Day 26: ‘Fessing Up
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Our hearts, O Lord…” As you exhale whisper, “…are open before You.”
Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let us pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:13-18, ESV)
[David sang,] When I was silent, my bones decayed with my moaning all day long. For [both] day and night Your hand is heavy upon me; my freshness was transformed as in the droughts of summer, forever. I would inform You of my sin, and I did not conceal my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin forever. (Psalm 32:3-5, Judaica)
For further exploration:
Eternal Father, we thank You for being the just Judge. Thank You for establishing peace, justice and righteousness in the United States. Lord, we will praise You with all of our hearts!
Immortal Father, we command justice to run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream in America. We confess that justice and righteousness will prevail in homes, churches, schools and communities.
Holy Spirit, please arise in our nation’s government and cause Your enemies of racism, partiality, confusion and discord to be scattered. Heal our nation from the instances hate has inflicted upon our citizens.
Abba Father, forgive our nation for acts of sinfulness, including injustice, hate, prejudice and voter suppression. Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive.
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Magnificent King, Your Name, Lord, endures forever, Your fame is known to every generation. Yours, Lord, is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Philippians 4:7, Psalm
86:12, Amos 5:24, Matthew 6:13, Psalm 135:13
Concepts to Consider
There is an old Scottish saying that offers “confession is good for the soul.” This adage, of course, is based on Biblical statements like the ones we just read today. But what exactly does it mean to confess our treachery, failures, and brokenness?
The Hebrew word “yadah” [ya-DAH] translated in
Psalm 32 as “will confess” is related to the word “hodah” we saw in Day 24 often translated as “praise” or “thanks” in a different context. Now, isn’t that interesting!
“Yadah” carries with it the idea of opening one’s mouth to “fess up” when we know we’ve walked off of God’s path. The verb is in the present imperfect tense, which encourages an ongoing posture or readiness to confess both praise and our wrongdoings at any time. Praise and confession are not a “one and done” thing. If you think about it, confession of sin can end up as an occasion for praise to God for His grace!
Confession is, indeed, good for us, even if it’s uncomfortable.
The other Hebrew word we want to pay attention to in this context is “Yada” [YA-da]. Though while it sounds very similar to “Yadah” above, it has a different meaning. Here it is translated as “would inform” with the deeper connotations of “to acknowledge” or “to reveal.”
It’s also significant to see that Psalm 32 is a song designated for public worship, and it is an example of a singular person, David, offering acknowledgment and confession of personal sin to God in public. We begin to see where James may have gotten his ideas about confession of sin within the context of a covenant worshiping community being restorative and healing.
In James 5, the Greek word for “sick” or “weak” (ἀσθενέω [astheneō]) can indicate a need for both physical and interior healing. It points to the holistic restoration that Jesus came to give us. Since the body and soul are inextricably linked (in Biblical terms, we are a living soul, rather than having a soul. See: Genesis 2:7), then it makes sense that spiritual dis-ease can manifest itself physically and that confession of sin (ἐξομολογέομαι [exo-molo-geho-mai]) among trusted friends in Christ can clear the path for total healing. (Please note that James is NOT saying that sin is the underlying cause for all illness. See: John 9. But he is making the general observation that sin is often an obstacle to our healing on many levels.)
(Historical note: This idea of “confessing our sins to one another” becomes a founding principle for John Wesley and his Methodist spiritual formation small-groups known as “class” and “band meetings.” )
Personal Reflection: What do you need to open up your mouth and confess to the Lord today? Wrong-doing? Praise? Thanksgiving?
All of the above?
Kingdom Reflection: The universal Body of Christ needs to ‘fess up to its complicity in world affairs. We are not innocent victims. God has left us here and equipped us to play our part in bringing Heaven and Earth as we move toward the New Creation. (See: http:// do/HeavenEarth) How does this confession that the Church is a part of God’s plan to continue His work of renewal inform your choices and your prayers?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Biblical word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.