Daniel 9:4-5 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.
This prayer of Daniel is worthy of a lot of meditation. Daniel was as personally righteous an individual as appears in the whole Bible, excepting only Jesus. However, he uses the 1st person plural throughout this prayer, including himself in this confession of sin. That makes it an excellent example of what Peter wrote: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) It is only when we humble ourselves that we can take advantage of the next thing Peter wrote: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Daniel was not only personally righteous, he had extremely high status, having served as prime minister to multiple rulers over the greatest empire of his day. We certainly can’t claim that, and our personal righteousness is doubtless far below that of Daniel, so we have no excuse for the pride that keeps us from full confession and dependence on God. Daniel certainly didn’t act alone; there were other faithful believers among the Jews. However, his posture before the Lord was sufficient that an angel was sent in response, saying to him, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” (Daniel 10:12) That’s the sort of thing God has in store for those who genuinely humble themselves before Him in faith.
My genetic ancestry has been remarkably righteous, since my parents were missionaries, one grandfather was a pastor and the other a seminary professor, and at least one great-grandfather was a pastor as well. However, I am also part of America as well as part of Japan, and there is much to repent of from that standpoint. That said, I have plenty of sins in my personal history as well. I have had times of personal repentance, and God has been gracious indeed, but I haven’t done much with corporate repentance. I remember one time I did repent before a group of Japanese pastors for the sins of missionaries, including pride and cultural imperialism, but that was several years ago. I see much in both Japan and America that calls for repentance, but as a “third culture kid” I have both identified and failed to identify with each of those cultures. I need to understand that as a product of both of those cultures I not only have their strengths, but also their weaknesses. I need to let the Holy Spirit show me how to repent, for the sake of both of the nations that I love.
Father, thank You for this Word. It obviously isn’t something I have thought about a lot from a personal perspective. Help me learn from Daniel’s humility and do exactly as You show me, for the sake of both my countries and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!