“. . . 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 9:2 ESV)
A small segment of the life of an intercessor is displayed in Daniel nine. Daniel casually tells us he understood something in his reading of Jeremiah.
There are at least five points to be made from Daniel’s experience as he tells it to us in chapter nine:
Point 1: Daniel understood something distinct from his reading of the Word;
Point 2: Daniel sought the LORD in prayer, sackcloth, and ashes (v2,3);
Point 3: Daniel put it this way, “speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people. . .” (v20);
Point 4: Daniel presented petitions to the LORD (v20);
Point 5: G-d answered Daniel.
Let’s take a look at the first point. In the English Standard Version quoted above, the word is “perceived.” The word in Hebrew is bîyn, and is defined as follows: “to separate mentally (or distinguish), that is, (generally) understand: – attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill (-ful), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand (-ing), view, (deal) wise (-ly, man).”
Distinguish. Interesting. I have the sense that Daniel might have begun his day like any of us: reading the Word. As he read he began to dwell on something he might have read before. Unlike earlier times, something began to click within him, and he perceived something different. The passage became distinct, causing him to look well into it and understand something important, something that affected him, something and his people. Daniel took hold of it and didn’t let go.
Perhaps it’s a bit like a walk along a river or a pond of water. The path is one we’ve walked before and is familiar to us. We understand the seasonal changes, the way the vines and trees grow and change, the way the sun strikes the earth at different angles at different times. But today, as we walk, something attracts our attention beneath the water. Perhaps the sun is reflecting upon it in just the right way. We must step off the path, closer to the water, to get a closer look. But why bother? We could simply ignore the object. It’s probably just an old can or piece of junk metal. On the other hand it might be something of value. We must step closer to the water. In fact, we must wade into the water and reach beneath it to grasp the object.
Perhaps that’s all a bit to difficult. Why get wet. It’s probably an old bottle any way, and is useless to us. There are bugs around the water, too. Who wants to get bite and spend the day itching. We’ve got important things to do today, after all. And that water isn’t moving quite fast enough to carry away all the foam lining the bank. We’d have to wade through that yucky stuff, get dirty. Why bother?
Daniel bothered. Daniel was hooked. Daniel cared. Daniel wanted an answer to a question that formed in his mind. Daniel sought the LORD.
Let’s think about Daniel nine a bit. Let’s mull it over. I believe it sets the stage for an understanding of what it takes to be an intercessor.
LORD G-d, gracious and merciful, shine upon us, bless us, that we may bless others. In the glorious Name of Y’shuaJesus our MessiahSavior. AMEN and AMEN!