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, 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 ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
The people of Judah, Daniel included, were paying, in real time and circumstances, for their sin. As the years had passed God had been pushed out to the periphery of their lives and instead of listening to the prophets who spoke in God’s name to their kings, princes and ancestors and all the people of the land they had gone their own way. The history recorded in 1 and 2 Kings is a tragic account of a people who, during the reigns of David and Solomon, reached a high point in their history but then as they ignored God’s words, spoken by the prophets, they went further and further away from God, relying instead on various heathen nations for protection and help.
There were of course some highlights but there are constant reminders, even in the reigns of ‘good’ kings that the nation failed to put God in number one place and were thus in captivity, as God had said they surely would be if they continued to ignore him.
So Daniel prays ‘we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.’
Did Daniel have these words from God through Isaiah in mind as he began to pray?
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.
If not these then surely some similar words such as Habakkuk 1.13
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
So coming to the great and awesome God in prayer required that sin was acknowledged and confessed opening the way for seeking God’s mercy and blessing.
This truth causes me to wonder if we take the Cross of Christ too lightly. We know that on that Cross, sin was dealt with but knowing that, do we presume that we can treat confession lightly?
I am sure we do not consciously think like that but are we conscious of the need to acknowledge that we are still sinners, albeit forgiven sinners, and therefore need, as it were, to consciously clear the block that sin places between us and God? Coming from an Anglican liturgical background every service included a prayer of corporate confession which was a reminder of the necessity of the cross.
Do we need to be more intentional in this area both individually and as a nation which moves further and further away from God?
A question to exercise our thinking today.