Chapter Context from MHCC: In this chapter we have, I. Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of the Jews who were in captivity, in which he confesses sin, and acknowledges the justice of God in their calamities, but pleads God’s promises of mercy which he had yet in store for them (v. 1-19). II. An immediate answer sent him by an angel to his prayer, in which, 1. He is assured of the speedy release of the Jews out of their captivity (v. 20-23). And, 2. He is informed concerning the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ (of which that was a type), what should be the nature of it, and when it should be accomplished (v. 24-27). And it is the clearest, brightest, prophecy of the Messiah, in all the Old Testament.
In fully understanding our main text today we can see that v.1-2 are an introduction of sorts setting a date/time stamp for the prayer (v.3-19) to follow. Then in v.3-6, Daniel lays out the foundation for his prayer as follows:
- v.3 – Daniel prepares for prayer by setting his face (KJV) or in modern translations directing all his attention toward prayer
- v.4 – Daniel acknowledges the Sovereignty of God, the great and awesome God, that God never lies or breaks His promises, who keeps His covenant, and that God loves those who Love and obey His Law, extends lovingkindness toward those who love Him and keep His commandments.
- v.5 – Daniel confesses the sins of the nation of Israel, we have sinned and committed wrong…
- v.6 – Daniel further confesses that Israel ignored those sent as God’s messengers.
For me, at least the key verse for context in there is v.4. In it, Daniel professes God, claims His promise to Israel, and the duty of man to obey God. It is a reasonable assumption that Daniel was quoting from Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.
John Gill comments here: keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; faithful to his word of promise; large and liberal in the distribution of his grace and mercy to such that love him sincerely and heartily; and, as an evidence of it, observe his precepts from a principle of love, and with a view to his glory: respect seems to be had to Exodus 20:6, this is observed, by the prophet, to encourage his own faith, and that of others, as to the fulfillment of the promise of their deliverance from captivity at the end of the seventy years; and to raise, in his mind and theirs, love to God, who was thus merciful; and to show the obligations they lay under, in gratitude, to keep his commandments.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism states:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13(AMP) summed it up as:
John MacArthur in one of his Strength for Today devotionals poses: What then can satisfy your heart and make life worth living? The wisdom of God alone. That wisdom and satisfaction can only come from being obedient to God’s Holy commandments. Are you fulfilling your chief end today?
The Whole Duty of Man Contains a PRACTICAL TABLE of the TEN COMMANDMENTS