It's Time For Men To Take Responsibility
Today I am going to read a long text. But I want you to hang in on this one because it's a powerful prayer that Daniel prayed. I am going to break it down into two sections for you. The first section is his confession, and the second section is his request. I will read the first section, emphasizing some words, and then make the point.
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. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly." — Daniel 9:4-15
This is an incredible prayer. And here is an unconnected thought, but I love that Daniel wrote this down. Which, by the way, is an excellent practice. For those who struggle with prayer, I would encourage you to write them out. Take your Daniel journal and write a short prayer with each devotional. I have done this for years. And I like it because writing out prayers helps me to focus and not get distracted. It forces me to slow down by writing out my words. And it gives me a record to look back on! And that's what Daniel did here — he wrote out his prayer, and we get the benefit of his record.
But back to the content of the text.
I emphasized several words here. They were the personal pronouns "we" and "us." For me, they indicate Daniel's deep ownership of both individual and national sin.
So here's an opinion, but I think I'm right about this. I believe we have trained men in our time to reject responsibility. We watch daily in the news or our workplace another episode of men who fail to take any responsibility for their leadership or actions. Men avoid it, reject it, and deny it. They will even scheme elaborate ways to reject it.
But Daniel doesn't. He doesn't blame others. He does not ignore the issue. He sees a clear connection between the present captivity, God's punishment of Israel, and his sin. He could have used pronouns like "they" and "them" because the issues started long before he was born. But he doesn't. Not one time. He repeatedly uses pronouns that make him culpable for the present problems.
I think men who see this connection and take responsibility are incredible. They own issues when they see them in the world, in our country, in the church, in their family, and in their personal life. They refuse to reject their responsibility. And because they do, they mature faster, lead better, are more humble, and correct course more quickly. Instead of denying the issues and leaving them for someone else, they make it right by going first. And that's God's man.
So today, is there an issue, problem, or sin that you have put off addressing for too long? If so, take responsibility and own it. And let's move past living in the perpetual consequences of unaddressed sin.
ASK THIS: Is there an issue, problem, or sin that you have put off addressing for too long?
DO THIS: Own it.
PRAY THIS: God, I confess I have neglected my responsibility. Today I own it.
PLAY THIS: Holy Water.
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