“…will humble themselves…”
The Septuagint substitutes ‘repent’ for ‘humble.’ Humility is the heart posture, repentance is the evidentiary action. Believers today are so resistant to repentance. Oblivious and in denial about our own sins, we comfort ourselves that they are less egregious than national wickedness. The problem is that a culture so far from Biblical norms must be led back to God. That requires each believer to model repentance. If we, from lives that are upright and godly, repent – a powerful message is conveyed to the world. Our tearful brokenness is partnered with a healthy fear of God in view of how he dealt with Israel – and the message is potent, “If the righteous scarcely be saved,” if believers are repenting, “where does the sinner and the ungodly stand.” The world will sooner repent over our example, our solemn respect for God’s holiness, than before our pointing finger. If we do not honor and revere righteous standards, the nation cannot be expected to do so.
Lord, first, we bow our hearts. We recognize who we are standing before, and we are purposely reverent, intentionally bent before you.
We bow. We bend. We demonstrate our subordination and your supremacy; our sin, and your holiness; our frailty, and your transcendence.
We weep, that our culture – including the church culture – has lost appropriate reverence of you.
We fear the deadly consequences of such disdain for You, especially in view of our national sins.
We know there are consequences to nations for sin, and we fear for the nation, for our sons and daughters and the generations to come…And we repent…
We are so sorry that we have allowed the escalation of such scandalous sins in our nation, in our churches, even in our families with so few tears, so little prophetic outcry.
We repent for our complicity – by silence. For quietly going along.
For feeling that our little voice, our little candle was no match for the darkness – and hiding it.
We repent for renaming sin.
We repent for allowing love, confused love that did not want to offend, to muzzle truth…
Give us tough love, a truer love, so profound and like you, so laser-like, that it loves the sinner without affirming the sin.
We repent for times when we ourselves have not lived truth – for living in a era in which the church is so compromised that there is little difference between us and the world – and more sadly, that such differences are no longer expected.
We are a ‘cheap grace’ culture content to be superficially converted, but deeply resistant to discipleship.
We repent…to whatever extent our soldiering spirit has grown flabby, our capacity to mobilize compromised, our depth of resolve lacking…
We know your grace not only empowers repentance, but also transforms. It makes weak men strong, removes intimidation, emboldens. That grace took a rag-tag band of wimpy disciples and made them fearless, at Pentecost. Do it again, God.
Forgive us. Make us credible witnesses – proof, examples, of your sin-breaking, liberating power of grace.
Let others see our hunger for holiness, our tender hearts, our openness about our own frailty, our deep dependence on you – and may they follow our examples.
Cleanse us. Unshackle us from any debilitating habit. Free us from the ‘weights’ that beset us. Break covenants that bind us in any way to evil. Light our fire again. Let there come over us – a pristine, purity that ushers in a new spiritual springtime.
Join us next week as we continue to pray through this passage.
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