This Week's Focus Passage

We have sinned

Focus Passage: Daniel 9:5

‘We have sinned.’

Confession of sin in our day has become a peculiarity. It is, to say the very least, not the norm. For someone to simply admit that they were wrong or incorrect is scarcely to be found in our day, much less to find one actually asking to be forgiven for their fault; not to say, sin, is almost unheard of. The closest to this that is seen in our present culture is when some person of renown has spoken unadvisedly with his lips and has aggravated some segment of the population; he has offended some particular group of people. Yes, we then may witness some politically correct ‘confession’ because the ‘criminal’ is hoping to retain his or her position, or reputation among their constituents. This is most palpable in the wide political arena. But do we truly believe that these folk are penitent? Do we not see clearly that it is veiled in expediency?

Here in the prayer of Daniel we find this man of God not only humbly confessing sin, but confessing the sin of his people as well. This is nothing less than remarkable. It would be similar to our president, or at the least a member of his cabinet, confessing some particular sin of our nation. We are not suggesting that this was accomplished by the politically correct confession of congress when they took it upon themselves to confess the evil of slavery, or the theft of the land from native Americans; both years ago committed by ancestors so far removed from any present-day descendents as to be ridiculous. These things were motivated so conspicuously by political consideration as to render the attempts completely meaningless. Daniel’s confession was sincere and heartfelt.

He confessed, speaking these most somber words:

Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from thy precepts and from thine ordinances; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, that spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

We cannot possibly even imagine the reception that such a confession as this would receive if it were uttered by our president or senate majority leader and aired one evening on our national news broadcasts.

We might expect to witness rancorous posturing along with numberless complaints demanding satisfactory explanation particularly emanating from those superior-minded bobble-heads in the media. Indeed, how could anyone ever dream that America and the American people are anything less than righteous in their behavior and in their policies toward the rest of the world? We, as a nation, have been going around the world for many decades with this white ten-gallon hat on our heads, representing ourselves as the ‘good guys’ like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry did some years ago in their movies. The disturbing thing is that we so often are caught with our black hat on, and it is visible to all that we have been the ‘bad guys.’ Have there not been occasions when our leaders and our people should humble themselves and confess faults, mistakes, yea, sins, openly? Frequently there may be found on our highways, billboards with this popular Scripture verse inscribed boldly across the breadth of the billboard; 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This is considered by those who put such banners up to be a call to prayer and that is well as far as it goes. But a serious omission is conspicuous among us. There is a corresponding call to humbling and seeking and turning that is neglected. There are indeed many in this land that are called by Christ’s name; how many of those are nominal Christians—Christians in name only—is not our place to say, but the call to these is nonetheless to humble themselves, and yes, pray. It is a call to seek God’s face in prayer and in His Word where He has especially revealed Himself to us. And there must be confession; humility is a concomitant of confession. And that sincere humble confession will, by God’s grace, involve both a seeking of the face of God and a turning from wickedness. Where is the nation to look for an example of the sincere practice of repentance? Surely, it ought to be able to look to the churches and the people of Jesus Christ, yet sadly, there are seldom such examples even from professing Christians. Even among these Christians themselves, it is a rare commodity; brethren these things ought not so to be!

Daniel speaks clearly to this entire matter near the beginning of the ninth chapter that embraces his beautiful prayer. We might easily consider the third and fourth verses to be something of a preface to the recorded prayer itself. Daniel well exemplifies, in his behavior, the content of his prayer. Oh, that our actions would be imitative of our prayers; that our words and behavior would agree completely. Daniel speaks somewhat, by his silence regarding it, to that matter which is usually referred to as the posture to be employed in prayer; he is concerned with the posture of the heart. Daniel gives us no idea whether we should sit or stand, if we should raise our hands or our eyes to heaven, but that we should set our face unto God in the way of seeking Him with fasting and sackcloth and ashes, which things bespeak humble repentance, making confession of sin, and addressing Him as reverently as our understanding enables, Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at