness
v. 12 - He has confirmed His words
- etc.......

- INPUT - Examples of “What Daniel said about himself”?
v. 5 - we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, rebelled, turned aside from your ordinances
v. 6 - haven’t listened to thy servants
v. 7 - to us open shame, because of their unfaithful deeds
v. 8 - open shame belongs to us, we sinned against thee
v. 9 - we rebelled against thee
v. 10 - nor have we obeyed His voice
v. 11 - all Israel transgressed
- etc......

- [could recommend Brent’s message --- on web page]

- these verses are screaming out a message about what Daniel thought of the position of God, and what he thought about the position of man.
- and of course there are extremes on either side of this point, but if Daniel was going to make a mistake, it was going to be by accepting too much responsibility, as opposed to not enough.
- I doubt that many of us will get to heaven and hear the Lord say, “your problem was, you asked forgiveness too often.”

- let me ask you to hold that idea, and turn back to the book of Jeremiah once again, to chapter 29, verse 10.
- this is another wonderful passage in the Word of God, and it may explain why Daniel was so quick to ask God’s forgiveness in this matter.

- READ Jeremiah 29:10-14.
- the principle that we’re illustrating from these verses is:


II. God Keeps His Word Regarding Forgiveness.

- Another way of saying this is, Daniel didn’t want to miss out on the joy of repentance, and the joy of forgiveness.
- and what is especially amazing about this is, as we’ve worked our way through this book....all indications are that Daniel is a very faithful man.
- in fact, there’s no recorded instance of him sinning.....
- he’s a great example of faithfulness....we’ve been saying that all the way through the study.
  yet still, he’s not proud....and he’s not self-righteous.
- what a great statement in the middle of verse 18..... for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion.
- friend, I have to ask you a very important question.....do your prayers resemble Daniel’s prayers?
- does your heart resemble Daniel’s heart?

- see, he was convinced that God not only would keep His Word about judgment, but that he would also keep His Word about forgiveness....and he didn’t want to miss the joy of repentance, and the joy of forgiveness.

- as many of you know, we have a counseling ministry in our church where on Mondays, there are 13 of us who counsel 6 hours each.....
- so there are over seventy hours of biblical counseling services provided to our community each week free of charge.

- I’ve had reason lately to ponder the question, what kinds of things make it more likely for a counseling case to go well, and what kinds of things make it more likely that things will go poorly?
- and one of the answers is right here.....
- for the person who is humble, who has a large view of God and His attributes, and who has a biblical view of self.....
- the person who is quick to take responsibility, not for the whole problem, but for their part of the problem.....like Daniel.....
- and if they are going to err, they’re going to err by accepting a little too much responsibility instead of not quite enough.....
- for the person who’s quick to ask forgiveness......
- that kind of a person will make progress.....and will be a joy and delight to work with, and will bring great glory to God......

- but for the person who is self-righteous, and proud......
- quick to maximize everyone else’s sin while simultaneously minimizing their own....
- that kind of a lifestyle reveals a heart that is hard and stony.....
- the exact opposite of what we’re reading about in this text.

- cf. call this week from former counselee from another town.....”the first time my wife came to me on her own and asked forgiveness”.....
- [if time, could develop how pride and self-righteousness are catalysts for many other sins]
- make an evangelistic appeal

- see, God kept His Word about judgment, and Daniel believed His Word and acted upon it....
- God kept His Word about forgiveness, and Daniel believed those Words and acted on them as well......
- and the question before the house for each one of us is......Am I like Daniel in these critical areas.....and what would have to be different in the days ahead for this to be more true?
- now, you could ask, well PV, do we have any indication that God was pleased with Daniel’s prayer?
- and if you’ve studied these verses you know the answer is --- absolutely!
- it was in this context that God gives one of the most significant and amazing prophecies in all the Word of God.
- we’ve talked about God keeping His Word regarding judgment, and God keeping His Word regarding forgiveness.....
- now we’re going to move to:


III. God Keeps His Word Regarding Hope.


- read Daniel 9:20-27

- we know that God was highly pleased by Daniel’s behavior because of what the angel Gabriel says --- Daniel 9:22-23 - "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.  "At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.

- this dovetails beautifully with what we read in Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
- what we’re reading about now is the hope.

- now you might ask, PV, what are these seventy weeks about?
- let me ask you this.....has verse 24 been literally fulfilled?
- has the transgression been finished?
- has anyone made an end of sin?
- has there been an atonement for righteousness?
- has anyone brought in everlasting righteousness?
- has the vision been sealed up?
- has the holy place been anointed?

- has the verse been literally and completely fulfilled? ---- No.

- another important point is that these “weeks” are actually groupings of seven years.
- that’s why it was so important that we made the note about Israel going into captivity to begin with because they hadn’t kept, not the Sabbath day, but the Sabbath years.
- the word “week” is literally heptad, or “seven”
- so we’re talking about 70 groups of seven....or a total of 490 years.

- one more thing, remember the Jewish calendar is built around a 360 day year.

- with that in mind, the math here becomes fairly routine.
- please notice verse 25 ---- “from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem”.....
- when was that?
- that’s an easy one......
- we know historically that Nehemiah received permission to go and rebuild the wall at Jerusalem in 445 BC.  [you can read about that in Nehemiah 2:1-8 --- its so precise it even gives the month and the year- which corresponds to our March 14th].

- this passage says that there are going to be 69 weeks, or “sevens” between when this decree is given, and when the Messiah is cut off.
- let’s do the math.....69 x 7 years equals 483 years.....
- 483 years times 360 days [remember, we’re working off the Jewish calendar] equals 173,800 days. 
- if you plot that on a calendar, that comes out to April 6th, AD 32.
- according to Sir Robert Anderson, Harold Honer, and other Bible scholars.....that is exactly when Jesus Christ made his triumphal entry to Jerusalem.....and seven days later he was crucified on the cross of Calvary.

- Friends, God keeps His Word regarding judgment, He keeps His Word regarding forgiveness, and He keeps His Word regarding Hope.
- now, notice that only 69 of these weeks have been fulfilled.
- the “then” in verse 26 is a critical transition.
- I’m not saying that Daniel fully understood this because I don't think he did.
- that’s why Paul calls the church the “mystery”.....God’s working with Gentiles and Jews to bring them together in one body in Christ.

- but the day is coming, as we studied a couple of weeks ago.....when Jesus Christ will return in the sky, and the church will be taken out of the world in the rapture....and then the seven year tribulation [Daniel’s 70th week] will begin.
- and for anyone who would scoff at that, or question that, or fail to be motivated by that.....the question that would flow out of the book of Daniel is.....How many more prophecies would have to be literally and precisely fulfilled before that person would believe and act on what God has said about the future?

- now, there’s a lot more that we could say about this than we have time this morning.....
- but let’s center in on the key application.....

- at this place when God is giving revelation to his faithful servant.....who is the focus of that revelation?
- the answer is, Jesus Christ.
- He is Messiah the Prince......
- He is the One who will be cut off.....
- He the One who will battle and have victory over the Antichrist during the 70th week of Daniel.

- the focus is on Jesus Christ.

- and that’s been true all through this book.....
- in chapter 2, He’s the Stone cut without hands who crushed King Nebuchanezzar’s statue in his vision of world government.....
- in chapter 7, he’s the Son of man in the great vision of heaven.....
- in chapter 8, he’s the Prince of Princes who does battle with antichrist......
- and in chapter 9, he’s Messiah the prince, who will “be cut off and have nothing”.....when He dies on the cross for the sins of mankind.

- and everything that we’ve been talking about this morning is found in Him.
- judgment is found in Him.....
- and forgiveness is found in Him
- and hope is found in Him...

- He’s the Alpha and Omega....He’s the beginning and the end.....He’s the lion of the tribe of Judah....He’s the perfect Lamb of God....

- and friends, if Daniel could be faithful, with as little as he knew about the Messiah, how much more should we be faithful, with all that’s been revealed to us?
- Paul said - Colossians 1:18 - And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

- conclude with the issue of a Christ-centered life.
- could use deacon illustration
- invite back to Lord’s table

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video