By Bob Hightchew
Have you ever heard these words before? The answer is probably a resounding yes. As an adult and a father, I now understand what my dad was saying when he spoke those words to me.
We all fail. We all do wrong. Not one person (except Jesus) is without sin. Our problem is compounded by the fact that we do not want to confess our sin. We don’t want to admit the truth and ask to be forgiven. It is called pride. This same pride, along with selfish ambition, caused the Israelites to lose their focus on who God is and what he had done for them. The Israelites were in a messy situation because of their pride.
But in today’s passage we find that the Israelites have had a change of heart. They were wearing sackcloth, a way to show mourning and repentance from within. They put dust on their heads to show sorrow and despair. All the Israelites gathered together to confess their sins and the wickedness of their forefathers. They heard the words of the Book of the Law, and they praised God with all their hearts. So how do we know they were serious this time? Well, only God knows the heart of a man; however, it is their prayer that convinces us of their sincerity.
Their prayer lays it all out: the good, the bad, and the ugly about their past and their present. They were finally telling the truth about what they had done and what their forefathers had done. Admitting failure is the first step to forgiveness. Christians need to understand that our pride also causes us to lose focus on Christ. We forget our calling and our witness. It is because of this I thank God for 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Let us confess it all to the Lord, because we know it is the truth that sets us free.
Bob Hightchew has served as the senior minister of South Fork Christian Church in Verona, Kentucky since 1996. He and his wife, Holly Jo, have been married for 22 years. They have three children.