Confession from the heart – Monday, 2nd Week of Lent – Daniel 9:4b-10/ Luke 6:36-38
When this text of scripture was proclaimed, the Babylonian Empire had fallen, just as Daniel predicted in the vision of the multi-metallic statue. The Persians had taken control of the Chaldean (Babylonian) Empire. Persia had donned the mantle of global supremacy and this was a dual kingship for while Cyrus was the King of the Empire (6:28) Darius ruled Babylon and the area connected with it. (6:6)
Daniel, meditating on the word of God as spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, realized that the seventy years of exile as prophesied by Jeremiah had come to an end. Daniel turns to the Lord in prayer confessing the guilt of the entire nation imploring his mercy for the people.
Time and time again the people of Israel had broken the covenant that God made with them both in Exodus and in Deuteronomy 26:16-19. Daniel knew the problem was not with God. Daniel did not make the slightest excuse for Israel’s sin. He knew the fault belonged to Israel and Israel alone. When we look into our lives we realise that we are prone to make excuses for our sin and often even make excuses in our “confessions.” Sin must be confessed in its totality with no strings attached.
With the most sincere heart Daniel confesses the sins of the people. “We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have rebelled, we have turned aside from your commandments and ordinances, we have not listened to your servants the prophets.” (Dt 9:4-6)
Using a phrase that could only be translated as ‘shame on us’ he confesses the everlasting and great God who is merciful and forgiving. Daniel does not hold back the sin of the nation and nor should we. The season of Lent is that period when we recognize our wicked ways in the face of an every loving God. We remember our promises to repent and change, to be devoted to God, to serve him; yet when our ‘work is done’, He, God almighty, is forgotten and we go back to our wicked ways.
Genuine confession must be sincere, specific, and thorough. At a revival meeting in Brazil a woman in a crowded church confessed, “Please pray for me, I need to love people more.” The leader told her gently, “That is not a confession, sister. Anyone could have said it.” Later in the service the lady stood again and said, “Please pray for me. What I should have said is that my sharp tongue has caused a lot of trouble in this congregation.” The pastor smiling said, “Now she is talking!”