The Seventy Weeks Prophecy
Prologue: Daniel 9:3-4
Do you praise God? How?
How do you approach God? Observe the way Daniel the prophet did it in these verses:
"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:"
"Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments"
The Hebrew original text sounds like this:
"Vaettená et-panáy el-Adonáy Haelohím, lebakésh tefilá betakhanuním, betsóm, besák vaéfer. Vaetpalelá la-Yaweh Eloháy vaetvadé vaomrá:"
"Anná Adonáy Haél Hagadól ve Hanorá, shomér haberít vehakhésed leohabáv uleshomré mishvotáv"
"His covenant of love" is the translation of "haberít vehakhésed", literally "the covenant and the mercy". For the rest, we can read a pretty literal translation in the NIV.
Is your God the same as Daniel's God? In verse 4, the prophet calls Him "Great" and "Awesome". And Daniel's praise of God can be traced throughout his prayer. He calls God:
"Righteous" (verses 7, 16)
"Merciful and forgiving" (verses 9, 18)
The truthful one (verse 13)
whose Name is perdurable (verse 15)
Has God been righteous to you? Merciful? Truthful? Has he delivered you? Do you think He is "Great" and "Awesome"?
Do you praise Him like Daniel did?
We can find many verses calling to praise God in His Word. Should God be a narcissist or egomaniac who demands our worship? Or is it the right thing to worship Him for many reasons? Let's take a look to those reasons:
- Creation: In Revelation 4:11 we read, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being". The book of Genesis shows us all things created by God - including human beings. Isn't that a reason to praise Him?
- Authority: In Revelation 19:6-7 we read, "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!" As the King of the world, God is the One with authority to rule. That's why He is in the perfect position to demand worship. This can also be found in Psalms 47:1-2; 89:15-18; 95:1-7 and 96:1-13.
- Holiness: In Revelation 15:3-4 we read, "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed" Among all other reasons, let's accentuate this one, "For You Alone are Holy". There is no salvation, no eternal life and no communion with God without holiness. And nobody can make us holy but God. In the Word of God we can read also about idolatry and understand the principle that "we become similar to whom we adore" (God or idols)
- Goodness: Psalms 100:4-5 says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations". There would be no salvation without God's goodness. Salvation is a covenant, a pact, a deal, where we do some things in order to escape hell and go to heaven. Our failure should disqualify us if not for the goodness of God who, like a loving parent, forgives our sins and encourages us to try again. "I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me" is the decision of King David in Psalms 13:6.
- Blessings: Psalm 136 is a call to praise ("to give thanks" is "yadáh" in Hebrew, which also means "glorify" or "praise") with a long list of God's blessings towards Israel. God created us (that's no happenstance) and it is He who delivered the Hebrews, opened the Red Sea to make way for them and closed it again to kill their persecutors (no haphazardness) God is the one who helped them all the way to the promised land, and gave them that land. All of Israel's blessings come from Him. And all of our blessings, too. Not giving Him thanks - or praise - would make us ungrateful. Ungratefulness has been called the greatest vice on earth by many. From this ugly sentiment come resentment, bitterness, cynicism, selfishness and many other sins that make us unhappy. There is no possible goodness without gratefulness. The same way we teach our children, "say thank you", in order to rise them as decent people, God teaches us to be grateful in order to deliver us from a poisoned heart.
- Protection: In Psalm 98, King David begins by saying "I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart", and among all reasons, he says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me". It is God who saves us, protects us, preserves our life. There are thousands of ways to lose our life, and it is God who keeps us alive, who averts catastrophes, accidents, illnesses, evil deeds and anything that would kill us. We are not alive "by chance" but because of God's will.
- Salvation: In Revelation 14:1-3 we read, "Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth". Nobody could learn the song of the redeemed there, but the redeemed themselves, and nobody can now either. As a matter of fact, to praise God is a sign of salvation. The day when the church was born, with the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room, the effect of being filled with the Spirit of God was that they were "declaring the wonders of God". We praise God because he has saved us, and we make salvation known because we are praising God. He is the Savior, and worthy of praise!
Creation, kingdom, holiness, goodness, blessings, protection, salvation... We could find even more reasons in the Bible and in our lives to praise God, but they would just reinforce the same idea: GOD IS WORTHY OF PRAISE!
If you have not received yet Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, today is the day! All you have to do is to pray to Him, confess your sins and ask Him for forgiveness. Believe in His death and resurrection, ask Him to come to your heart and to become your Lord and Savior, and let His Spirit fill your heart. He loves you immensely, and there's nothing on earth He desires more than your salvation. Share your salvation with others, also! He wants to save them, too.
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus is coming soon!