We Have Sinned
22 September 2016
Reading: Daniel 9-10; Psalm 123; Luke 5
4 I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God: “ ‘O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say. 5 Yet we have sinned in every way imaginable. We’ve done evil things, rebelled, dodged and taken detours around your clearly marked paths.” (Daniel 9:4-5 MSG)
As Daniel was studying the writings of Jeremiah, he discovered the scripture where God had said that after 70 years of exile, Jews would be allowed to return and begin to rebuild Jerusalem and God’s Temple. He immediately took God at his word and began to pray for the prophecy to be fulfilled.
In Daniel’s prayer, recorded in Daniel 9:4-19, Daniel uses the words, “we,” “our,” and “us” nearly 30 times in referring to the sinfulness of Israel and Judah.
Daniel was a good and godly man, but his prayers were prayers of complete identification with his people – his sinful people – whose stubbornness and rebellion had brought the judgment on Israel and Judah.
In chapters 9 and 10, Daniel is told twice by an angel sent directly from God that God “loves him very much.” I wonder if one reason God loves Daniel so very much is his ability to identify so completely with his people and not be a “blame-shifter.”
I admire Daniel’s ability to function well in a changing world and in a culture not his own. I admire Daniel’s ability to remain true to his conviction no matter what the cost. But the thing I admire most in Daniel, and would most like to see grow and increase in me, is his ability to identify so completely with his people – to identify with the good, the bad, and the ugly. How are you doing with “We” not “They?”
Father, I declare my admiration for this quality in your beloved Daniel of fully identifying with others and never being a “blame-shifter.” I know that quality is what carried Jesus to the cross to die for the sins of others – my sins – and brought the words, “Father, forgive them..” from his lips. I know that quality in Stephen brought the words, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin..” from his mouth as he was being martyred for his faith in Jesus. I want more of that quality to grow in me. Please help me with this! Amen!