"Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments . . . righteousness belongs to Thee. . . . To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness" (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).
Prior to the Babylonian Captivity God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors. Their gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver them from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).
In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21-22 He says, "There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."
In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him "the great and awesome God." That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.
God's faithfulness is reflected in the phrase "who keeps His covenant" (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1-3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).
God's love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase "righteousness belongs to Thee" (v. 7). God's actions are always loving and righteousness. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).
Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is a synonym for mercy. Forgiveness means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.
What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.
For Further Study:
Read Isaiah 44 which contains a stern warning for Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.
- What promises did God make to Israel?
- How did God characterize idolaters?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.