"I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed" (Dan. 9:4).
Confessing your sins means you agree with God that you have offended His holy character, are worthy of punishment, and in need of forgiveness. That's exactly what we see Daniel doing in verses 5-16. Verse 20 summarizes his prayer: "I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God."
Unlike some who suffer God's chastening, Daniel didn't shift the blame for Israel's calamity. Instead he admitted that his people had willfully disobeyed God's Word and ignored His prophets, thereby bringing judgment upon themselves. Once they were a nation blessed by God; now they were aliens and captives in a foreign land. God had kept His promise to curse them if they disobeyed Him (Deut. 28:15).
In verses 12-15 Daniel analyzes the consequences of Israel's sin, which included her captivity and the guilt she bore for her arrogance and reluctance to repent.
Verse 14 reflects perhaps the most important aspect of confession: Daniel's affirmation that "the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done." The Gentile nations knew that the Israelites were God's chosen people. Surely the fall of Jerusalem raised questions about God's character: What kind of God would stand idly by while His people are ravaged and His Temple plundered? What is the benefit of having a God like that? This, in effect, is Daniel's response: "God is righteous in everything He does. We deserve this punishment, so don't accuse Him of acting unjustly."
Confession therefore serves a dual purpose: it brings forgiveness and frees God to chasten us without bringing accusations of inequity or injustice upon Himself.
Daniel's prayer came at a special time in Israel's history, but undoubtedly confession was a regular part of his life. That should be your pattern as well. Don't wait until disaster strikes before you confess your sin. Make it a daily practice.
Suggestions for Prayer:
If you have not developed a systematic approach to prayer, the "ACTS" format is a good way to start.
For Further Study:
- Adoration--praising God
- Confession--confessing sin
- Thanksgiving--thanking God
- Supplication--praying for others
Read about David's sin in 2 Samuel 11:1Ã¾12:25 and his confession in Psalm 51. What are the similarities and differences between David's confession and Daniel's?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.