A Children's Story based on Daniel chapter 9
(c) Copyright 2002 Rev. Bill Versteeg
Do you remember what Daniel did
three times a day? Every time he did it in his window, he faced
Jerusalem. (He prayed). Today’s story is about one
of Daniel's prayers and how God answered his prayer. Now which one of
you remembers the names of the three kings of Babylon that reigned
while Daniel was there. (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius the Mede,
son of Xerxes)
Daniel was already an old man, this was very close to the time that he
was thrown in the Lions den. During that time, Daniel was reading and
studying his bible, especially the book of Jeremiah. And from the book
of Jeremiah, he read in chapter 29 that the length of time that Israel
was going to be stuck in Babylon would be 70 years. Daniel was now
close to 85 years of age. He had come into Babylon’s service
as a teenager, in fact, we know that in the first year of King Darius,
there would be only two years left that Israel would be stuck in
Babylon. You would think that now that there would only be two years of
captivity left, Daniel would be jumping for joy right? Maybe he would
put on party cloths and have a party with Shadrach, Meshach and
Abednego. Guess what he did! He stopped eating, he started fasting, he
put on sackcloth (like potato sacks) and he dumped ashes on his head, a
sign of mourning, crying he PRAYED! His prayer was not a prayer
thanking God that they would be free in two years either! Daniel
started his prayer by remembering what God is like, that there is no
God as great as our God, able to do incredible miracles. And he
remembered that God is also a God who is flawlessly faithful to the
promises he keeps, and God especially shows his love to those who keep
But then he remembered what
God’s people had done. He remembered how they refused to obey
God. They went after idols, they worshiped demons. They broke the law
God had given them. They rebelled against God’s rule in their
lives and they refused to listen to the prophets that God had sent to
correct them and lead them back to obedience. Even though the prophets
went to kings and leaders and fathers, it seemed all the people of
Israel would not listen to them. Daniel felt all the shame for what the
people of Israel had done. He heaped ashes on his head. He saw again
that the 70 years that God’s people were in Babylon was
simply because they had not listened to God and obeyed his commandments
for 70 times 7 years. He knew that the beautiful land and the wonderful
city of Jerusalem had been reduced to a pile of rocks because all the
leaders of Israel, and all the people, including Daniel and his parents
had rebelled against God. Again and again, Daniel confessed to God his
sins and the sins of his parents and the leaders of the people of
Israel because he knew that even though they had been in Babylon for
close to 70 years, really, the Israelites had not changed all that
much. They still were not all that interested in listening to what God
had to say in the bible. They still were not all that interested in
hearing his commandments so that they would learn to obey God. And
Daniel knew that the blessing of God would only come to Israel if they
repented from their evil ways and turned their hearts around to
listening and doing what God wanted them to. Daniel knew that the
problem with Israel was not God, it was Israel. God is always faithful
to the very things he promised and one of the things he promised was
that if Israel refused to obey, then Israel would pay the consequences
by being captive to a foreign king in a far away city - Babylon. He
knew all their problems were nobody’s fault but their own.
And so when he cried out to God,
when he was praying he thought God might hear him, in fact, God would
hear him, and God would see what was going on, not because Israel, or
even Daniel was such a great person, rather because God is a merciful
God. And so he asked God to remember how kind he had been to Israel in
the past, what he had done for Israel in taking them out of slavery in
Egypt, what he had done in making them a great nation and giving them a
beautiful city called Jerusalem. He knew that God would listen because
of who God is!
And once he knew why God would
listen, it was as if his prayer changed. Humbly, Daniel it seemed rose
up in his prayer and with fiery earnestness he stood before God and
boldly cried out:
O Lord, listen!
O Lord, forgive!
O Lord, hear and act!
For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your
people bear your Name."
God would listen, he knew it.
God’s reputation was at stake. God's good name throughout the
nations was at stake. God would do something to rescue his people. God
would do something to rebuild Jerusalem. Daniel boldly knew it.
While he was still praying this, an
Angel, Gabriel came rushing in, his wings flapping hard from fast
flight. He came with the answer that had been given right when Daniel
started to pray, but it took a while for the answer to arrive. And so
Gabriel gave to Daniel an answer.
The answer Gabriel gave was hard to
understand. Let me read it to you, and then we will try to figure out
what it means.
Gabriel said to Daniel: "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for
your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end
to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. "Know and
understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild
Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven
'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a
trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the
Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the
ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end
will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and
desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for
one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to
sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an
abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is
poured out on him."
He spoke in numbers, he mentioned seventy sevens. Does any of
you know what 70 times 7 is? That is four hundred
and ninety. Jerusalem would be rebuilt, but it would never be the same
as it once was and there would be trouble building it. But in just
under 490 years, one person would come, and he would die, he would be
cut off. Who do you think that would be? The answer is
Jesus! He was cut off, that is crucified, he would finish
transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring
everlasting righteousness, seal up the vision and anoint the most holy.
Jesus put an end to all the Old Testament sacrifices. His sacrifice was
once for all. He put an end to the old covenant, making the new
covenant with his blood. Obviously, a lot of what Gabriel said points
to Jesus. It was hard for Daniel to understand. It is hard for us to
understand. Some think that Gabriel was scrunching all of the rest of
history into what he told Daniel, so that there will still be times of
war and difficulty before everything that Christ has accomplished is
Themes for adults - Daniel is a
picture of a true intercessor. He identifies with Israel - confessing
all of their sins as if they were his own, shame included.
He identifies with God, God’s character, God’s
reputation, and he pleads not because of his good character, it is if
Daniel is hardly part of this picture, he pleads because of
In the process, notice that in pleading for other’s
forgiveness, God answers. In pleading for God’s mercy to be
applied to others, God answers. In the same way, we can and ought to
confess the sins of the ones that we love in order that God will
forgive them to. We have been deeply influenced by individualism, God
sees us not only as individuals but corporately and that is why we can
seek the grace and forgiveness of God, even for those around us.
Scripture on which this story is
based - Daniel 9 NIV
1 In the first year of
Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the
Babylonian kingdom-- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel,
understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given
to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last
seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in
prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and
awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and
obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked
and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We
have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name
to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the
"Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame--the
men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far,
in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our
unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our
fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have
rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the
laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has
transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. "Therefore
the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant
of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.
You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers
by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has
ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is
written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we
have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins
and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring
the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything
he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
"Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a
mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day,
we have sinned, we have done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your
righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem,
your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers
have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those
"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your
sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O
God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that
bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are
righteous, but because of your great mercy.
O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O
my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my
people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy
hill-- while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the
earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the
evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now
come to give you insight and understanding.
As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to
tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message
and understand the vision:
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to
finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to
bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and
to anoint the most holy. "Know and understand this: From the issuing of
the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the
ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It
will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will
have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the
city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will
continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will
confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the
'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of
the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until
the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
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