[b]The Man God Finally Found[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
God had promised through Jeremiah that seventy years after the Israelites were taken to Babylon, they would return to Jerusalem (Jer.25:12,13). When Daniel was over 87 years old (having lived through the whole period of the captivity), he read that prophecy of Jeremiah.
Daniel was the wisest of all men who had lived up until his time - even wiser than Solomon. [We can see this from the fact that when God wanted to point out the cleverness of Satan, He compared Satan's wisdom with Daniel's, and not Solomon's - and Daniel was a young man living in Babylon when God said that (Ezek.28:3,14)]
But when Daniel read what God had promised, He didn't use his clever mind and conclude that God's Word would be fulfilled automatically, without his having to do anything. No. (That type of attitude is fatalism, not Christianity).
He mourned and FASTED and prayed earnestly that God's Word would be fulfilled. (Dan.9:2,3). And that was how God's Word was fulfilled. There we see how the wisest man who ever lived, did not lean on his own wisdom or sense of logic, when reading God's Word and praying.
God does not work apart from a man standing in the gap and praying.
Daniel was also a righteous man. When God wanted to point out the three most righteous men that ever lived, He mentioned the names of Noah, Daniel and Job - and Daniel was a young man, when God said that!! (Ezek.14:14,20). Just as Joseph had kept himself pure in Egypt, Daniel had also kept himself pure in Babylon (Dan.1:8). Yet this righteous Daniel when he knelt before God, acknowledges himself as a sinner!! (Dan.9:4-11).
One mark of a genuine man of God, is that he is more aware of his own sins than anyone else's. Like Paul, all true men of God consider themselves to be the chief of all the sinners in the world. The sins that disturb their consciences are not the dirty ones that common sinners fall into. No. Their consciences are so sensitive that they consider even prayerlessness as a sin (1 Sam.12:23). They are also quick to identify themselves with the sins of the people with whom God has placed them. It is only the prayers of such righteous men that are effective with God (Jas.5:16).
It was Daniel's prayers that moved men (and even kings!) at that time to rebuild God's temple, and the city of Jerusalem itself finally - as we read in the books of Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra and Nehemiah.
Daniel himself was too old by then to go and work in Jerusalem. But God had young men like Zerubbabel, Zechariah and Joshua to do that. But these man needed the prayer- backing of Daniel to accomplish their task - just as in an earlier time, Joshua and his men needed the prayer-backing of Moses to overcome the Amalekites (Exod.17:8-13).
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon