Daniel 9:9-10 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
This chapter is perhaps the most magnificent example of substitutionary repentance in the whole Bible. Daniel was personally righteous, to the point of becoming a proverbial example of righteousness. (Ezekiel 14:14) However, he didn’t rest in that righteousness but took on the sins of the nation, thus becoming a forerunner of Christ. Nowhere in this prayer does he say, “They did all these things.” All his pronouns are 1st person, we. America has been in need of national repentance for quite a while, but how many of the people praying for her have prayed in the 1st person like this? Christians in America are tempted to be disgusted at many of the things in society which have really come out into the open in the past year, but how much do we recognize and repent of the fact that our own inaction over the years has greatly contributed to the situation? We certainly aren’t as righteous as Daniel. He was taken into captivity as a teenager and had no voice whatsoever in the mounting sins of the nation. However, America being a democracy, every citizen has a voice, and each individual impacts society. One area that is hopeful at the moment is the way that parents are finally standing up to the forces that have hijacked the schools, recalling and/or running for school boards, or taking their children out of public schools and homeschooling them, in order to counter the junk that is being taught to children today. It will take a few years for that cohort of students to make a significant impact on “higher” education, but it has been our inaction that has allowed the situation to get so rotten in the first place. As Andrew Breitbart famously said, politics is downstream from culture. I would add, culture is made up of the attitudes and actions of individuals. If we are horrified and/or disgusted at what is going on, (and we should be) then we need to look at ourselves first. Without personal repentance, national repentance won’t happen.
Having lived most of my life in Japan I have always felt at somewhat of a remove from American culture, but I have still participated in it. I have lived in the US a total of around 18 years, and for a significant portion of that I was hardly a “beacon of righteousness.” I wasn’t involved in anything that would have interested the police, but my spiritual pride blinded me to how I was flowing with, even delighting in, the schemes of the devil to pollute society. I have far more reason to use the 1st person in repentance than Daniel did! Here I am mercifully free of American “mainstream media,” and so get a much more balanced view of what is happening in the US, so I have no excuse not to pray! I need to let the Holy Spirit show me not only how to pray for the nation, but also how to repent of my own involvement in things being as they are. I am to speak the truth in love, not holding back for fear of offending, but not offending needlessly either. I am to place my hope not in politicians, certainly, but in God who is Lord of all. Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness has very broad application in the world today!
Father, thank You for this clear Word. Help me indeed pray as Daniel did, in all honesty and humility, so that my prayers may be useful to You in working Your will, so that it may be done as perfectly on earth as it is in heaven, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!