Bible study: 'When we confess, God cleanses'

Daniel 9:3–10, 17–19


In spring 2021, I was visited by an unwelcome guest — the coronavirus. The first two or three days after the diagnosis felt like mild flu. Then, for a few days, I felt fine. However, when days nine through 12 arrived, my situation took a nosedive. I became dehydrated, ran a high fever, hallucinated, went to the hospital and had terrible fatigue. I pretty much lived in my recliner for four days. There was one person who kept me company and was safe from my contagious condition. His name was Peter Falk, better known as Lt. Columbo.

I stumbled across the old reruns of the television show of yesteryear and watched what seemed like hours of the program.

Columbo was the best at knowing the guilty party and being an unassuming, pestering, underdog detective. His famous line, “One more thing,” was usually a setup for a later confession.

Confessions are paramount in important investigations and for justice to be served. There is a lot to be said about confession in Scripture. With confession comes confrontation of our sins and, almost simultaneously, a restored fellowship with God. Confession is not easy, but it is essential if we desire to walk closely with Christ.

Daniel understood the need for prayers of confession and forgiveness not only for his sins but as a group as well.

Confession of sin is needed to maintain a right relationship with God. (3–6)

Upon reading these verses, you may wonder what atrocious sins or transgressions Daniel committed to prompt such a dramatic confession. What you will discover is that his brokenness and resulting confession were the products of the many sins of the nation. Daniel was a man of integrity, and it grieved his heart to see how far his people had fallen away from what God desired for them. You and I may find ourselves tempted to complain or even judge the shape our nation is in, but when was the last time we genuinely prayed for God to forgive America for her sins and plead with the Lord to bestow mercy on us? Perhaps before we are quick to criticize or condemn, let us confess.

Confession draws our focus to God, who is righteous, compassionate and forgiving. (7–10)

Each time we sin, our focus is on us. When we confess, our focus is on Him. Authentic confession acknowledges our sin against God and agrees with Him that atonement is needed. When we approach God with our sins, something remarkable happens. That “something” is grace and forgiveness. Isn’t it great to be surprised by grace? Upon our confession, we do not receive anger or punishment from God; we receive His mercy. Confession allows us a closer glimpse of the character and longsuffering of God.

Seek the forgiveness of God, and trust Him to respond with favor. (17–19)

When we confess, God cleanses. Without the essential assurance of God’s forgiveness, there is no hope for salvation. When you live a life of faith, consistent obedience, trust and prayer, you can pray with confidence.


This lesson was written by Bobby McKay, pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi, and originally published by The Baptist Paper. This study is based on the Bible Studies for Life curriculum from Lifeway Christian Resources.