“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans-- in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:1-3).
How often have you found yourself questioning God’s Will by saying, “God why are you allowing this to happen?”? Perhaps, instead of questioning God’s Will, we would be better served to seek to understand God’s Will for our lives. In order to understand God’s Will we must first approach God with a heart of humility. As the opening verses above, we see Daniel seeking to understand God’s Will for Israel as he approaches God with a heart of humility.
To begin with, as the opening verses above indicate, Daniel had understood by the Word of God as revealed in the book of Jeremiah that God’s people were to be held in captivity for 70 years (Daniel 9:2; Jeremiah 25:11-12). This shows us that in order to understand God’s Will for one’s life, one must take the time to actually study what God has revealed to us through His Word (2 Timothy 2:15). Because he had studied God’s Word, Daniel understood that the things which had happened to him and to his people were because God was simply fulfilling the judgments, He had told them would happen if they rebelled against Him (Daniel 9:4-5, 7, 11). Daniel notes that up to this point in time, God’s people had not humbled themselves before God: “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth” (Daniel 9:13).
Daniel now humbly approaches God on behalf of His people. He acknowledges Israel’s sins (Daniel 9:5-7). However, Daniel does not just focus on Israel’s sins; He also focuses on God’s noble attributes: “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9, cf. v.18-19). Since the 70 years of captivity have been accomplished, Daniel appeals to God to forgive His people: “And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day--we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury 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 are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate” (Daniel 9:15-17).
Daniel is described by as “greatly beloved” by God (Daniel 9:23; 10:11, 19). At least part of the reason for this was the humble heart which Daniel possessed to seek and understand God’s Will for his life (cf. Daniel 10:11). As soon as Daniel began praying on behalf of his people, God had sent His angel Gabriel to Daniel to help Daniel to understand the future of God’s people (Daniel 9:20-23).
God will help us to understand His Will for our lives when we have a humble heart like Daniel to seek God’s Will. Instead of resisting God by questioning His Will, today, I will humble myself before God and seek to understand His Will for my life by studying His Word with an open mind and going to Him in prayer with a heart that praises Him for His greatness and acknowledging my weakness!
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).