One of the goals of the 10 Days is for God’s people to not only humble themselves but to also lament over the sin of our land. I think this is well described in this passage in Ezekiel 9:4 (NASB): The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”
The city was full of idols and the people’s hearts had turned away from God. There were some believers who sighed and groaned over how their fellow countrymen had forsaken the Living God for statues made from human hands. The New International Version actually translates it “those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done”.
I think we have all sighed at times over the state of our nation. There is much to lament. Does it sadden you that black Americans are still often treated wrongly and as inferior in our nation? That both of our presidential candidates have been accused by women of sexually molesting them? We are innocent until proven guilty, but there is a history in our nation of women being discounted and dismissed when they come forward about how men have violated them. This should make us groan and lament. And to pray and seek for justice!
Are you grieved that people are dying from COVID-19? There is so much turmoil and conflict surrounding the pandemic and how to handle it that we sometimes forget that people are dying, often alone in the hospital unable to be with their loved ones. This is so sad!
Obviously, the list could go on and on.
It is possible to groan and lament without losing your joy in the Lord. God does not want us depressed, but He does want us to feel a godly sorrow over the state of our society. It is worthwhile to take time during a season of prayer like 10 Days to reflect on how far our nation is from the Lord, and to pray accordingly. We can and should still have a joy that in the midst of all the darkness, Jesus has brought us into His light.
Finally, God told the angel to mark those who sighed and groaned–God sees your heart! He marks you as belonging to Him. You are sharing in the heart and compassion of your Lord, and He distinguishes you from the world as a result. You escape His righteous judgment. Praise God.
Father, please help us to have your heart over the sad state of our land. May we sign and groan and lament, being led by Your Spirit. Lord Jesus, you wept over the city of Jerusalem for not receiving you. We, too, are sad over how few in our nation obey You, and how that leads to so much sin and wrong . Please bring your Kingdom, and may Your will be done in our city and nation.
Amen! I am grieving with you.