Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Great and awesome God...

Great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you . . . (Daniel 9:4)

Awesome . . . Merciful . . . Covenant. Doesnít this sound like a strange way to begin a prayer of repentance? Yet here is Daniel, confidently proclaiming Godís love before he starts confessing his sins and the sins of his people.

How can Daniel be so certain that God will be forgiving? Perhaps because he has history on his side. Time after time, God had proved his love for Daniel. He provided Daniel a very high position in the gentile kingdom of Babylon. He saved Daniel in the lionís den. He rescued him from his enemiesí murderous conspiracy. Clearly, God was committed to Daniel, and that commitment gave him the courage to confess his sins and those of his people.

Daniel didnít keep anything a secret, even though he knew that justice wasnít exactly on his side (Daniel 9:7). Trusting that he was safe in Godís presence, Daniel came clean before the Lord because he had experienced Godís covenant of mercy over and over again.

How do you look at God? If you see him as critical and exacting in his demands, youíll likely avoid him. If you see him as a legalistic stickler for details, youíll feel so guilty that youíll spend your whole prayer time trying to win his favoróand never thinking that you have.

Donít fall into that trap! Thatís not the God that Daniel knew. Your Father is too good and too generous for that. Take Daniel as your model instead. Yes, he openly confessed his sins, but he also put his trust in Godís mercy and faithful love.

Keep this in mind as you examine your conscience and ask Godís forgiveness. Remember that he is kind, loving, and merciful. Believe that he is committed to bringing you to heaven. Know too that he sees you, not only as you are right now, but as the person he knows you are capable of becoming.

So go ahead and confess your sins, but be sure to proclaim your trust in Godís mercy and love as well. Just keep Danielís words in the forefront of your mind: ďBut yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!Ē (Daniel 9:9).

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