Daily Update #224

Dan 9:4-10                    Ps 79:9,12,14                          Luke 6:36-38
We have sinned
 Brace yourself, today’s passage may make uncomfortable reading!
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.
‘Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame – the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
 On the face of it, this is a sobering passage. As Saint Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). Today I will leave it between you and God to work through your personal sin, for today this passage speaks more of corporate or national sin.
Daniel was as good as any man could be in terms of righteousness. Don’t take my word for it, the Sovereign Lord endorsed this in the prophecies of Ezekiel (14:14). Yet Daniel associated himself with the sin of his people. I was struck that in this short passage he says, no less than 7 times, “we have…”, which included “sinned”, “been wicked”, “turned away”, “not listened”, “rebelled”, “not obeyed”. Strong words indeed!
Daniel was reflecting on the dire straits his people were in, exiled, oppressed, their cities demolished, including the walls and temple in Jerusalem. That was the very place they looked towards where God resided. This tragic downfall was a direct consequence of their sin, yet they had been warned repeatedly.
I am not directly associating any disaster or hard times we face at the moment, including the pandemic, the sorrowful loss we have faced of family and friends, or the economic consequences to come with our nation’s sin. However, there are always consequences to sin. We are called to be salt and light and should listen carefully to God’s promptings and consider the contribution we make to society, whatever small it might be. We will probably not realise or comprehend how this works this side of heaven. We can be sure though that there is one area where we can make a big effect, and that is in our prayer lives. For example, the Bible indicates that we should uphold those in authority in prayer.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim 2:1-2.
The encouraging aspect to Daniel’s prayer is found by reading the verses that preceded our passage today. Daniel had been reading his Scriptures faithfully, and homing in on God’s promises in Jeremiah that God would re-establish his holy city. God went beyond that, and brought his own son to that city to not only reconcile his people, but to provide for us too, the ultimate reconciliation with himself.
So not only pray for our leaders and confess our participation in our national sin, but be encouraged and read the Bible. This will then to remind us of our great and awesome God, who has provided many promises of blessings for us to claim. Hallelujah Amen.

Dear Lord,
We confess we have sinned, personally and corporately. We repent that we have not paid heed to your word, and have not supported our leaders, in the church and in government, in the ways you have directed. Forgive us Lord, and restore this land to be a Christ-centred society. Help us to stand and reclaim your ground in the face of the creeping erosion of your standards.
We take up your promise that you said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[1] Amen.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Isa 1:10,16-20