We have sinned - Though Daniel was alone, he spake in the name of the people in general - doubtless recounting the long series of crimes in the nation which had preceded the captivity, and which were the cause of the ruin of the city and temple.
And have committed iniquity - These varied forms of expression are designed to give “intensity” to what he says. It is equivalent to saying that they had sinned in every way possible. The mind, in a state of true repentance, dwells on its sins, and recounts the various forms in which iniquity has been done, and multiplies expressions of regret and sorrow on account of transgression.
From thy precepts - Thy commands; thy laws.
Thy judgments - Thy laws - the word “judgments” in the Scripture denoting what God judges to be right for us to do, as well as what it is right for him to inflict.
To this point Daniel’s prayer is employed in making a full and heart-broken confession of sin. He vindicates fully the course of the Lord, acknowledging their sins to be the cause of all their calamities, as God had threatened them by the prophet Moses. And he does not discriminate in favor of himself. No self-righteousness appears in his petition. And although he had suffered long for others’ sins, enduring seventy years of captivity for the wrongs of his people, himself meanwhile living a godly life, and receiving signal honors and blessings from the Lord, he brings no accusations against any one to the exclusion of others, pleads no sympathy for himself as a victim of others’ wrongs, but ranks himself in with the rest, and says, We have sinned, and unto us belongs confusion of face. And he acknowledges that they had not heeded the lessons God designed to teach them by their afflictions, by turning again unto him.DAR 185.1
An expression in the 14th verse is worthy of especial notice: “Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us.” Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil. But none may think that the Lord does not see, or that he has forgotten. His retributions will surely overtake the transgressor, against whom they are threatened, without deviation and without fail. He will watch upon the evil, and in his own good time will bring it to pass.DAR 185.2
Daniel did not seek to excuse himself or his people before God; but in humility and contrition of soul he confessed the full extent and demerit of their transgressions, and vindicated God's dealings as just toward a nation that had set at nought His requirements and would not profit by His entreaties. 5T 636.1
There is great need today of just such sincere, heartfelt repentance and confession. Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not confessed our sin with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit, abhorring our iniquity, we have never sought truly for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we may not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our proud hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth. There is explicit instruction given concerning this matter. Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner. It is not to be made in a flippant and careless way or forced from those who have no realizing sense of the abhorrent character of sin. The confession that is mingled with tears and sorrow, that is the outpouring of the inmost soul, finds its way to the God of infinite pity. Says the psalmist: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” 5T 636.2
There are too many confessions like that of Pharaoh when he was suffering the judgments of God. He acknowledged his sin in order to escape further punishment, but returned to his defiance of heaven as soon as the plagues were stayed. Balaam's confession was of a similar character. Terrified by the angel standing in his pathway with drawn sword, he acknowledged his guilt, lest he should lose his life. There was no genuine repentance for sin, no contrition, no conversion of purpose, no abhorrence of evil, and no worth or virtue in his confession. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, returned to the priests, exclaiming: “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” But his confession was not of such a character as would commend him to the mercy of God. It was forced from his guilty soul by an awful sense of condemnation and a fearful looking for of judgment. The consequences that were to result to him drew forth this acknowledgment of his great sin. There was no deep, heartbreaking grief in his soul that he had delivered the Son of God to be mocked, scourged, and crucified; that he had betrayed the Holy One of Israel into the hands of wicked and unscrupulous men. His confession was only prompted by a selfish and darkened heart. 5T 637.1Read in context »
What a prayer was that which came forth from the lips of Daniel! What humbling of soul it reveals! The warmth of heavenly fire was recognized in the words that were going upward to God. Heaven responded to that prayer by sending its messenger to Daniel. In this our day, prayers offered in like manner will prevail with God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As in ancient times, when prayer was offered, fire descended from heaven, and consumed the sacrifice upon the altar, so in answer to our prayers, the heavenly fire will come into our souls. The light and power of the Holy Spirit will be ours.... CC 256.4Read in context »
Seek righteousness, and stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. This is your only safety. God calls upon you to seek Him with humility of heart. Read Daniel's prayer, and see if your experience will stand the test of fire. God will richly bless those who humble themselves before Him.... TDG 258.5Read in context »
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession. Daniel 9:3, 4. TMK 271.1
Daniel's example of prayer and confession is given for our instruction and encouragement.... Daniel knew that the appointed time for Israel's captivity was nearly ended, but he did not feel that because God had promised to deliver them, they themselves had no part to act. With fasting and contrition he sought the Lord, confessing his own sins and the sins of the people.... TMK 271.2Read in context »