March 28, 2014

Psalm 7:3-5 O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands –
if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me
or without cause have robbed my foe –
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample me in the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.

When you think about it, this is a pretty remarkable statement on the part of David. Many people cringe at what are called “imprecatory Psalms,” where the writer wishes evil on his enemies, but here David is pronouncing a very severe imprecation on himself, if he is indeed guilty of what he is being accused of. I’d say that’s a pretty clear indication that he at least though he was innocent! It makes me think about what our actions really deserve. We tend to excuse ourselves but be much more severe in considering others. That may be natural, but it’s not pretty. Jesus used a bit of humorous hyperbole in pointing this out, speaking of planks and sawdust. (Matthew 7:3-5) A major problem for us is that we have so little grasp of the holiness of God. We have never been that holy, so we have trouble imagining what it is like and what it means. The European fairly tale of “The Princess and the Pea” might be an illustration. That story is absurd for a number of reasons, but on the good side it could serve as an illustration of how God responds to sin, to unholiness. His response to sin is so severe that it caused Him to send His Son to die, in order to deal with sin. Now that’s severe! God has provided that redemption, but the problem is that we tend to think that we don’t need it, that we’re good enough as we are. That’s a total deception! Unlike David and what he was accused of, we really are guilty of turning our backs on God, of thinking and saying that we don’t need Him, that we know better than He does. If God operated on justice alone, that would condemn us to eternal separation from Him, and that would be hell, in every sense of the word. The incredible good news is that God operates on love and mercy, so that we may be saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This is as true for me as it is for anyone else, and I must never forget that. I am as much in need of the grace of God as the worst mass murderer, and if I forget that, I immediately get out of line with the Holy Spirit. I am indeed cleansed and redeemed by the blood of Christ, but only by the blood of Christ; I have no claim to anything on my own merit. As I seek to share the Gospel with others, I’ve got to keep rejoicing in it myself, in deepest gratitude. When I do things right, I should rejoice that God has enabled me to do so, avoiding the multiple pitfalls all around me. When others fall, I am not to condemn and certainly not rejoice, but extend the hand of grace to lift them up. My faith is where it is only by the grace of God, so I am to encourage others to open their hearts to receive the faith that God has prepared for them, so that they too may walk in the abundance of His grace.

Father, You know every situation I deal with day by day. You also know I don’t have the wisdom in myself to deal with any of it! I ask for Your wisdom and love to deal with each individual, each situation, so that the devil’s schemes may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and people set free to come from death to life, darkness to light, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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