Lesson: Daniel's Response to God's Word

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This is another lesson for Daniel 9.  The focus on this lesson is how prayer is a response to God’s Word.  Daniel prays in response to what he realizes from Jeremiah’s prophecy about the 70 year captivity.  This lesson provides practical opportunities for students to pray in response to God’s Word.  The lesson was prepared for older students and can be adapted for the needs of your ministry.  This is a teacher guide for you as you pray and prepare a lesson for your students.

Bible Story: Daniel’s Responds to God’s Word
Scripture: Daniel 9
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, backpack and things to add for weight, paper, pens/pencils,
Learning Goal: Students will learn that prayer is a response to God’s Word.
Learning Activity #1: Backpack illustration.  When discussing un-confessed sin add a book or object to make backpack heaver with each un-confessed sin.  When sin is confessed the weight of the guilt and shame is lifted and removed.
Learning Activity #2: Response time.  Have students find a quiet place and write down new things they may have learned from Daniel 9, interesting things etc.  Have them write a prayer in response to what they learned from Scripture.
Memory Verse:  Daniel 9:19 “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Bible Lesson:  Daniel’s Response to God’s Word

What is prayer?  (Allow responses)
Prayer is talking to God.  Prayer is not reciting poems (imagine standing before your friend reading a poem each time you talk to him/her) or saying the same things over and over again (illustrate how this would look in a friendship) (Matthew 6:7-KJV). It’s having a heart to heart conversation with the One True God.
Prayer is also a response our response to God’s Word.
Believers build a relationship with God through prayer.  A healthy relationship with our friends includes talking and listening to one another.  The same is true with a relationship with God.  We talk to God and we hear His voice by reading and studying His Word.  When we read God’s Word we learn about who God is and what His plans are.
Let’s turn in our Bible to Daniel 9. We are going to see from Daniel’s example that prayer is a response to God’s Word.
To help us get an idea of what it means to say that our prayers are a response to God’s Word let’s go back to a chapter that we have studied from Daniel.
Daniel 3:17-18 “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
We know how God protected these three men for their obedience to His Word by protecting them when they were thrown into a fiery furnace.
Our response to God’s Word in this example could be:  “Lord, help me to obey You and not fear what man may do to me.  Help me to trust You no matter who is threatening my life.”
(For the unsaved)  Acts 16:30-31:  “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.”
If you have never been saved (forgiven for your sin) your response to God’s Word can be to pray and acknowledge that you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried and rose again the third day.
Let’s read Daniel 9:1-2.  Who is the king?  Based on what Daniel wrote what activity was he involved in? (Reading Scripture) What Book of the Bible was Daniel reading?  (Jeremiah)  What did Daniel discover as he read Jeremiah?  (The 70 years of captivity for God’s people in Babylon was almost over.)
Read verse 3.  What was Daniel’s response to God’s Word?  He pleaded with God in prayer.  Looking at the phrases ‘in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes’ is that how we pray in our culture?  (No) What do you think it would mean for us to fast, and put on sackcloth and ashes?  It could mean that you and I choose to turn off all electronics (TV, video games, music etc) and find a quiet place to talk to God.  Can you think of other ways that we might set aside a chosen time to pray to God?
Read Daniel 9:4.  Daniel begins his prayer by focusing on who God is.  When we pray together in class we begin by praising God for a specific attribute or character trait about God.  What does Daniel say about God as He praises Him?
Immediately after Daniel praises God for keeping His covenant of love with all who love and obey Him, his response to God’s word is to confess (admit) his sin and the sins of the Jewish people.  Let’s look at verses 5-10. What are the sins that Daniel confesses?  (We have been wicked and rebelled, turned away from Your commands and laws, not listened to Your prophets, sinned against You, not obeyed the Lord or kept His laws, refusing to obey)
When we read God’s Word and understand that God is Holy (without sin/perfect) our response to Him in prayer is to confess any known sin.
The moment you and I believed in the Lord Jesus as our Savior from sin, all our past, present and future sins were forgiven because of Jesus’ death in our place on the cross.  He shed his blood and gave His life so that our sins could be forgiven.
As a believer we will sin.  Our sin will not affect our ability to go to heaven but it will affect our relationship with God.  If you offend or hurt your friend or family member can you go and talk and enjoy that relationship like nothing happened? You need to make things right by apologizing for what you did that was offensive.  Similarly, if we want a close relationship with God we cannot sin (offend) and think that it doesn’t affect our relationship.  He will never leave us or forsake us but sin interferes with a good relationship with God.  Our purpose as believers is to glorify God and point others to Jesus.  Sin casts a shadow on God’s power and greatness in our life.  The Good News is that “When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Let’s stop right now and respond to God’s Word.  Maybe some of you realize that you are allowing sin to invade your life and affect your relationship with God.  Let’s take a few minutes to silently talk to God and confess the sin that has come to your mind.
If you and I choose to sin and do not repent and confess it to God it’s like carrying around a heavy weight.  (Use backpack illustration) Each time we sin and do nothing about it our sin weighs us down more and more. We don’t reflect the joy of knowing the Lord Jesus on our faces.  Let’s look at a phrase that Daniel uses about how the Jewish people looked because of their sin in verses 7-8 ‘covered with shame’.
Sin causes us to feel ashamed.  That is not how God intends His children to live. Believers can respond by repenting and turning back to Him.  (Hebrews 12:1)
In Daniel 9:11-16 Daniel prays and talks to God about how He has kept His Word to punish His people because they chose to disobey Him.  Daniel recognizes that the 70 year Babylonian captivity is a result of the sin of God’s people and they still have not turned back to Him.
God had promised through Jeremiah that He would restore Jerusalem the city that represented His Great Name.  Let’s read how Daniel prays in response to that promise in verses 17-19.  Daniel prayed for God’s reputation not his own.
Daniel  9:20-27 God responds to Daniel’s prayer.
God sends Gabriel once again with His answer and response to Daniel’s prayer.  Gabriel tells Daniel about God’s future plans for His people.  (Draw a time line on the board or paper as you explain this next section of Scripture)
Gabriel tells about God’s 70 ‘seven’s that are in store for His people.  The sevens are years.  To help us visualize what this is about let’s look at this time line.  The seventy ‘sevens’ are divided up.  During the first seven Jerusalem will be rebuilt. God’s math always works out perfectly!  The first segment of seven ‘sevens’ (49 years) began when Nehemiah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls (Nehemiah 2:1-8).   It took 49 years to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
Next Gabriel talks about 62 ‘sevens’.   That is 483 years. Gabriel says after the 62 ‘sevens’ the Anointed One will be cut off.  Christ means anointed one.  483 years after Jerusalem was restored, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  One week later He was cut-off-crucified.
According to God’s timetable Gabriel explained to Daniel 69 of the sevens have happened.  The final segment of ‘sevens’ has not taken place.  It is still future to us.  We have been talking about the final ruler antichrist who will be a wicked ruler in the end times.  This last seven is referring to that time period.  God will allow this wicked ruler to rule but in the end He will destroy all wickedness and restore the earth and King Jesus will rule.  As believers we live in a day that the last seven could be closer than we realize.
As we close how will you and I respond to what God has revealed to us from Daniel 9?  I pray that each one of us will respond by praying to God and spending time in His Word so He can help us to live our lives for His purposes in our families and community.
Close in prayer.
Time of response:  Instead of asking review questions allow students to take a piece of paper and find a spot to sit quietly and write down things that they learned from Daniel 9.  After they write the things that they found interesting or learned have them write out a prayer of response to God.
Additional Resources for Teachers:
 Spreading the Light
About Bible Prophecy
 Daniel’s Seventy Sevens

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