Daniel 9:13-14, “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on 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 on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.”
Sometimes road signs can be confusing. Driving around Atlanta can be hard and stress-producing and will convince you that there really is a merciful God. It is a wonder that there are not more accidents and fatalities. Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe what can be seen on those roads. The road signs are there to help and to tell you what lane to drive in if you want to exit the freeway. They also tell you how fast to go when to pass, and what dangers are ahead. Paying attention to these signs will increase your chances of a safe and successful trip.
We are told that the things in the Bible are written as warnings and examples for us who read them (1 Corinthians 10:11). It behooves us to look at the stories in God’s Word, not as merely historical narratives, but as solid truths from which we can gain important life lessons. And, it is also the way to obtain eternal life and avoid the disasters our forefathers brought on themselves.
The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, gives us three reasons we face the calamities we sometimes encounter on our journey through this life.
We have not sought the favor of our Lord God. As children, we learn very early on how to get the good things we want. We are taught the magic words, “Please and thank you,” which will open doors for just about anything and everything we desire. We learn how to avoid punishment and seek the favor of the adults who care for us. We should also learn what is required to obtain the “favor of our Lord God.” God’s Word tells us how to please God. It tells us plainly what to avoid and what to do to seek His favor. This doesn’t obtain our salvation – only faith in Christ alone does that, but it does put us in the right place to receive His love and mercy.
We are often very comfortable with the status quo. We give very little attention to what our thoughts, words, and actions reflect about our loving, gracious, and merciful Heavenly Father. We glide through life doing things the way we’ve always done them, not realizing the selfishness, pride, or anger they might represent. We must recognize where we are acting against God and turn from it. We must learn where our actions and thoughts break God’s law and His heart. These things sent Christ to the cross for us! We must become aware of them so we can renounce them and seek the healing and restoration that His love brings.
We have not given attention to the truth. One of the best ways to spot the false is to know what’s true. You are less likely to accept a fake $100 bill if you know what a real one feels and looks like. The same is true in our faith. We are less likely to fall for false teaching when we know the biblical teachings about God and Christ. If you don’t know what the Bible says about everyday life (much less controversial topics), you won’t be able to recognize and read the road signs warning you to stay away. We then fall prey to shysters and are led in the wrong direction when we don’t give our attention to God’s truth. “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
“. . .For the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.” (Daniel 9:14)
The Lord, our God, is righteous in everything He does. He is worthy of our trust and praise because He will not lead us in the wrong direction. He will lead us home.
“We do not make requests of you (God) because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay. . .” (Daniel 9:18-19)
Pay attention to the road signs! We can follow the road signs given to us through God’s Word with confidence because of His great mercy! We can walk steadily through dark places with the light of His word guiding us (Psalm 119:105). We can navigate our way through disasters of every kind when our eyes are watching His word for the truths that will strengthen us and fill us with His joy.