1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the offspring of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years about which Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah the prophet for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years. 3I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and petitions, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
4I prayed to Yahweh my God, and made confession, and said,
“Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from your precepts and from your ordinances. 6We haven’t listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7“Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of face, as it is today; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, who are near and who are far off, through all the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you. 8Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him. 10We haven’t obeyed Yahweh our God’s voice, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11Yes, all Israel have transgressed your law, turning aside, that they should not obey your voice.
“Therefore the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses the servant of God has been poured out on us, for we have sinned against him. 12He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing on us a great evil; for under the whole sky, such has not been done as has been done to Jerusalem. 13As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil has come on us. Yet we have not entreated the favor of Yahweh our God, that we should turn from our iniquities and have discernment in your truth. 14Therefore Yahweh has watched over the evil, and brought it on us; for Yahweh our God is righteous in all his works which he does, and we have not obeyed his voice.
15“Now, Lord our God, who has brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have gotten yourself renown, as it is today, we have sinned. We have done wickedly. 16Lord, according to all your righteousness, please let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a reproach to all who are around us.
17“Now therefore, our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his petitions, and cause your face to shine on your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. 18My God, turn your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by your name; for we do not present our petitions before you for our righteousness, but for your great mercies’ sake. 19Lord, hear. Lord, forgive. Lord, listen and do. Don’t defer, for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
20While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before Yahweh my God for the holy mountain of my God— 21yes, while I was speaking in prayer—the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening offering. 22He instructed me and talked with me, and said, “Daniel, I have now come to give you wisdom and understanding. 23At the beginning of your petitions the commandment went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.
24“Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
25“Know therefore and discern that from the going out of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to the Anointed One, the prince, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be built again, with street and moat, even in troubled times. 26After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off, and will have nothing. The people of the prince who come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end will be with a flood, and war will be even to the end. Desolations are determined. 27He will make a firm covenant with many for one week. In the middle of the week he will cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. On the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate; and even to the decreed full end, wrath will be poured out on the desolate.”
Daniel remained in Babylon and learned the plan of God for a 70 year exile and the need for repentance. So, he prays on behalf of the whole of Israel and pleads for the people, the temple and Jerusalem. God often revealed his plans to Daniel personally, however the information about the exile came from a different source. This plan was revealed to Daniel through the writings of Jeremiah.
Do you remember poor Jeremiah, called to warn the people of the impending exile? He tried to tell them how to live as God’s people but Jeremiah was ignored, scorned, beaten and imprisoned. God told Jeremiah to write down the words given to him which he did and when he took them to the royal court the king burned every word in the fire. Jeremiah although devastated remained obedient to God and started all over again. Thank goodness for his persistence because a Godly man in Babylon got hold of those redone writings and so knew God’s plan. When God’s plan was revealed to Daniel through the words of Jeremiah, Daniel knew how he should pray. As Daniel started to pray so heaven was moved and redemptions plan began.
It is important that we see our lives connected through and in the big story of God. We do not see things as God does, he knows more than we do and has plans above ours. Like Jeremiah we need to learn to persist even when we don’t see the fruit of our labour. Jeremiah had no idea that his writings would inspire Daniel to pray and so start the process that would lead to the end of the exile. Don’t give up in doing good for God, even when it seems pointless, as somewhere around the corner there might be a Daniel relying on the legacy of your work.