Listening to a Different Kind of Promise

Steve Viars October 16, 2016 Daniel 9:

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  • Moses - Deuteronomy 26:18 - The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you…
  • Joshua - Joshua 21:45 - Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
  • Solomon - 1 Kings 8:56 - Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.
  • Jeremiah - Jeremiah 40:3 - …and the Lord has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the Lord and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.
  • Paul (regarding Abraham) - Romans 4:20-21 - …yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
  • Paul (to Titus) - Titus 1:1-2 - Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago…
  • Author of Hebrews - Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…
  • Peter - 2 Peter 1:4 - For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
  • 1 John 2:25 - This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

2 Corinthians 1:20 - For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

3 ways our God keeps His promises

I. God Keeps His Word Regarding Judgment

A. What this prophecy in question was

B. How some responded

1. King Jehoiakim – Jeremiah 36

2. The people of Jeremiah’s day – 2 Chronicles 36

2 Chronicles 36:16 - …but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy.

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.

C. This can be viewed both positively and negatively

Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper…

Hebrews 6:10 - For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

II. God Keeps His Word Regarding Forgiveness

A. 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.

B. 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.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 - For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 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. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

Daniel 9:18 - …for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion.

III. God Keeps His Word Regarding Hope

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.

judgment, forgiveness, hope

Daniel 9:26 - …the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing… 

Job 14:7 - For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail.

A. Like a tree being cut to the ground – Job 14:7

Numbers 11:33 - While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.

B. Like a piece of meat being chewed up – Numbers 11:33

Numbers 9:13 - But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the Lord at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin.

C. Like a man who is separated and disciplined for the purity of the people – Numbers 9:13

2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 

Outlined Manuscript

- One of the interesting phenomena during this year’s election cycle has been the prevalence of almost instantaneous fact-checkers…

- it started with some of the news outlets providing this “service” (although who is fact-checking them could be contemplated as well)…

- but now we have candidates that are offering fact-checking for their opponents claims in real time…

- “just go to my website and see how many of my opponent’s statements can almost immediately be shown to be false…

- and therefore – their promises can’t be trusted…”

- even a cursory review of the results is amazing…and if only a fraction of what the fact checkers is saying is true – you just scratch your head about whose statements you can really believe, and whose promises you can trust…

- now, before we get too cynical about that – what would happen if you or I had someone doing immediate fact checking of every word that came out of our mouths?...

- that might be an interesting exercise in humility…(or embarrassment…)

- and what if there was some kind of truth meter pasted right on our foreheads with degrees of truthfulness on some sort of sliding scale?...

- well, that statement was mostly correct...that was a slight exaggeration…

- that was a stretcher…that was just out and out falsehood…

- and then if we threw in a grammatical accuracy meter…

- or put all of our e-mails or social media posts to the same test…

- the question of why we should really believe anyone’s promises…not just politician’s….but anyone’s would be pretty sobering for sure…

- now, please think about this…

- what would happen if we put the Word of God to the same test…

- regarding every promise the Lord has ever made…

- even it sounded hard to believe at the time…or even impossible for what was being promised to come to pass…

- here’s what some of the great heroes of the faith said about that…

  • Moses - Deuteronomy 26:18 - The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you…
  • Joshua - Joshua 21:45 - Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
  • Solomon - 1 Kings 8:56 - Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.
  • Jeremiah - Jeremiah 40:3 - and the Lord has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the Lord and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.
  • Paul (regarding Abraham) - Romans 4:20–21 - …        yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
  • Paul (to Titus) - Titus 1:1–2 - Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago…
  • Author of Hebrews -  Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
  • Peter - 2 Peter 1:4 - For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
  • 1 John 2:25 - This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

- aren’t you glad, especially in this day and age in which we live, that we have a God whose promises can be trusted?...

- here’s the way Paul said it to the Corinthians…2 Corinthians 1:20 - For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

- this morning we’re going to look at a passage of Scripture that proves what these writers are saying about the reliability of the promises of God…and I can’t think of a more appropriate time in our nation’s history when this information is especially good news…

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Danial chapter 9…page 636 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- we’ve been studying through the book of Daniel verse by verse and chapter by chapter…

- we’re calling this Loving Our World by Choosing to Be Different

- this morning’s morning’s verses emphasize Loving Our World by Listening to a Different Kind of Promises…

- now, each week the Lord blesses us with men and women who are new and we realize that it’s 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 Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC...

- 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 is going 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... [A-ha-suer-us)

- 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 it’s 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 just like God said it would, 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?

- this chapter is going to teach us 3 ways our God keeps His promises.

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.

A. What this prophecy in question was

- 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 possibly reading on this particular day.

- Jeremiah chapter 25...(page 556 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you)…

- 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?

B. How some responded

- do you remember who the king of God’s chosen nation was at the time?...and it’s certainly OK if you don’t…[Jehoiakim]

1. King Jehoiakim – Jeremiah 36

- do you remember how he responded to God’s Word?...about this very issue…

- he cut it up and threw it in the fireplace...that’s how much stock he placed in the promises of God…you can read all about that in Jeremiah chapter 36.

- now please look back at 2 Chronicles chapter 36 to see how all of this fits together…[page 343 on the front section…]

- 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

2. The people of Jeremiah’s day – 2 Chronicles 36

- and what did they do with the promises of God?...

- 2 Chronicles 36:16 - but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy.

- 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…see, 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.

C. This can be viewed both positively and negatively.

- when we’re living in ways that are disobedient to God…promises like this ought to stop us in our tracks…

- Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper…

- but if on the other hand – you are trying to live for the Lord even when it’s hard, and all you seem to be getting is more hardness…there are plenty of promises for you…like…Hebrews 6:10 - For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

- if God promises that He won’t forget…you can mark this down…He won’t forget…

- now, what happens in the middle part of the chapter is, we find one of the classic prayers of repentance in all the Bible…so please go back now to Daniel 9…[page 636]…

- 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.....

- READ Daniel 9:3-19

- so yes, God keeps His Word about judgment, but…

II. God Keeps His Word Regarding Forgiveness

- now, what observations can we make about:

A. 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.

- these are the words of a person who truly believes God is loving enough, and wise enough, and powerful enough to keep all His promises…even if they were made 70 years ago…now please compare that to…

B. 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.

- 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 the level of importance he placed on believing God’s promises…

- now, please keep all of that in mind, and just for sake of time…let me read some more for us from the prophet Jeremiah…

Jeremiah 29:10–14 - For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 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. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

- and now, 70 years later…this is exactly what is happening…

- no wonder Daniel was so quick to seek forgiveness for himself and his people, because he was convinced that 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 the joy of restoration and reconciliation…

- 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?

- does your repentance resemble Daniel’s repentance?...

- does your confidence in God’s promises resemble Daniel’s confidence in God’s promises?...

...and what would have to be different in the days ahead for each of us to be more like him?

- 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.

- 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…the complete fulfillment of this will occur sometime in the future…

- 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 --- it’s 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.

- all sorts of Bible scholars believe 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 mentioned 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 be sure to place our focus where it ultimately belongs…

- on what basis does God makes promises about judgment, and about forgiveness, and about hope?

- the answer is, the finished work of Messiah the Prince...the Lord Jesus Christ…who…Daniel 9:26 - …the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing… 

- that was an incredible promise for God the Father to make about His own Son…because of the power of that Word…

- if you compare it to other places in the Bible…here are some of the parallel uses…

- Job 14:7 - For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail.

- what word there do you think is translated “cut off” in Daniel 9:26?

A. Like a tree being cut to the ground – Job 14:7

- think about what Jesus Christ did for us – so that the promises of God in Him could always be yes…

- He was willing to be like a tree cut to the ground…

- here’s another graphic use of that word…

- Numbers 11:33 -     While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague.

- this was during the wilderness wanderings and the people had been complaining about the provision of manna and demanded meat…

- which word do you think is translated “cut off” in Daniel 9:26?...

B. Like a piece of meat being chewed up – Numbers 11:33

- God promised that about His own Son…

- there was no other way for our sin to be forgiven

- here’s one more…Numbers 9:13 - But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the Lord at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin.

- that one is probably easiest to connect to what Daniel was told about the Messiah…

C. Like a man who is separated and disciplined for the purity of the people – Numbers 9:13

- doesn’t that sound a lot like this verse?...

- 2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

- friends – what human being would have ever made promises like this?...about the Messiah…the Prince…

- being cut off…

- like a tree being cut to the ground…

- or a piece of meat being chewed up…

- or a man being separated and disciplined for the purity of others…

- who would ever make promises like that?...and who would be loving, and wise, and powerful enough to keep them?...

- that God is worthy of trust – because His promises always come true…

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