April 25, 2013

Forgiven for His Name’s sake…

Whenever I sin, I feel convicted, uncomfortable, and separated from God. I’m also aware that I have offended Him and that my sin is part of the pain that Jesus suffered at Calvary. My conscience is tender, yet that does not prevent sin. It just makes me aware of it.

I don’t know what was going on in David’s life when he wrote Psalm 25 other than he was in trouble, distressed and afflicted. When that is happening, those who know the Lord are particularly eager to take care of any sin in their lives. The separation caused by sin would compound all other problems and block our cries for help. So David prayed…

For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great… Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. (Psalm 25:11, 16–18)

Verse 11 shows David’s heart for God. He wasn’t first thinking of his own comfort (although he later did and that is acceptable). Instead, his initial thought was to ask God to forgive him for His name’s sake. David didn’t claim and righteousness or worthiness of his own. He didn’t remind God of the good he had done or his hatred of sin. Today’s devotional writer says that if human righteousness was an acceptable plea, David would have had as much to plead as anyone, but he didn’t go that route.

Then David’s next thought was the greatness of his sins. He didn’t plea on the basis of his own righteousness nor the smallness of his sins. He does not ask for pardon because he was living right most of the time, or that this wasn’t a big deal so God didn’t have huge reasons to be angry. This man knew that sin is heinous. Some sins might seem small to us, but to God, sin is sin and any of it is serious.

I’m aware that the greater my sin seems to me, the more I feel a need for pardon. Again, in God’s sight, sin is sin, but in my estimation, my discomfort and sense of separation can become overwhelming. I must plead for His forgiveness. I must know and experience the freedom and grace of God that happens when He removes my guilt and sense of condemnation.

The reading today suggests that a beggar looking for bread will base his pleas on the greatness of his poverty and hunger. God allows such pleas based on our need for He is moved to pity by our situation, not because we are worthy and deserve something from Him. Yet as David prayed, he put the honor of God before his own need to have that guilt removed.

From this, I’m aware of selfishness in my requests for forgiveness. Most of the time, I want to feel better. Instead, I should have a deeper concern that God pardons me for His name’s sake, not just for my comfort. His blessings are rich, no matter the extent of my guilt. Rather than merely glorying in my delight at being forgiven, I need to glorify God because He has mercifully considered my confession.

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