Saturday, May 2, 2020 -
During this time of uncertainty, we are reminded once again of our human frailty and dependence on God. Many wonder if we are seeing God’s judgment on our sinful nation and pride. People’s hearts are more open in times of uncertainty, and it is the time when God’s people should be seeking God’s face in repentance for our nation, pleading for personal and nationwide revival, beginning in the church.
Joel quoted God Almighty in the second chapter: “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord, is coming; surely it is near.” He goes on “The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, and who can endure it? Yet even now, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning, and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil.”
This “mourning” over sin is what Jesus Himself was referring to in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” So we see there are special blessings for us when we rend our hearts to the Lord over our sins and the sins of His church and our nation.
Daniel saw the sins of the Jewish people, and even though he had no authority over them, sought God “by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Yet the following verses he confessed, saying, “We have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances…Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee.”
Daniel was praying this on behalf of “the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are far away in all the countries to which Thou hast driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against Thee.”
Daniel’s full prayer was a prayer for revival, a clear prayer of confession, not just for himself personally, but for the entire nation. His fasting and sackcloth mean his heart was truly humble and contrite on behalf of all of Israel, as we should be for our own nation. Daniel calls upon God’s mercy in His righteousness, “We are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own but on account of Thy great compassion.”
If you do not pray in this same way for our nation, I encourage you to begin to do so today, praying a prayer of repentance, not just for yourself, but for the church, and our nation and world as a whole!