The Bible speaks of the sins of whole
nations in many places. Here is one of them:
“This is what the Lord says: For
three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath…” (Amos 2:6).
Scripture also speaks of the sins of
cities (e.g., Amos 1:3, 6). Jesus spoke of judgment on Chorazin and Bethsaida in Matthew 11:21 and of possible judgment on
five of the seven churches in Asia in
Revelation 2 and 3. The collective sins of the people brought about these
The people of the Church today are
not known for confessing their sins. We are even less known for confessing the
sins of the whole church or city or nation as Daniel did in Daniel 9:
“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; 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 on 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 on 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 on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we
have not obeyed him.
“Now, 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. 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 ancestors 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, Lord, look with favor on your
desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our 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. Lord, listen! Lord,
forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your
city and your people bear your Name” (Dan. 9:4-19).
As far as we know, Daniel was not
personally guilty of the sins he confessed.
This post coordinates with today’s reading in the To
the Word! Bible Reading Challenge. If you are not in a daily reading plan,
please join us at TotheWord.com. We would love to have you reading with us.