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Southeastern Baptist Seminary Message – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
May 7, 2023 3:00 pm

Southeastern Baptist Seminary Message – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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There is not a more outstanding character than Daniel in all the Old Testament, but he's saying, our sin, our rebellion, our disobedience. In other words, he stopped pointing the finger at them. He stopped blaming others.

Here's Anne. So Daniel couldn't prevent his name from being changed. He couldn't prevent what they did to him physically. But he wasn't about to eat food that was offered to an idol and give tribute to an idol. So he said, I'm not going to do that. And he said, just give me a test.

Put me on water and vegetables and fruit for ten days. And so they did. And after ten days, he was healthier and smarter than all those who had compromised because God is faithful. And in chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had a dream. He woke up. He was very disturbed, so he called for the wise men.

And he said, I want you to not just interpret the dream, but tell me what the dream was because I've forgotten it. And the wise men said, nobody can do that. And he said, well, you're good for nothing. And he ordered them all killed. And Daniel was, at that point, one of the wise men. So he had just gotten a death sentence.

So he said, whoa, give me a night. The next morning, God had given him the dream and the interpretation because God is faithful. And in chapter 3, his three friends, out on the plain of Shinar, refused to bow down to the statue of gold. And so they were thrown into the fiery furnace and the Son of God shows up.

Not a hair on their heads was singed because God is faithful. And in chapter 5, Daniel goes into that feast of Belshazzar, who I'm guessing is Nebuchadnezzar's grandson. He's a spoiled brat and they're in this big drunken orgy in the middle of the drunken feast. And they brought out the vessels dedicated to the glory of God in the temple in Jerusalem and they were toasting their pagan gods with them. And there's this hand that begins writing on the wall, you know. And they go stone cold sober and somebody calls for Daniel. And Daniel tells Belshazzar to his face this night, your life will be required of you. And that night the Medes and Persians slipped under the gate and they took Belshazzar's life because God is faithful. In chapter 6, the next King Darius, egomaniac, he was convinced by the enemies of Daniel to declare that people could only pray to him.

And he signed that into law. And Daniel opened his window to Jerusalem like he did three times a day, got on his knees, prayed, was arrested, thrown to the lion's den. Next morning the King, Daniel, has your God been able to deliver you? Oh yes, he sent an angel to shut the lion's mouths because God is faithful. Confident in the faithfulness of God by his experience. What experiences have you had of God's faithfulness? Daniel was confident of God's faithfulness and God's righteousness. In verse 7, Lord you are righteous.

You do the right thing. Think about it. When finally Judah had so rebelled against God that he sent in the Babylonians and it took him 22 years because God was so patient he didn't want any to perish. He was just wanting Judah to repent and he would have stayed his hand of judgment. And when she refused and she became belligerent and defiant, he sent in the Babylonians. They tore down the walls of the city.

They burned the city with fire and they took Solomon's glorious temple and they leveled it and they took all the treasures back to Babylon and the people they didn't slaughter in the streets, they took off into captivity. And Daniel is saying, God, you've done the right thing. God is faithful, he's righteous, he's good. Verse 15, Daniel was confident of his greatness. 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.

In other words, God, if you could move the heart of Pharaoh to let your people go, you can move the heart of this Persian emperor to let your people go because God is a great God. And if God could save Noah from his judgment in the flood, if he could save the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, if he could save them from Pharaoh's pursuing army and open the Red Sea and bring them through, if he could save them in the wilderness from all the Perizzites and Ammonites and Edomites and, you know, all the Ites, all those enemies, bring them into the promised land, give them victory after victory after victory. If he could raise Jesus from the dead and deliver us from judgment once and for all, he can deliver his people today. The people in your circle, the people in your family, in your church, in your neighborhood, in this city, in this state, this nation, it's not too late or I wouldn't be up here, I don't think. I believe God is still calling out to us, turn to me, turn to me, turn to me, and I'll turn to you.

It's not too late, but I believe we're on the brink and we're over into the abyss and we're going to reach that tipping point where it will be too late and we'll be like Jeremiah crying as we watch our nation destroy itself. And Jeremiah had the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the heart to understand that in back of the Babylonians was God. If you'd read the newspaper in that day, I doubt it would have said that.

You read the newspaper today, it talks about record-breaking storms, it talks about murders and polarization and rioting. They don't have the eyes to see and back of it is a righteous holy God who's just backing away and giving us over to ourselves. That's his judgment. So God is a great God. Listen to him, if he can deliver the Jews from Egypt and if he can deliver the Jews as he did eventually from Persia, he can deliver your loved one.

He can deliver our nation. But we need to turn to him, get serious about praying. Daniel not only was confident in God, but now we see him just pouring out his heart in confession of sin, deeply contrite. And as he goes through this prayer, and I'm not going to take the time to go through it, but read through this prayer, it's really amazing.

He uses plural pronouns all the way through it. So I'll give you an example in verse five, he says, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled.

We have turned away from your commands and your laws. And you see the we, our, he was so identifying with the sin of his people that he took it on himself as though it was his own. And Daniel was an exemplary person.

You read about his life, there is not a more outstanding character than Daniel in all the Old Testament. But he's saying our sin, our rebellion, our disobedience. In other words, he stopped pointing the finger at them. He stopped blaming others.

And he took on the sin of his people as though it were his own. And I'm speaking to myself, it's hard to do, isn't it? Because we do see them as the problem.

And they are. But we're all sinners, aren't we? The ground is level at the foot of the cross. We all come humbly in need of God's mercy and forgiveness and grace. So we can say our sin and our rebellion are in need of you.

Oh, dear God, we need you. And so he confessed our sin. When is the last time you confessed your sin? Do you wait until your church has communion and then you just try to, you know, God forgive me my many sins?

Or every day, do you keep short accounts? God, I'm so sorry I was impatient. Oh, I'm so sorry for that thought that I didn't just let pass through my mind, but I dwelt on it.

You know, I really had a conversation with that person in my mind. I think I'm a gate that's really coming from bitterness and unforgiveness and headaches that come from anger. And I mean, you know, confess your sin every day. When you've entered into that covenant relationship with God and you've come to the cross, you're forgiven. You know that of all of your sin, past, present and future. Praise God. He will never hold you accountable for the guilt of your sin ever again. You know that? It's all under the blood of Jesus.

When he said it's finished, he meant it. You're forgiven. You're cleansed. You're clothed in his righteousness. So why do we come back to the cross every day to confess our sin? In order to just keep our fellowship with God sweet.

To make sure there's no barriers between him and us. To confess our sin so that there's nothing that's clogging the flow of his Holy Spirit in us and through us so that we can be that channel of blessing to other people. Confess your sin. And I found myself that that takes courage. It takes a lot of courage to see myself as God sees me because, you know, I pretend about myself.

And I think I'm, you know, pretty good and I'm a little bit better than that person, not as bad as that person. God showed me that several years ago that sin in my life I didn't even know was there. Conviction set in and it took enormous courage to look at myself as he sees me and confess it using the same labels for the sin that he uses. Confess your sin. And he confessed our sin and our shame in verse six and eight. He says, we have not listened to your servants the prophets who spoke in your name to all the people of the land.

Oh Lord, we are covered with shame because we've sinned against you. And God had sent a messenger after messenger. He sent Jeremiah who spoke with tears and sent Ezekiel who spoke with visions and Amos who spoke with logic and Isaiah who spoke with eloquence and messenger. And those are great prophets.

I mean they had the best. And they were cruising through the land speaking to the people and preaching and their messages were God's word. I mean these were the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, one after another. And the people refused to listen.

They turned deaf ears. They rebelled against God and that's a shame. And I think in this part of the country we have some great preachers. And we have some maybe not so good but you know you can turn on television and get some good ones, not so good ones.

But we've got a lot of variety, a lot of opportunity. We have great churches almost on every street corner. We have Bibles in the bookstores and we have Bibles in our homes and we have a multitude of translations and we have Bible studies in this area.

So many Bible studies, praise God for them. And we're disobedient and we don't read our Bibles. And we're not living for, that's a shame because we know better. And I think of America and we're different from other nations.

You know that. They're trying to tell us that we're not but we are. And the politically correct people don't want to say this but our nation was founded on faith in God. And our first president George Washington took the Continental Congress and the first act was to get on his knees and dedicate this nation to the glory of God. And look how God has blessed us and He's given us His favor and prosperity and we're shaking our fist in His face and stripping the name of His Son from everything that's public and saying we can't take the Bible here, we can't say this there and just, that's a shame.

Because we know better. And that leads to scorn. In verse 16, your people are an object of scorn. People of the world would look at Jerusalem and the walls were broken down and the city was burned and the temple was no more and they would say, if your God is God, I don't want to know Him.

Daniel was very clear about what he was asking God. In verse 16, oh Lord in keeping with all your righteous acts turn away your anger from Jerusalem. Oh Lord listen, oh Lord forgive. This is verse 19. Oh Lord hear and act.

For your sake oh my God do not delay because your city bears your name. So I want you to understand the basic problem in Judah was not the fact she was in captivity in Babylon. The basic problem in Judah was not that she'd left her foundation of faith. The basic problem in Judah was not that she was enslaved to the Babylonians.

The basic problem in Judah was sin. And in America, the basic problem in our nation is not political. Now that's a problem, but it's not the basic problem. And it's not the economy and it's not immigration and it's not, you know, technology.

It's not the military. The basic problem in America is sin. So when we pray, we can pray for those problems. Yes we can. But bottom line we're saying, oh God would you hear our prayer, would you forgive our sin?

We want to stand in the gap for our people. Oh Lord hear. Oh Lord act.

Oh Lord forgive. Why? For the glory of your name. Bottom line. We're not just wanting what we want because we want an easier life. We want it to be more peaceful.

We want our economy to go up so we can have more money to spend on ourselves. We're not, bottom line, for the glory of your name. As we pray your promise back to you, if your people who are called by your name will humble themselves and pray and seek your face and turn from our wicked ways. And God we've done that.

And we've spent time turning from our wicked ways. We've confessed our sin and we're willing to repent and turn away from it. And therefore God you've said you would hear our prayer and you'd forgive our sin and you'd heal our land. And God when you do, for the glory of your name, everybody will know.

It's just God pouring out his spirit on his people. Bringing us what I pray would be revival and outpouring of freshness to our faith that would be contagious, float in us and through us to our land. And God would be glorified. In the name of Jesus we'll be exalted. Bottom line, our prayer is for the glory of God. So I'm going to tell you, if he's glorified through judgment, if he's glorified through drawing a red line and when God draws a red line he doesn't vacillate.

When he draws a red line and we cross it and we pass the tipping point, he's glorified even in his judgment. Daniel's prayer was God would you hear my prayer? Would you forgive our sin? Would you hear?

Would you act? Would you restore us to the place of blessing? Would you restore us in a right relationship with yourself? Oh God, would you deliver us from judgment?

Would you take us back home? Daniel, in a sense, hunkered down in his circle praying for his people. He prayed until his prayer was confirmed and he didn't have long to pray because his prayer was answered immediately. In verse 20, while I was speaking and praying, verse 21, while he was praying the answer came to him. Now sometimes God answers that quickly and sometimes he doesn't. The next chapter he doesn't answer Daniel that quickly but in this case he answered and I believe he will answer you and me in the same way.

And the way he answered Daniel immediately he encouraged him. And the angel Gabriel came to him and said Daniel, your prayer has been heard, you're highly esteemed. If that's the only answer I ever got to my prayer, it would be enough, wouldn't it be? And heaven is heard, your prayer, you're highly esteemed.

Listen to me, someone who stands in the gap for your nation, someone who intercedes for those within your circle, is someone who is highly esteemed in heaven. Daniel's prayer was answered immediately through the encouragement and then through enlightenment when the angel said to him, in verse 22, I've come to give you insight and understanding. So while Daniel was praying he received insight and understanding. And this is a point that maybe it's just for one person here but it's blessed me. You don't have to know everything when you start to pray.

You don't have to have it all figured out. You don't have to just pray so specifically, oh my goodness I didn't pray for that so now God won't answer it that way. You just start to pray. And as you pray, God will give you insight and understanding as to how to pray. He can bring a verse to mind, he can bring a phrase to mind, he can bring a thought to mind, he can bring an idea to mind.

And as you pray he gives you insight and understanding. When I was a girl growing up, I would get my daddy's big binoculars and I wanted to see a little bird, the first little bird in the summertime, indigo-bunning that would come out and sit on the maple tree in the front yard. And I'd take those big binoculars and I'd look through the binoculars, everything was a blur.

You know, the mountains, the bird, the trees. And then I would move that little wheel in the middle and it would come into focus. And as I looked through the binoculars and I turned that little wheel it would come into focus and I could see the little indigo-bunning. And when you pray and you're praying for the nation, you're praying for our state, you're praying for our city, you're praying for those in your circle, it's all a blur. And as you pray it's like the focus gets sharper and sharper and God just brings you right down to what he would have you pray for. So while he was praying, he received insight and understanding. So his prayer was answered immediately. And it was answered ultimately.

I love this. Verse 21, The angel came to him at the time of the evening sacrifice. There hadn't been a sacrifice in Jerusalem for 47 years. Why in the world would Daniel be mindful of the fact that this answer to prayer was coming at the time of the evening sacrifice? Now I think God is very intentional. You know, he doesn't do things whimsically or by mistake. He's very intentional.

And I think he was giving Daniel a very subtle message. Daniel, the answer to your prayer that I would forgive the sin of your people and that I would save you from judgment, it's going to come at the time of the evening sacrifice about 450 years from now, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when the Lamb of God will be sacrificed on the altar of wood and take my judgment once and for all. And your people will be set free. Prayer answered ultimately. Our prayer ultimately is answered at the cross, isn't it? Jesus is the answer. And Daniel in an Old Testament looking through the fog of the years, I believe was given an Old Testament glimpse of the cross and the answer to his prayer that it would bring. But then his prayer was answered also specifically. He had prayed that God would release them, take them back to the city, restore them to that place of blessing, bring them back under a right relationship with himself.

Three years later, Ezra chapter 1 verse 1 records, in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation. You can go home. Can you imagine?

It was phenomenal. Why would he just turn out this labor force and all these slaves and just say you can go back? He even paid for the trip.

You can go back. If people packed their bags and they got their families together and they gathered their belongings, did they run back to God? Did they run all the way to Jerusalem and so excited to be free and to be going back and to get back to God and back to the place of blessing? And did they see in the shadows an old man, too old to make the journey? I wonder if he had tears coming down his face, tears of joy and tears that were bittersweet. Splashing through the ashes, dressed in sackcloth, on his face, praying for his people. What difference does a prayer of one person make? Ask Daniel. When you and I are faced with a mess, whether it's in our world or the world, whether it's in our nation or a home, whether it's in our ministry, our church or our family, when we're faced with a mess, what difference can one person make?

I think one person can make all the difference. We draw a circle. We get on our face before God. And we plead under compulsion because of the problems that we see in our world and the promises in where we just reverse the thunder. Centered down on God, confident in his covenant and in his character, with a contrite, broken heart, clearing what we're asking. And we just keep on praying until he answers our prayer. What difference does the prayer of one person make?

You're not going to know until you choose to be that one person. Before Ann closes today's message, it's our hope you'll join us here again next week as Ann continues to bring a message of God's truth from God's Word. Here's Ann with this encouragement as you consider her invitation to be that one person who keeps on praying until God answers. Would you make the choice to be one person who prays like Daniel prayed?

If so, let me give you a heads up. The enemy will try to divert you from your commitment to spend time each day in prayer. Your children will get sick. Company will show up. You get slammed with the busiest schedule you've ever had. And once you actually start to pray, that's when the phone rings or the kids start to fight or your thoughts begin to scatter all over what you did yesterday and what you have to do today.

You get the idea, don't you? But be encouraged when we pray heaven is moved. When you and I pray, heaven is not only moved, but heaven will respond and rally to our cause. Jesus himself promised in John 14 verses 13 and 14, I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it. So when you fail to consistently keep your commitment to pray, as I have so many times, don't quit. When you struggle with concentration in prayer, as I still do, don't give up.

When your content seems weak and ineffective, as mine has been in so many ways, keep on keeping on. Remember, one day the enemy will be defeated finally, completely, totally, permanently, eternally. So until that day, keep praying the Daniel prayer until heaven is moved. Your prayer is answered and this nation is changed, for the glory of His name. Thank you for listening to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. And for more on the Daniel prayer, go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-07 16:40:08 / 2023-05-07 16:50:00 / 10

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