I know that the idea that we should confess the fact that God is right and just in punishing us for sin is not a concept that is popular at all. I also realize that in our society as well as in the church we want to focus on the more positive aspects of the gospel like grace and the love of God- and we should emphasize those things.
However, if we believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible rule of faith and conduct, then we must believe that a Holy God has to punish sin. When we submit to the disciplining hand of God, it requires us to deny ourselves by admitting that not only are we guilty before God, but that we deserve the punishment we are getting. Humility is the result, and that humility produces submission to His will.
Listen to what Gedaliah said to those going into exile in Jer 40:9 “Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men.” ‘Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians,’ he said. ‘Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.’” (emphasis mine)
Remember that the word for confess means to acknowledge. When we confess the fact that God is right and just in punishing us for our sin we are starting the submitting process. This is what Gedaliah is saying. We see both Daniel and Nehemiah doing just this when they prayed for the restoration of their nation. Both also acknowledge the justice of God in punishing the nation for their sin.
11 “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. “
7” We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.”
Both men realized that God was right in dealing with the people. Both realized something that I think we Christians tend to forget: God is Holy, and He must deal with sin wherever He finds it. They also learned that submission to the disciplining hand of God is the only way to see that discipline lifted off of you.
What about my nation? Is God dealing with it? Well, I can only speak to the situation here in the United States. The answer I believe is yes. We are seeing our economy sliding down before our eyes, natural disasters, manmade disasters, lawlessness, and leadership that is in confusion and impotency. All are signs that God is punishing us for our sin.
Is God right in doing so? Yes He is. 50 million- that is the number of babies it is estimated have lost their life to abortion since 1973. The U.S. brought in 13.4 billion in revenue from pornography last year. Look at the billions in revenue made by the illicit drug trade. What about our corrupt politicians? What about corruption in the church. We are not immune!
We need to pray and confess that God is right and just in punishing us for our sins. We also need to confess our national sin, and our participation in that sin. God is a great and merciful God! He longs for a repentant and humble people that He can work through. This comes about as we take an honest look at ourselves and our nation. We need to do one more thing, and we will look at that next week. Here is a hint: Neh 1:9-10, Dan 9:15-19 and it involves confession.