Today I read Proverbs 28, and was stopped in my tracks by verse 2. I looked it up in different versions, just to make it clearer.
A rebellious nation is thrown into chaos, but leaders
anointed with wisdom will restore law and order. (TPT)
When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order. (NIV)
When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability. (NLT)
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. (ESV)
No matter what your political views, I think we can agree on two things. Firstly, this nation is in chaos, rebellious, and full of moral rot. Secondly, we need wise rulers.
But what can we do about all that!?!?
In the book of Daniel, chapter 9, we read that Daniel, was reading the Scriptures. He and his people were in exile in Babylon. They had turned away from God to idolatry and repeatedly and stubbornly ignored the warnings of the prophets. While reading, he saw that the exile was a result of Israel’s sin, but God had promised to deliver them and return them to Jerusalem. So what did Daniel do? He prayed.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
He not only prayed, he confessed the sins of his nation.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. … We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. … Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.
The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
“Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. …Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from [our country]. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made [us] an object of scorn to all those around us.
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant(s). … We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act!
When I first heard of this, it made no sense to me. How could I confess other people’s sins? I was still learning to confess my own! This is how I understand it.
If I am driving down a road and a tree is blocking the road, I’m stuck. It is blocking traffic in both directions. Did I put the tree there? No, of course not! Would it do any good to sit there bemoaning the fact that it’s someone’s fault that the tree is there? No. Traffic is blocked – period! So, assuming I have the ability, I can move the tree and everything starts moving smoothly again. Obviously, it will take more than one person to move that tree. There is power in numbers! There is even more power when God’s people agree in prayer.
There are trees (sins) blocking the flow of grace and mercy from flowing over this country. Did I put them there? Not all of them, but I am guilty, too. Am I able to remove the blockage? Not by myself. It takes God’s people, agreeing in prayer, confessing these sins, thereby putting them under the Blood of Jesus, which is powerful enough to cleanse US ALL – and our nation – from all unrighteousness.
2 Chronicles 7:14 promises that “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)
Notice that this does not say “if all the sinners will turn from their wicked ways.” It says “if my people.”
Praying and confessing our sins is step one. The second step, at least according to Proverbs 28:2, is that we need wise leaders. I don’t think we can kick everyone out of authority that is there now, even if we’d like to do that. That would be chaos! But we can pray for wisdom for these leaders. We MUST pray for wisdom for our leaders.
So, let’s pray….
Lord, God Almighty. You are El Elyon, the Most High God. You are bigger and stronger and far above all the chaos down here. And You are forever Faithful! And You are Good, always and forever Good.
Forgive us, Lord, for our stubbornness and idolatry. Forgive us for putting things before You. Things like free will, convenience, comfort, pleasure, our wants and desires, even freedom. Lord, You’ve given us these things as gifts, but we’ve made them idols. We’ve believed that these things will make us happy, but we are still empty. We have not sought You! You died so that we can have an intimate relationship with You, but we have ignored You. We have not listened to Your Voice, or Your Word. Forgive us, Lord. Cleanse our hearts. Give us right desires.
And Lord, we ask for wisdom for our leaders – those in Washington, D.C. and those locally. We know that your Word says that You freely give wisdom when we ask for it, so we are asking. But Lord, some aren’t asking for Your wisdom. I don’t know how You’ll get them wisdom. Maybe You’ll send Your angels. Maybe You’ll give them dreams. Maybe You’ll give them ideas that they won’t even know are from You. Lord, we release Your holy Light, Your revelations, Your wisdom to our leaders.
Thank you for Your Faithfulness, even when we aren’t faithful.