32 ‘Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes – the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.” NIV

It seems to me that verse 35 is a succinct summary of much that we have read in this prayer. As we come towards its culmination we can see that it’s an honest prayer (33). No-one is making excuses or complaining they have been unfairly treated. There is a recognition that God has acted justly.

Someone said that confession means ‘to speak the same thing.’ It is to agree with God about sin. We share His opinion of it.

These words of Matthew Henry prepare us for what we are to read next: ‘Those that would not serve God in their own land were made to serve their enemies in a strange land, as was threatened, Deu. 28:47, Deu. 28:48 . It is a pity that a good land should have bad inhabitants, but so it was with Sodom. Fatness and fulness often make men proud and sensual’.

I read an article today about Charles Spurgeon’s preaching in times of disaster. It included this paragraph:

‘This leads to the second major theme of Spurgeon’s preaching in calamity: clearly calling people to repentance. Reflecting on Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1­–5, Spurgeon believed that in every disaster, the appropriate response wasn’t to try to find its root cause, but to repent, turning away from sin and turning to God in humble dependence. This isn’t to say that we should ignore any practical lessons from the suffering. Spurgeon warned his people against foolish investments after the Great Panic. He reminded his people of the importance of proper hygiene during outbreaks. He spoke against oppressive governmental policies in the colonies. Ultimately, however, his preaching aimed at the individual’s repentance before God. Earthly sufferings only pointed to the greater judgment of God to come. Therefore, all suffering doubled as a warning to repent.’

We may not be able to dogmatically say that the current ‘plague’ is a judgment from God. But we do know we deserve His judgment. May this be a day of confession – of agreeing with God about sin – a day of radical repentance. This is the only way to true healing (2 Chronicles 7:14).

PRAYER: Lord, in these days, help us to search our hearts and repent of all sin. Thank you that we know ‘’you are a gracious and merciful God’’ (31).