“IT’S OUR TIME”
Daniel 9:1-3 – “In the first year of darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
“In the first year of his reign I daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the Prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.”
After years of ignoring the Prophets of God who had warned Judah to repent of their idolatry, God finally allowed the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar to come to the Holy City of Jerusalem and take captive the People of God . Nebuchadnezzar also carried away the treasures of the House of God . He destroyed with fire the Temple of Solomon, the City, and the walls of Jerusalem by tearing them down to the ground and burning them!
The Prophet Daniel had been taken captive as a young man by the invading force from Babylon . Scholars tell us that Daniel was about 13 or 14 years old at that time . Daniel found himself living in a time of the Judgment of God. He witnessed his beloved Nation taken captive, Solomon’s Temple and his beloved homeland destroyed by a heathen nation . What must it have been like for Daniel to be forcibly removed from his Nation and to be taken some 1,500 plus miles away from all that he had ever known? A young man born into a time of Judgment, a judgment that came upon him, not of his doing, but as a result of the sins of his elders and the generations before him who refused to turn from their wicked ways and return to the Lord their God with true repentant hearts .
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 (9/11)
As I pondered what had happened to Judah, and to Daniel in particular, I could not help but think about our nation and specifically about our children on September 11, 2001 . On that day the lives of us all and especially the lives of the younger generation (like Daniel) were taken captive by a history not of their own making . Our nation woke up to a sudden vicious attack by an enemy from a distant land, an ancient people whose language we understood not (refer to Jer . 5:15) . I remember the sense of dread as we felt that history, an evil history, was happening to us and our children, yet there was absolutely nothing we could do about it .
Where were the voices of the Prophets warning us that we as a people were in impending danger? All we had been given was a steady diet of self-help messages, prosperity preaching, and feel good “I’m o.k. your o.k.” sermons for the better part of 20 plus years leading up to the 9/11 disaster .
Suddenly, the world that my wife and I had known, the world that our children were growing up in, was now forever changed . Yet, what troubled me the most, at the time, was how ill-prepared the leaders of the church were to deal with the aftermath of such an event .
Like the nation of Judah we were taken captive by history .
What happened to us on 9/11, in my opinion, reflected in the natural a greater truth, which had already been occurring in the spirit realm . We as the church had been overrun by the enemy many years before because of our idolatry and the failure of our elders to heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit . We had given ourselves to the pursuit of the pleasures of this world, feeling free to continue attending church as if nothing was wrong . This was also the attitude of Judah 2,600 years earlier . This continued lack of seriousness at the warnings of God (given through the Prophet Jeremiah and others) at the time was the catalyst that led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away captive of all the people of Judah . It is my opinion that 9/11 was a Judgment from God which came upon our nation as it had come upon Judah during the time of the young Prophet Daniel .
DANIEL IN EXILE
Daniel found himself in a foreign land . His Nation had been destroyed and all hope he may have had as a youth for a future, appeared to be over . Even though Daniel found himself a captive he never gave up his consecration to the Lord . Daniel’s destiny was directly tied to his devotion to the Lord, it was his refusal to compromise throughout his life that continually brought him to the high places of power where he was used of God to effect the history of the day .
Daniel lived under the rule of the Babylonian Empire and would live to see the destruction of one empire and the ascending of another . Daniel continued unto “the first year of king Cyrus” (Dan . 1:21) the leader of the Medo-Persian Empire . After the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire, Judah had been in captivity now for nearly 70 years . As one empire gave way to another, Daniel set himself to seek the Lord his God on behalf of himself and his people . While seeking the Lord Daniel came across the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah which foretold that the people would not remain in captivity forever but would be let go and allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God and their Nation, after 70 years (Dan . 9:1-2) .
Daniel now was an old man, he had lived his life far from home and had had a front row seat to history . . . now was the time that he had hoped for . . . the time for the captivity to end and for the People of God to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple of God . Daniel set himself to pray that the Word of the Lord would be fulfilled . Daniel took it upon himself to pray as if his prayers were the key to the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s Prophecy . Daniel called upon God on behalf of the Nation, first confessing his own sins and then the sins of his people, asking the Lord to bring to pass what he had promised some 70 years earlier . Daniel’s prayer was indeed heard by the Lord . The people of Judah were allowed to return home and begin the rebuilding of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah .
OUR TIME HAS COME
I believe we are living in similar times, the last 20 plus years have witnessed a captivity of sorts, a captivity of a spiritual wasteland . The church around the world over the last few years has witnessed a decline of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ . Messages of Salvation and Deliverance from sin were replaced with self-help sermons, financial seminars, and a host of “man-centered” instead of “God-centered” messages that have left a generation of people captive to sin and wandering in a wilderness of religion. Yet, I believe that we have reached the point of critical mass . . . the time for a return to the preaching of the Gospel as the only hope for mankind has indeed come . Like the Prophet Daniel so many years ago, the Spirit of the Lord is stirring the hearts of His Children to begin to seek the Lord and pray that He would indeed bring an end to our spiritual captivity . The time is now, the captivity is over for those who have ears to hear, the return from spiritual exile has begun, let us, therefore, rise to the occasion and recognize that an open door has been set before this generation to indeed rebuild the House of the Lord that has been laid waste for too long now .
A new day has dawned, the opportunity to reach the whole world with the Gospel has begun and a final Harvest is about to be reaped that will usher in the greatest outpouring of Deliverance, Salvation, and Sanctification the world has ever known . . . the captivity is over . . .let us rise and rebuild the House of the Lord . . . for the end of all things is upon us . . . keep looking up .
God bless you and “Keep Looking Up!”