Neh 1:6-7, Dan 9:5-6
I want to first explain what I mean when I say confession of our national sins. The word used here for confess in the Hebrew is tôdâ and it means to cast with hand or make known. This is what I mean by confession to make the national sin known before God.
Why? Well, I believe that when we make known the national sin before God through confession, we see it in its ugliness. All of the ugly and detestable things are seen for what they are when we confess them to our Holy God. In the light of His holiness, we see it for what it is.
We also begin to be broken over the affront that our sin is to God. When we see the sin of our nation for the offense it is before God, it should produce within us a brokenness and humility that is truly Christ-like. Jesus looked upon Jerusalem and wept at her unbelief. How many of us weep over our nation and the unbelief of her capitol city? An honest look and confession of sin produces Christ-like sorrow within us.
We should weep at the effect that sin and unbelief has had upon our nation. Nehemiah and Daniel poured out to God brokenness for their people and the effect that sin and unbelief had upon them. Neh 1:4 “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven”; Dan 9:3”So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”
Both men wept and mourned over the sin of their people and the destruction it brought. They turned to God and first confessed His greatness, then the sin of the nation. No excuses were made for the people, just an honest confession of their sin.
“I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”
“We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 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.”
This produced not just brokenness over the sin of the nation, but also brokenness over their personal participation in that sin. Nehemiah was ashamed over the sin committed by his fathers and himself. Daniel in 9:20 says he confessed his sin as well.
Both men prayed the fact that the nation had disobeyed God and His word. We too need to confess this fact of our nation. Our nation disobeys God and His word every second of everyday. So we need to confess it and be broken over this fact!
Where are the intercessors who weep at the altar on behalf of the ungrateful people of this nation? Where are the God-fearing men and women who cry out and confess the sin of their nation? The price of seeing our nation restored is a Church that is broken for the lost and dying. Men and women who like Moses will go to the place of meeting and intercede for mercy to be shown to a wayward people. This is what a long honest look at our national sin in light of God’s word will produce: people who truly stand in the gap on behalf of the lost and dying people of a nation that cry out for God to show grace and mercy upon them, and send His Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin.
Confession will also cause us to see our own sin and acknowledge it before God, just as it did to Nehemiah and Daniel.