In today’s Bible reading* Daniel has some spectacular visions that terrify him. Chapters Seven through Nine coincide with the stories in Daniel Chapters Five and Six. In other words, Chapters Seven through Nine are flashbacks.
Daniel investigates Jeremiah’s prophecy and timetable and learns that God’s punishment on His people would last for seventy years. This leads Daniel to confess and repent for his sins and the sins of God’s people.
We have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from your commands and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, leaders, ancestors, and all the people of the land. Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but this day public shame belongs to us: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel—those who are near and those who are far, in all the countries where you have banished them because of the disloyalty they have shown toward you. LORD, public shame belongs to us, our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the LORD our God by following his instructions that he set before us through his servants the prophets.
Daniel 9:5–10 (CSB)
God’s people had sinned. Jeremiah called the people to repentance and they refused. Daniel sees God’s judgment on his people and confesses on their behalf. In other words, Daniel stands in the gap. He intercedes on behalf of the people.
Many have said that the United States of America is not a Christian nation. Some have said that we are a post-Christian nation. Still others have claimed that we were never a Chrisitian nation. Just look around. Our nation is not well.
Without question, our country was founded on Judeo-Christian (i.e., Biblical) principles. While some of the Founding Fathers were Deists, most were Christians and active in their churches. In the late Seventeenth to early Eighteenth Centuries, God had brought a Great Awakening to the Colonies. That Awakening helped to birth our country.
As much as our country was founded by those influenced by the Great Awakening, we have obviously departed — a great deal — from where we came. I mean, look at the outrage expressed in the past couple of weeks since Texas’ Heartbeat Law went into effect. While many argue that the new law infringes on women’s reproductive rights, the bottom line of the Heartbeat Law isn’t about reproductive rights. On the contrary, the Heartbeat Bill was passed to protect the lives of those with a beating heart: pre-born human beings, endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So what do we do? I think it’s obvious that Believers can — and should — intercede for our country. Even those who have not had abortions or paid for abortions can stand in the gap by confessing our country’s sins and asking for God’s forgiveness and asking for God’s restoration.
Abortion is just one of the areas where our nation has departed from our Founders’ original intentions. I could name many more. Although 2 Chronicles 7:14 was written to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament under King Solomon, I believe that passage is applicable to our nation today. In that passage, God reminds God’s people that if they are to be restored, it’s up to them — not unbelievers — to humble themselves, pray, seek His face and repent.
[if] my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (CSB)
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: