Wicked and Rebellious
Gracious Lord, I come humbly before you very aware of my sinfulness and my need of Your mercy and grace.
Read DANIEL 9:1-19
 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-  in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.  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: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.  “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame-the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.  O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;  we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.  All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.  You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.  Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon 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 upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.  “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.  O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  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.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat does Daniel say about God and himself in this prayer?
Following the dreams and explanations that show God’s triumph over the empires of the world, we might expect Daniel to call on God to bring judgment on his enemies because of their sins. Instead (2), Daniel is convicted through reading Scripture (see Jer. 25:11; 29:10) of God’s gracious promise of forgiveness and restoration. He‘s moved to serious prayer—with fasting and sackcloth and ashes (3). But he doesn’t condemn the sins of his enemies. He confesses the sins of his people.
G.K. Chesterton’s famous response to the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” was “I am!” Daniel challenges us not just to bemoan the state of society, but to examine the state of the Church, and to examine the state of our own hearts and lives. We have the opportunity to bring healing, reconciliation and love into our society. How often have we majored in criticism and condemnation? How often have we simply focused purely on pursuing our own agendas? What is true of the Church is often true of us as individuals. Let’s make prayer for our society a priority; but let’s make confession of our own sins a serious part of that prayer.
Take time now to seriously seek God in confession of your own sins and the sins of God’s people.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great love and mercy that enables me to have a close relationship with the Father.
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