To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame. . . .
To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him. . . . We do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. (Dan. 9:7, 9, 18–19)
Sometimes what hurts the most is the feeling that there is no way out of the mess you are in. Sometimes we have only ourselves to thank for being in it, and we feel very little hope. In the Bible we see pictures of God’s people in these kinds of situations, and surprisingly, we see them asking for things that seem almost too bold to ask. They have almost no hope—they even have every indication from God that they stand under judgment. And yet they come seeking Him anyway.
In the passage above, Daniel not only confesses and grieves—he also makes a bold request. He’s saying, “Although we are responsible for the breakdown in our relationship with you, we are your people. We bear your name. We have not earned anything from you, and we are not in a place of deserving something that we can demand from you. But please, do something. If not for us, then at least for Your own sake—it has to be an embarrassment to You that the people who belong to You in a special way are the ones in ruin.”
This is the kind of relationship that God invites us to have with Him. We can ask for great things, even when we believe that we have no reason to expect good things. Daniel felt that the Word of God itself was saying “no deliverance” for seventy years (see Dan. 9:2). But his response was to ask anyway. He saw the devastation of sin, and he grieved, confessed, and asked boldly for healing. This is a strong kind of hope—for Daniel, and for us today.
—Michael Scott Gembola, After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration