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I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 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. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.Daniel 9:4-11
Daniel is touted to be the ultimate Bible good guy. He is it. No one is equal to him, except Christ who is greater. In general, the Bible is pretty unglamorous about its heroes. It is part of the winsomeness of the book. Abraham is impatient, Jonah is surly, David is lustful, Moses is whiney, and Peter is a loudmouth. But not Daniel. Until we get to this point, we might have the squeakiest clean saint of all. Then he prays, and this tells all. He cannot pray without confessing sin, and then he says it. The sin of the people is his sin as well. It is all “we.”
Some will hear this and say, that’s just what a good man would say, but they are misunderstanding goodness. Daniel is so righteous that he cannot finally lie by generalizing. He is not “acting a part.” That would demean it all. He knows what and who he is. Every great man and woman of God does. He is a sinner just like everyone else, of the same kind and to the same extent. You cannot lie to God. Confess your sin. Work at it, name it and specify it. No one else might ever need to know what you did. But the Father, who already knows, asks all of His sons and daughters to come and tell Him what they have done and left undone. Even as we look at our times, and the many sins of our nation and our generation, we must always say “we.”