Well Deserved Disaster
When disaster strikes, we cry, “Why me, Lord!” Now if we are righteous like Job, we can raise the difficult questions about “Why do the righteous suffer?” But in wrestling about the undeserved suffering we experience, we also need to recognize that the usual pattern is—we sin, the Lord warns, and warns, and warns, and when we continue to disobey, he will execute the punishments against us that he threatened.
In this no-fault 21st century, we want to deny that there will be consequences if we follow our passions when they lead to direct disobedience to God’s moral laws. The truth is, however, that God doesn’t care how many polls we take or how many times we analyze shifting cultural viewpoints of right and wrong. He still lovingly warns us against behaviors that will hurt us, and then if we persist, he will allow us to face the consequences. This was true in the prophet Daniel’s life experience.
Instead of arguing with God over why he and his people were in Exile in Babylon, Daniel humbly admitted that he knew the reason for the exile, and in his intercessory prayer for himself and his people he confesses that he and his people have sinned and deserve God’s judgment.
“To you, O Lord, is the justice. To us, today, is the guilt. It shows on our faces. The men of Judah and those dwelling in Jerusalem and all of Israel, those living near and far in all the countries where you have scattered us, to all of these is the guilt. We are getting what our infidelity against you deserves.
O LORD, to us is the guilt. It shows on our faces. The guilt is on our kings, our princes, and our fathers because we have sinned against you.
To you, O Master, our God, is the compassionate love and pardoning mercy, though we have revolted against you. We have not listened to the voice of the LORD, our God. We have not walked according to his instructions—instructions he gave us openly by the hand of his servants, the prophets. All of Israel has transgressed your instructions and turned aside from them in our hearts.
We have not listened to your voice; therefore your curses have poured out against us, the curses you swore under oath, the ones Moses, God’s servant, wrote down in the Torah. We have sinned against the writings of Moses, and you have brought to fruition what was spoken against us and those who exercised authority over us—to bring great pain, pain that has never been seen before under the heaven, the pain brought against Jerusalem.
Just as it was written in the Torah of Moses all this pain came upon us, but we did not seek the face of the LORD our God to turn away from our misdeeds and start paying attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the painful disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is just in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.” Daniel 9:7-14
On the plains of Moab, before Israel invaded the Promised Land, Moses spelled out the future history of his people, the very history that Daniel talked about in his prayer. You can read what Moses had to say in Deuteronomy 29:2-32:10. Moses not only predicted his people’s disobedience, but he also spoke about their repentance and the new heart the Lord would give them.
LORD, thank you that in your Son we have received this gift of a new heart that humbly does submit to you and has the resurrection power to obey your life-giving instructions.
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