2010-06-10 - Have You Ever?
Psalm 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. (NASB)
An interesting question from a recent sermon: Have you ever done something, said something, thought something, ... that you thought you would never do, say, think, etc?
If you asked King David this after his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her faithful husband he would probably say, "Yes." If you ask the Israelites who danced before and worshiped the golden calf made from the jewelry taken from their own ears and necks they would probably says, "Yes." Ask Peter if he ever thought he would deny Jesus and he would probably say, "No. Never."
I can say yes as well. I have heard the words echoing away from my lips and before they were silent I regretted them bitterly. You can never completely take them back after they are said. Angry, hurt, sad, scared, whatever - they were wrong. If we are honest with ourselves most of us will admit that we have stood in that terrible moment. If you have and you think God can no longer use you - that you have been placed on the shelf never to run in the race again - you can run again.
How did David react? He became completely transparent with the affected people. For him that included the nation of Israel as he was their leader in addition to Bathsheba, Nathan and first and foremost God. The verses above are a plea from a humble heart not hiding anything. His sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah would have destroyed him (Num 32:23). He interceded for his infant child but God's decision was final. The child was taken home. Even though David was forgiven there were still consequences for his sin. David had been touched by God's mercy and justice.
What happened to Israel who worshiped the golden calf? God told Moses He was going to destroy the nation and make a great nation out of Moses. Moses was surely tried in this moment - but Moses interceded for the people asking to be destroyed with them if God would not be merciful. God was merciful. Moses offered the people a choice to follow God or follow their idol. Those who refused to repent were destroyed. Those remaining had seen the hand of God in mercy and justice.
Peter - fiery and impulsive heartfelt promised Jesus he would die with his Lord before Peter would deny Him. He spent the night weeping and convulsing in bitter sorrow after denying that he even knew Jesus. Peter was so humbled that when Christ asked him if Peter loved unconditionally Jesus, Peter could only respond that Peter loved Jesus like a brother. There was no presumption left in Peter. Jesus restored Peter. Peter had been forgiven where he probably felt God would not. Peter became one of the leaders of the early Christian church by God's appointment.
David, Israel and Peter all had one thing in common. They all became genuinely humble and repentant before their Lord. God knows our hearts better than we know them. He knows not just the heart that is our emotions. He knows the dimly lit corners of our minds. He knows our thoughts before we do. He knows if we mean what we say - if we are truly broken and humble. He knows if we really mean business with Him. (Matt 9:4)
If you have fallen badly and know God's forgiveness and His restoration, be willing if God leads you to help another who has fallen. (Col 3:13) If you have fallen and believe that the joy of your salvation will never be restored, it can be. "But David, Moses and Peter were special!" Their lives were indeed special because they trusted God. They were people like you and me. They had their faults and weaknesses. The thief on the cross next to Jesus who humbled himself and admitted that he and the other thief deserved their punishment threw himself on the mercy of Jesus, and he was rewarded. His life has been an example through two milena. He was a criminal, but he was someone for whom Jesus was willing to suffer and die - just like you.
Grace & Peace,