During the days of Daniel’s captivity in Babylon, he realized that he lacked understanding. So he gave his attention to seeking God with fasting, prayer, sackcloth and ashes (Daniel 9:2-3). In his repentance, Daniel focused his heart on God and on His Word. He had a specific purpose in mind. He went into repentance because he did not understand the plan of God or the mind of Christ that was available for that generation. Daniel recognized that wickedness leads to a lack of understanding, but God grants wisdom and understanding to the righteous. If we believe that we are those “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11),1 then we should be in repentance as well. We reach in with faith, focus on the Word of God, and continue to humble our hearts. As a result of this repentance, “many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand” (Daniel 12:10).
In seeking understanding, we are asking for something appropriate for our generation because we live in an age of ignorance. Understanding the things of God is becoming more and more dim in the world around us. As iniquity continues to abound, the love of many is growing cold (Matthew 24:12). But in our repentance, we could literally break the backbone of the spirit that presides over this generation to keep men and women from understanding the things of God. Paul recognized, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). God always works through human instrumentality. But if we are going to serve God in our generation, we must first understand what it is God is doing.
I want our spirits to be disturbed like Daniel was disturbed. I want us to look around at our lives, the way we live, the way we think, and how we are relating to the Word of God. Ask yourself, “Am I really doing the right things? Am I supposed to just be sitting here in Babylon or is God about to do something?” God always moves through a people who are prepared, who are
giving themselves over to the will of God in their generation. Moses was reluctant and stuttered, but God still used him to lead His people (Exodus 4:10). Your problems are not an excuse. Do not disqualify yourself. God has something more He wants to do in us and through us.
Lord, we ask You to purge us of wickedness. Purge our spirits and our hearts. Purify us and bring us like Daniel into a new depth of understanding. We are the light of the world and somewhere in this generation, there must be a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). We are not asking for ourselves. Rather, we are asking that we might become a beacon of Your grace. You instructed us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And that is what we are reaching for with all our hearts. We repent with a tremendous hope and expectation that You will come and meet with us—just as You did with Daniel. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).