"In the first year of Darius...I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years." Daniel 9:1-2
The sequence of events in Daniel 9 is fascinating. First, while studying the "books," Daniel discovers in Jeremiah's writings the number of years Jerusalem will be desolate. According to Jeremiah 25:11, Israel will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. Since this is the first year of Darius rule, the seventy years of captivity are nearly at an end. Realizing the return of the captives to Jerusalem is close, Daniel began to pray. While praying, the angel Gabriel interrupted him and provided additional revelation to Daniel.
Excluding the visit of Gabriel, I have found this sequence of events has proven valid in my life. While studying the Bible, the Spirit has given me understanding that I had not seen before. This new insight often leads to prayer, praise, and worship. Just as in the case of Daniel, many times after spending time acknowledging and thanking the Lord for this new revelation, as I return to my study, I see an additional depth of Scripture.
I am not surprised by Daniel reading Jeremiah. Those who have a passion for God's word, want to know what insights the Spirit has given to others with the same love. In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter acknowledged reading Paul's writings and declared them to be authoritative Scripture. God has blessed me through the years by leading me to the works of men and women whom He has endowed with great discernment in His Word. I pray you, too, have found many Spirit-filled authors who the Lord uses to increase your understanding of our King and His kingdom.
Realizing the shortness of time before the Israelites would return to Jerusalem, Daniel's prayer expresses urgency. He prays, pleads for mercy with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Notice the steps Daniel makes in his confession. He begins by acknowledging to whom he is addressing his plea; "Lord, the great and awesome God" who keeps His promises with steadfast love to those who follow His instruction. Then He begins to detail the nation's sin. They have rebelled and turned away from His commands by acting wickedly, not heeding God's direction. Because of their rejection of His righteousness, He drove them out of the land. They live in open shame now because of their treachery against the Lord. This transgression includes all of Israel. Just as He swore through Moses, by offering both blessings and curses, He has brought the curse on Israel because of their unfaithfulness to Him.
Following Daniel's confession of Israel's sin, he pleads for God's mercy. The concluding statements of his prayer recognize that the people have not sought God's forgiveness by turning from their sins and acting upon His truth. He asks the Lord to turn from His wrath and anger against Jerusalem, not because of the people’s righteousness but for the sake of His name and glory. Daniel seeks forgiveness for the people based on God's mercy.
Daniel's prayer is interrupted by Gabriel, who describes the coming of the Anointed One, who when He is cut off appears to have accomplished nothing. But, He would initiate the end of Israel's rebellion, put an end to their sin, atone for their sin and bring about everlasting righteousness.
We are blessed to live this side of the cross. At the time of Jesus' death, even His disciples did not understand what He had done. But Jesus' death fulfills Gabriel's statement to Daniel. Christ, the Anointed One's finished works accomplished for His people and His city the end of transgression, sin, and iniquity by His atoning sacrifice. He ushered in the kingdom of everlasting righteousness.
Anointed One, King Jesus, my Lord, and Savior, You are righteous and merciful to sinners like me. I am as undeserving as the people for whom Daniel interceded. The completed work on the cross followed by Your resurrection accomplished all the Father promised. You fulfill all His promises.