An Expositional Sermon
Our hope that God will hear us isn’t grounded in our ability to obey His Word, but God’s righteousness. Our only hope of righteousness is the sovereign electing grace of God whereby he chooses to set His name upon His people. How can we have our sin be put away and covered over? Friends, we all deserve His wrath for our sin, even as God judged the Jews in exile. And coming out of Babylonian captivity wouldn’t ultimately solve this problem. They need a perfect substitute. Animal sacrifices would not be enough. We need a perfectly righteous one to come and bear our sin, and the shame Daniel describes again and again in these verses. We need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ. He is perfectly righteous and without sin. He is the King who would put His name upon His people by taking their sin upon Himself and making a full satisfaction of God’s wrath that we deserve. He was crucified for our sin, died, was buried, and He rose again from the dead. It is through Him that we have hope for forgiveness. And God has promised that He will be with us until the end, and that He will fully and finally save us. But we continue to confess our sin, to continue to put our hope upon Christ. If you’re here and you’re not a Christian turn from your sin, flee God’s wrath that is coming for your sin and trust in Christ while there is time. God is determined to make a name for himself in Jerusalem here, and in Christ our hope isn’t in the Gaza Strip but in the Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26). The great city that God is preparing for those who have found refuge from His wrath and from the miseries of this fallen world in Christ. Let Daniel’s prayer be ours, as we plead with God to hear, forgive, pay attention and act without delay, because God’s city and people are called by His name. Do you know this? If your faith is in Jesus Christ, God has adopted you as a child. You had no home. Your future was marked by God’s eternal wrath in hell, but He sent His son, to be rejected, and it pleased God to crush His son, so that through Christ He might set His name upon hopeless powerless sinners like us. We do not come to God because we are righteous. We do not come to Him because we deserve His grace. No, we come as blood bought sinners hoping in the consummation of His promise that He will bring us to be with Him forever. Our timeline isn’t 70 years, so we don’t know when His promise will be fulfilled, but friends, it may be today. So, we pray along the promise of God with the church through the ages, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We pray based upon the fact that God’s mercy and forgiveness isn’t in contradiction to His righteousness. In fact it is in Jesus Christ where we see God’s perfect mercy and perfect justice kiss.
Questions for Further Reflection:
(1) How do you respond when you are walking in the “valley of the shadow of death”? When you see the persecution of God’s people how do you respond?
(2) In the face of God’s perfections do you approach Him with the kind of humility we see in Daniel in this text?
(3) Do you mourn over your sin like this?
(4) Do you confess your sin to God?
(5) As you read God’s Word, as you learn more of His holiness, more of His perfection and majesty, and as you see how we fall short of His glory that we were made to reflect, does His Word bring your to your knees with conviction of sin?
(6) How does God make a name for Himself? (v. 19)
(7) Do you mourn over your sin?
(8) Is your primary desire for the reputation of the name of God as He has set it upon His people?
(9) What do your prayers look like for for our church?
(10) How can we have our sins be put away and covered over?
An Expositional Sermon