“In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
“‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 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 fathers, and to all the people of the land.’”
– Daniel 9:1-6
Daniel was overwhelmed with grief for his fellow Jews. He realized that his people were going to face severe chastisement from the Lord if they did not return to Him in a state of repentance. Daniel understood that the seventy years of exile in Babylon was coming to an end. Moreover, he knew that God had promised to bring his people back to their homeland. However, he knew that God would not bless them unless they truly repented of their rebellion and sin.
2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”
Daniel recognized that his people needed to do three things:
- Humble themselves before God!
- Pray and confess their sins!
It requires humility for a man to admit that he is a sinner. Charles Spurgeon said, “The door of heaven is so low that no one can enter in by it unless they will bow their heads!” Are you willing to humble yourself before God and admit that you are a sinner in need of his forgiveness? Are you willing to truly repent?
Repentance is entirely different from remorse. Remorse is the sorrow over being caught and the pain of the consequences. Repentance is not being concerned for ourselves, but concerned for how we have offended God. Repentance is true sorrow and brokenness often accompanied by tears. Sinclair Ferguson in his book, The Grace of Repentance, writes, “I cannot come to Christ in faith without turning from sin in repentance. Faith is trusting in Christ; repentance is turning from sin. They are two sides of the same coin of belonging to Jesus.”
Here is the good news: If we, as God’s children, will humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, then God promises He will do three things: He will listen to our prayers. He will forgive our sins. And, He will heal our land. So, together, let’s pray!