“And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.” Daniel 9:15
Daniel is making a confession for all the people of God. God, displaying all of his might and power, brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The people should have been worshiping through obedience but instead they were doubting and sinning at every opportunity. This behavior did not leave God with a good reputation.
Imagine you have a best friend. You trust him with all of your being. He applies for a job and asks you to be a reference. You readily agree because you have witnessed his work ethic, his dedication, and his honesty. The employer hires your friend based upon your good recommendation. But then it happens…your friend doesn’t live up to any of those characteristics. The employer calls and gives you a piece of his mind, wanting to know why you would recommend someone so slow and unmotivated. After the call ends you stand in shock because you never expected this type of behavior from you best friend. You spoke with utmost confidence and that confidence was betrayed and now you are the one that looks like a fool.
It’s the same here with God and the Israelites. The Israelites are the ones making poor decisions and not living up to their abilities but God is the one who looks bad. People are asking why he would deliver “His People” if they are just going to turn their backs and act like fools.
Now, years later, we find Daniel pleading with God to bring about change. In the previous chapters, Daniel has had some pretty wicked visions about the destruction that is to come because of their lack of obedience. Let’s take a peek at Daniel’s prayer.
“O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the inquiries of our father, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us.” (v.16)
Hey God, all this destruction is really making you look bad. No one speaks kindly of you or your people anymore.
“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.” (v.17)
God, I’m begging you to bless again. Not for our benefit but for your glory.
“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.” (v.18)
God, hear my prayer, look what we are going through. We know we don’t deserve your blessings but in your great mercy bring them!
“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.” (v.19)
Forgive us and bless us God. Don’t hold back, we are still your people and we want to glorify your name again.
How many times do we ask God to take away our troubles because we are tired of going through them? I know I’m guilty of it all the time. But Daniel’s plea demonstrates how we should praying. God doesn’t relieve us of our burdens to make our lives easier, he does it to bring himself glory. Take a moment and reflect on the trials you’ve faced. Now think about the solutions God provided. Can you see how he worked it all out for his glory?
We really are a selfish people. We become so consumed with our own comfort and desires that we forget we were designed to bring glory to our creator. This earthly existence has very little to do with us and our pleasure; it’s for His glory. This means we are going to face trials, because that is where character develops; and when our character is developed we can point all the glory to God.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-3
Let us lack nothing. Not the things of the world but the things that make us look like Jesus; because when we look like him then the world will see who he really is. And really it’s His reputation that’s on the line.