Read Daniel 9:20-27
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God,21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. – Daniel 9:20-23
If you read the remainder of Chapter 9 you may have a better grasp of its specific meaning than I do. Having looked at it recently and interpreting “weeks” as sevens (the actual meaning of original Hebrew), and considering these to refer to years, gets a number of different spans of time.
There are those given to discovering or at least exploring the specifics of these dates. I am not one of those persons. That is mostly due to my personal wiring; I just don’t think in that way. It also has to do with my appreciation for the timing of God, and the “upper story” of God’s work in the world. While God works in real time, and we experience life in real time, God’s greater work is best understood in the larger context of the Story of God – from Creation, to Redemption, to the Consummation of all things under Christ.
To that end, verse 23 of this chapter is precious to me. God moves toward us in answering our prayer as soon as we pray. He is not bound by time, though we are. He is not hurried by our impatience or slowed by our complacency. When we pray, God acts.
There are two great reasons for God’s action toward us and in response to our prayers. First of all, as Gabriel tells Daniel, “you are greatly loved.” What a wonderful truth for us to embrace! We are greatly loved by the Great God who is above all, and yet to deigns to hear our prayers. This is the kind of truth to steady our hearts and to secure our hopes. When we pray, God hears and moves – because he love us.
He does so, also, because he has promised to do so. It is the nature of God not only to love us, but to let us know that we can approach him in prayer. It is the love of God which moves him to make promises and the righteousness, holiness, and character of God that moves him to keep his promises.
Promises are cheap to those who have not intention of keeping them. But when we hear God’s promises, and when we call upon him in prayer, those promises are precious. And when we pray, God answers. Come Lord Jesus!